Just a few weeks ago, there was an article that published a survey of the world’s top economists and 80% of them said that they believed this current recession is going to last for 1 ½ to 2 years. They also predicted a double dip recession where things would look like they were recovering only to “dip” again. Sadly, this isn’t your typical recession where things look bleak and then slowly improve. This thing is going to take a while which will be catastrophic for companies that were already struggling before this recession hit.
If you are an author who is contracted with a publisher that isn’t doing well, now may be the time to start securing your future before you find yourself without an income. Below are six tips that will put you in the driver’s seat during this recession.
Tip 1: Update Your Online Presence
This includes your website, social media accounts or blog, if your information is outdated, or if there are any broken links, then you need to correct that. If you’re looking for an agent or freelancing you should let people know. Your professional online presence needs to speak to the type of people you are looking to attract. If you don’t know who that is, then you need to sit down and figure that out.
Tip 2: Start Leveraging Your Network
Hopefully, you’ve been socializing online and have made a few author friends. I’m also hoping you’ve joined groups and maybe even started one yourself? If so, congratulations, you have friends in the industry who can help you out. Hopefully, these people are professionals who can help you find publishers, agents or just good editing software.
Your network should also be able to help you avoid scams which is important since there’s been a recent rash of con-artists impersonating well known literary agents and major publishing companies.
Another thing a good network can even give you is the latest gossip on who’s paying authors and who’s not. An excellent example of this was the Ellora’s Cave controversy where authors shared stories about late or missing payments all over social media. A short while later, after a lot of drama, the company folded. Keep in mind, there is strength in numbers, and this is especially true during a crisis.
Tip 3: Diversify
Most successful authors write in multiple genres, usually out of boredom but some do it to create multiple streams of income. For example, if romance is no longer selling then they can count on their sci-fi or thriller novels to pick up the slack.
Also, authors who are signed with a traditional publisher may want to look to self-publishing or work-for-hire opportunities in order to supplement their income. It’s basic financial sense to not depend on one source for your livelihood.
Tip 4: Raise Your Expectations From Your Partners
If your publisher isn’t selling books successfully, then it may be time to look for another publisher. I know authors who’ve published with companies and even during good times the company struggled to sell books across the board. To make matters worse, there’s always an excuse which usually includes, Amazon, the internet, or problems with the printers but you can’t afford to keep accepting excuses. You’re running a business and your publisher is supposed to be a business partner and partners are supposed to carry their own weight. This might mean buying back the rights to your work. If that’s not possible, then you may have to start over with a new company or even self-publish.
Tip 5: Gold Digging
In a recession it makes sense to research the company you want to do business with. Be sure they’re making real money and have more than just a handful of employees. Big companies generally do well in a recession in fact, most of them see economic meltdowns as an opportunity to buy more IP (intellectual property) or entire companies. It’s the large companies that are still buying and not cutting back, and that’s where the opportunities lie for authors.
Tip 6: Increase Your Marketing Effort
It should go without saying that during a recession you’ll need to increase your marketing efforts. That can mean increasing the amount of queries you send out, to expanding your social media outreach, or running more ads for your business. Even if hard times haven’t hit you yet, that doesn’t mean that they won’t hit the people you do business with. As a business owner, you need to keep your options open.
A Final Word
Recessions don’t have to be scary, remember there are people who make their fortunes during tough times and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them. Instead of seeing a recession as an apocalyptic disaster, see it for what it is; a time where sectors of the economy get shaken up. We have to keep in mind that as things shift we can actually find ourselves in a better position than before. The publishing industry will figure this out, and before you know it, we’ll all be complaining again about how boring the industry is and wishing again for a little excitement.
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