Authorpreneur vs. Writing Artist



All authors—indie and traditionally published—are being labeled with this new term, authorpreneur.

This is easier to see for the indie author, who must not only write the book, but must also arrange the editing, formatting, cover design, publishing, and marketing. However, the term also applies to traditionally published authors, who write query letters and book proposals, still need to market their books, and have a better chance of getting published if they tailor the book to the needs of an audience.

There is a growing perception that an author must write and function like a businessperson in order to succeed as a writer. Publishers are in the business of writing: They want ideas that will sell. Even the indie author may perceive writing as a business, feeling that’s what it takes to sell books.

Writing Artist

Let’s look at the other extreme—the author who writes passionately without regard for sales. In the utter extreme, the author doesn’t write for an audience, but for his or her own reasons. This author is driven by passion, not business. Getting the book right, carrying out the author’s vision… this author cares for this more than sales. Yes, this author would like to share his or her passion. This author won’t give the book away for free because he or she wants the work to be valued, yet this author is driven by the art of writing, not the royalties.

Which Are You?

Most authors probably aren’t extreme authorpreneurs—focused solely on business—or extreme writing artists—completely disregarding the business aspect. You might feel like you fall somewhere in between, and presently you’re trying to gauge which way you lean and how far.

Would you like to write as a businessperson or as a writing artist?

Most authors feel that they must do one of the following:

  • Sell out, so to speak, writing for business rather than pleasure.
  • Write as an artist and then publish and market as a businessperson, sort of combining the two aspects.
  • Write purely for pleasure; don’t worry about the business side at all.

However, there is another important option that most authors don’t consider.

The Art of Success

You don’t have to turn your art into a business. Instead, you can turn the business into an art.

Here’s what I mean: View marketing not as a business strategy, but as a means of sharing your passion with others. Put your imagination into it and carry out your marketing as an artist. Just like you write with passion as an artist, find a way to feel like an artist when you market your work and become passionate about marketing as a way to share your writing with readers.

It’s a matter of perspective. Consider the following definitions.



  • business: a product designed to create profit.
  • art: ideas fueled by passion and crafted by a wordsmith.

cover design

  • business: a tool that helps direct traffic to your book’s product page.
  • art: a reflection of your work that helps readers find what you so passionately wrote.


  • business: reshaping an idea to sell better.
  • art: perfecting the art and craftsmanship to get it right.


  • business: improving the design of a book to attract more customers.
  • art: visually complementing the beauty of the writing.


  • business: strategies for delivering the product to the target audience.
  • art: motivating yourself to share your passionate creation with others.

Readers, too

As a reader, would you rather read a book that was written for an audience and designed to sell or would you rather read a book that was fueled by passion and shared passionately?

Of course, the question is never put like this. However, as a reader you do buy books. When you buy books that were written and published under a business model, you support the perception that writing should be a business. When you buy books that were written by artists and craftsmen, you support the perception that writing should be an art or craft.

The choice is yours. Each purchase counts as a vote.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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Chef Writer

This writer is just like a chef.


He doesn’t use just the same ingredients as everyone else:

His stock is fresher and more extensive, with a secret stash;

It includes a wider vocabulary, many special phrases,

And plenty of combinations with which to spice it up.


The writing doesn’t taste bland to the reader:

He chooses each word with thought and care,

Causing the words to flow just as he pleases;

Smoothly for the most part. Pause. Here. And. There.


He avoids common foods that often pose problems:

Declining an adverb when a precise verb will do,

Not telling the reader, if showing would be better,

But simply telling when showing would be a distraction.


Many former customers have acquired his taste:

They ask for him by name, only eat off his menu,

Follow him if he switches to a new restaurant,

And know they will love it before they even taste it.


Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

The Author’s Mighty Pen: The Power of Writing

Mighty Author Pic

Behold an example of the power of words:

This sentence commands you to read it.

Once you read it, there’s no use denying it. You can’t get any sort of acknowledgment that you didn’t read it.

Words are mighty.

The writer is a creator, of sorts. Creating a brand new world. Perhaps, intending a better world. Or maybe a scarier world. But the author may also create a vision of the real world.

Through words, authors have the power to:

  • evoke strong emotions from readers (crying, laughter, pity).
  • make people read fast (suspenseful page turner).
  • provoke action (letters to Congress, a call to arms, buy a DVD that’s on sale).
  • teach (textbooks, how-to guides, training manuals).
  • report news (headlines, articles, research).
  • create ideals (socialism, non-violence, freedom).
  • entertain (fiction, puzzles, cookbooks).
  • inspire (biography, motivational, children’s social situations).
  • provide leadership (by example, through characters in stories).
  • record history (textbooks, biographies, memoirs).
  • and much, much more can come just by stringing words together in the right fashion.

Just like Peter Parker, writers have a great responsibility with this power. 🙂 (I’ll just let you think about this, and spare you a lecture on it.)

