Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 8, 2024

Author Education: A Crucial Investment

by Penny Sansevieri

Author education is a topic that often gets overlooked in the creative process, but it's a vital aspect that can significantly impact an author's success in the industry. Today, we're diving into why educating yourself as an author is crucial and how it can save you both time and money in the long run.

Why Author Education Matters

When you’re knee-deep in the creative process, adding a layer of education to all the work you’re already doing can feel like a lot, I get it. But there’s a reason that I’m so passionate about author education. Let’s dig in!

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Without a basic understanding of the publishing industry, authors may find themselves making costly mistakes, such as choosing the wrong publishing options or overspending on production costs. Educating yourself on publishing basics can help you make informed decisions that align with your goals and budget. Now I’m not asking that you become a publishing expert overnight – that’s not the goal here, but you want to know what’s working and what isn’t, and you want to know what the norms are related to publishing options.

Protecting Yourself from Exploitation

Unscrupulous individuals and companies often prey on authors who lack knowledge about the industry. By educating yourself, you can better identify red flags and protect yourself from scams or unfair practices. This includes:

  • Understanding contracts.
  • Asking the right questions.
  • Seeking professional guidance when needed.

You really want to be aware of marketing tactics that just aren’t reasonable. And I’m not talking about something someone in your writer’s group did that maybe didn’t work as well for you. This is really about marketing scams, because there are a lot of them. And what I always tell authors is if it seems too good to be true, it very likely is.

Maximizing Sales and Platform Building Opportunities

Preparing for your book's release involves more than just writing the manuscript. Educating yourself on pre-order strategies, early marketing tactics, and platform building opportunities can give your book a competitive edge in the market. Part of why this is important is because things change a lot – and again not asking you to become an expert in any of this, but it’s worth knowing what works and what doesn’t. I also love it when authors focus on their platform, and it doesn’t have to be extensive but it’s absolutely worth the investment of your time.

Avoiding Flashy Marketing Ploys

In an industry filled with flashy promises and marketing gimmicks, author education acts as a safeguard against falling for misleading offers. I mentioned this earlier in this post: if it seems too good to be true it likely is. And by understanding standard marketing strategies and timing, you can make informed decisions about where to invest their resources for maximum impact. If someone is guaranteeing you book sales, or promising you an interview on The Today Show, be wary. No one can promise either.

Empowering Yourself as an Author

Education isn’t just about learning but also about empowering yourself to take control of your publishing journey. Whether it's attending writer’s conferences, reading industry blogs, or seeking coaching from professionals, investing in your education equips you with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complex landscape of publishing.

And speaking of writer’s conferences – this is something I really love, partly because it’s a chance to dig into some great information, explore new ideas, and connect with other/similar authors.

Now that I’ve shared my thoughts on author education, let me give you some places to either join or follow. All of these folks are rock stars!

Great Resources for Author Education

  • Jane Friedman: Known for her insightful blog and industry expertise, Jane Friedman offers valuable resources on writing, book marketing, and the publishing industry. She also has a paid newsletter: The Hot Sheet, which I love and highly recommend!
  • Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi): ALLi provides a wealth of educational resources, including classes, blogs, and industry insights tailored to independent authors.
  • Publishers Lunch and Publishers Weekly: These industry-specific publications offer news, trends, and insights into the publishing world, helping authors stay informed about the latest developments.
  • Book Marketing Tips and Author Success Podcast: A bit of a brag here, but I have a podcast which I hope you’ll give a listen to as well. Hosted by myself and Amy Cornell, one of my awesome team members, it’s a weekly show packed with some great information and insights (if I do say so myself!)

Final Thoughts

And of course, it goes without saying that following the posts on Writers in the Storm is super helpful, but so are the comments. When was the last time you did a deep dive into some of the post feedback? I find in particular, on this site, the comments are always smart and thoughtful – you might pick up a nugget or two!

Author education is not just a luxury; it's a necessity for anyone serious about succeeding in the publishing industry. By investing time and effort into educating yourself, you can avoid common pitfalls, protect your interests, and maximize your book's potential for success. So, whether you're just starting your writing journey or navigating the complexities of book marketing, remember that knowledge is power—and in the world of publishing, it can make all the difference.

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About Penny

Author bio pic

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.

Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon visibility campaigns as well offering national media pitching, online book marketing, author events, and other strategies designed to build the author/book visibility.

She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors, and From Book to Bestseller. She also hosts the top ranking podcast Book Marketing Tips and Author Success.

AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com

Top Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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12 comments on “Author Education: A Crucial Investment”

  1. All true, Penny. The BEST education I ever have received (and still receive), is Margie Lawson (Lawson Writers Academy.) I think I would still be struggling to be a published author if I hadn't met her.

  2. Your topic is right on! Marketing is essential and the rules and opportunitys are constantly changing. It only makes sense that we empower ourselves in the arena. Your points are solid and well-made, especially platform buiding. And the resources you outlined are powerful. I discovered the magic of Jane Friedman years ago when I was contemplating blogging. She is a superstar of insightfulness. I look forward checking out the other resources you recommended as well. I believe in lifelong learning, and I plane to do it ... lifelong! [smile]

  3. Great advice, Penny. If more authors sought out education there would be fewer people falling for the ever-present scams.

    I discovered Jane Friedman a long time ago. I agree. She is wonderful, and her blogs full of sound advice.

  4. The best thing any writer, especially new writers, can do is learn about the writing business before they receive that first contract or consider publishing their book themselves. Everyone wants a piece of your work, some legitimately, others not so much. Read the fine print! Ask questions, and research every one you consider hiring or working with.

    Another expert to follow is Kim Komando. Her daily newsletter is gold. She's a techie guru and knowing how to keep your computers safe is just as important as keeping the writing safe.

    IBPA is a wonderful way to get information and discounts! Friedman's book, The Business of Being a Writer, is one I'd be using in a classroom if I were still teaching.

    Great article. Great advice, Penny!

  5. Penny this is a fantastic post. I'm so glad you mentioned IBPA. I've learned a ton from them. As someone who teaches writers, I've learned that there is always more that *I* need to learn!

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