Self-Publishing? Timely Tips For Turning Your Hobby Into A Profitable Business

Posted on: 6 April 2018


After more than a decade of growth and change, self-publishing is finally coming into its own as a viable way for authors to build their own publishing business. Some of the factors that have helped to increase its popularity are obvious, like not having to obtain a publishing agent, which has often proved to be a roadblock for some authors in the past. But when the traditional route to becoming a best-selling author is eschewed, authors do have to become more proactive about making good business decisions. 

Create a system to track and record important information

Authors may be good with the written word, but that doesn't always mean they are good at writing down important information and keeping accurate records relating to their business. Instead, writers who are caught up in their story line or the development of their characters may be more apt to forget or postpone important business record-keeping tasks than business owners who are doing less creative work. This can mean that important tasks like keeping copies of business receipts, booking advertisements, responding to email, and even tracking sales may not always get done in a timely fashion.

To help avoid the problems that are sure to arise from this type of unintentional neglect, authors should consider using one or more of the following options to keep their business organized and on track: 

  • using the first or last few minutes of every writing day to answer business email and organize any incoming information that the business may need at a later point
  • asking a spouse, partner, or responsible teen to assist you with tasks necessary for keeping your business organized
  • hiring a virtual assistant who can perform these clerical duties a few hours a week for an affordable fee

By taking this type of action to stay caught up on necessary business tasks and details, authors will be better able to focus on their writing and more likely to build a successful business. 

Decide to rely on the guidance of key professionals 

Like any other self-employed person, self-published authors are required to file their taxes on a quarterly basis. Since filing quarterly taxes involves meeting strict deadlines and having an excellent grasp of the latest tax laws that affect self-employed filers, this task is one that is best left to a key professional, such as a certified public accountant (CPA) who specializes in working with small business owners. Utilizing a reputable CPA for quarterly tax filings also means that self-published authors will have access to advice from a knowledgeable professional about important financial decisions that might affect their business, such as setting up a trust or choosing to become incorporated.