But we know from everyday experience that it’s not just the words that matter:

In person, it’s often not what you say, but how you say it.

Facial expressions, gestures, tone, and context influence interpretation. This is a challenge for the author.

Well, we can add a few features, if we want. But the same effect can often be conveyed just as effectively, if not more so, with ‘naked’ words.

A sentence printed on a sheet of paper can be interpreted many ways. It can be read with different tones, stress can be placed on different syllables, and accents can vary.

When the same sentence is said aloud a certain way, this aids with interpretation.

Authors can leave expressions open to interpretation, or they can use additional words to help elicit a particular emotion, or they can allow context to help. They can tell the reader, or they can use words to show the reader.

They can add utterly useless words. Yet each and every word serves a purpose.

They can create new phrases. Yet even trite expressions can be used effectively.

A painting may be worth a thousand words. But the writer is an artist, too, and can paint a vivid picture just using words.


You can eat without them. You can sleep without them. You can find shelter without them. You can find comfort without them. You can make friends without them. You can reproduce without them.

If we had to, we could live without words. But could you imagine such a life?

Once you learn to read, words affect you the rest of your life. If you see a sign, you must make a concerted effort not to read it. Words have such power over us. They influence our emotions, our actions.

And we use them. They give us power.

Imagine trying to do everything you’ve done in your life without them.

Go an entire day without words. Don’t say one. Don’t write one. Don’t hear one. Don’t even think one. Good luck with that. 🙂

Words. Some silly. Some simple. Some pulchritudinous. Some serious. Some not. Some visual. Some abstract.

For writing to have influence, it has to be read. So authors use words in their marketing, too. To help others find writing that may interest them.

Love words. Read words. Enjoy words. Write words. Appreciate words. Learn words. Teach words. Respect words.

Words are mightier than the sword.

Words are more powerful than money.

Words can be used to form friendships.

Words can be used to ease tensions.

Words can incite rebellion.

Words can bring peace.

What can’t words do?

If you can experience it, you can express it with words.

Even if it can’t be done in reality, it can be done in words.

We live in a world that revolves around words.

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Need Your Help: How Do You Describe Facial Expressions in Fiction?

So I recently posted about the importance of facial expressions for authors. Today, I received a comment about facial expressions in fiction. It was a good question: How do you do this effectively?

I’m curious about this, too, so I posted this question here. I know there are several great fiction writers out there, so I’m hoping some of you will share your ideas about this.

We can just say that the girl looked happy. But show is often preferred over tell, right? There are also other ways to show that she was happy (e.g. she was jumping up and down, waving her arms wildly, when she saw me get out of the bus), but suppose we wish to describe facial expressions (not necessarily happy ones). Who has some good advice for how to do this?

How about describing faces, period. I’ve read some books where a face was described as “angular,” for example. I didn’t have any idea what that meant, so I really had trouble visualizing the character. If you have suggestions for how to describe a face in clear terms that will aid in visualization, with or without facial expressions, please share your ideas.

Thank you.

The funny thing about this blog is that when I ask for comments, very often there aren’t any, but when I don’t, sometimes there are plenty. Perhaps today will be an exception to the rule. 🙂

Author Power

Mighty Author Pic

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in Richilieu, Or the Conspiracy)

Authors have power through their writing.

Writers are creators. They can create new worlds, new people, new creatures, new ideas. Some aspire to create better worlds. Diversions from reality.

Authors share experiences. Readers can imagine traveling anywhere in the world (universe, even) without ever stepping out of their homes.

Writers can convey powerful emotions. Simply through words.

Wordsmiths make the letters themselves dance on a sheet of paper. Flow gracefully through action. Or. Stop. Suddenly. The reader enjoys the text without any idea as to how much care was put into the selection of each and every word.

Authors express themselves. And they express others. And others who don’t even exist, except in print and in the minds of those who have read their writing.

Writers disguise books that help people rebel against totalitarianism. Writers instigate revolutions. Writers spread fear through propaganda. Writers market freedom.

Poets sing. It may be beautiful, but very often it’s not. Very often, they sing suffering. And they sing it loud and clear. Yet it helps.

Authors plant seeds. Little ideas. Revolutionary ideas. Ideas that get people thinking. People with young and agile minds. People who may challenge the status quo. Rebels seeking a cause. Ideas that may grow with nutrients, time, water, and nurture.

The power of writers can be dangerous. Writers have much freedom to exercise, and coming with it is a great responsibility.

We may be weak in life, yet powerful in print.

It’s not the size of the pen that matters, nor the length of the words, nor how many words are written. It’s how the pen is wielded that really matters.

“Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” (Ernest Hemingway, in response to William Faulkner’s criticism, “He has never been known to use a word that might send his reader to the dictionary.”)

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers (Volumes 1 and 2)