Starting the Authorpreneur Journey - Travis Senzaki

Starting the Authorpreneur Journey

authorpreneur goals for 2017

My authorpreneur journey starts here. Fellow travelers wanted.

This is Authorpreneur Zero

I am an Authorpreneur, starting from scratch. This is the chronicle of my journey.

As a fiction writer, I have no platform. I have no followers other than the 30 or so friends and family that I have convinced to “like” my author facebook page.

This blog is the chronicle of my journey. I hope you’ll come along, whether you’re on the same journey yourself, or “just” here to support me. I appreciate you either way!

My career is a blank page, for now. In that, I am no different from thousands of other gunnabe writers. But I have two important assets on my side that give me an unfair advantage: purpose and focus.

Purpose

I covered this to some degree in my new about page. Six years ago, when I first tried to write fiction, I didn’t have a purpose other than to finish a novel. I never even accomplished that. I wrote a first draft and gave up somewhere during the editing – before I even figured out how to edit.

The reason I failed was a lack of purpose. There was no greater reason than the novel, itself.

Now, thanks to a detour through online entrepreneurship, I have learned that if we want to succeed as authors, we need a greater goal. It’s not about finishing a story or publishing a novel. It’s not about making money. Those are just steps along the way.

We write to make a difference. This was something I picked up through studying entrepreneurship.

To build a successful business, your goal needs to be to create a transformation in your customers. Writing – any kind of artistic output – is the same. After all, being an independent artist is a business.

It’s not about the product, as much as we love and value our art, it’s about the transformation that creates for our audience.

Art challenges the way people think and helps them to consider new ideas. It gives hope and inspires. Art is transformative.

martyr image authorpreneur as servant

I suspect I may have a martyr complex, thanks to my diet catholic upbringing. That’s part of my unfair advantage.

I think that approaching authorpreneurship as an exercise in creating this transformation in my readers gives me a reason to press through, even when the writing isn’t going well. Even when the kids have left me exhausted after hours of horsey rides. If I’m writing for a purpose, not just for myself, I can keep going.

Focus

Authorpreneurs have to wear multiple hats, but not all at the same time.

Author Focus

One hat is my writing hat. This is the most important. Just like an entrepreneur has to create an amazing, transformative product to succeed, an authorpreneur needs to write amazing stories. When I am writing and rewriting, my focus is on the story and telling it in a way that will resonate with my audience.

Publisher Focus

Another hat is my publisher hat. I have made the business decision to self-publish.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to half-ass it, or just throw my work out there without polish and wait for the world to acknowledge my genius. It means I need to be a professional publisher, in addition to being an author. I have to do everything a publisher would otherwise do: marketing, contracting editors, cover art, formatting, production.

When I wear that hat, it’s all business.

Both hats are united by purpose: to write transformative stories and get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But each has their role to play and they have to take it in turns. By managing my authorpreneurship as if I am different divisions in a business, each with its own goals and outcomes, I can focus on my tasks individually to produce a better product and get it out into the world.

Authorpreneurship Goal for 2017: Level-Up my Storytelling

My first goal for 2017 is to improve the quality of my storytelling.

Last time around, there were so many things I didn’t understand about storytelling. I didn’t understand where the focus needed to be (on the character’s internal struggle). I didn’t know what it meant that every paragraph and sentence had to advance the story. I didn’t understand that storytelling had to focus on the reader’s experience of the story.

Now, I have a better understanding. But understanding without experience is like an online MBA: it doesn’t mean I can actually do the job. Yet.

To level up my story-telling, I need practice.

The Practice Field: Short Stories

editing is more important that writing

“There is no great writing, only great rewriting.”
– Justice Louis Brandeis

I really want to write sweeping epic fantasy novels, because that’s what I most love to read. You know, the kind of book that can kill you like a cudgel to the head if they fall from a second-story window. But that’s not a good way to practice.

Last time I tried to write an epic fantasy novel, I spent half a year on the rough draft and gave up on the editing. But editing is what being a professional writer is all about.

I have decided that short stories are the best way to focus more on the rewriting process. They are also a good way to practice concise, impactful presentations.

I have never written a short story before, so I expect the beginning to be like the first time I tried playing rugby. I was the only one on the field not from Papua New Guinea, the only one with no experience, and outweighed by most of the other guys’ left arms. Before I knew what was happening, I was bruised, muddied, and wistfully dreaming about a nice game of golf.

Playing rugby with these guys might kill me

See the skinny author guy in this picture? No. And there’s a good reason for that

I will be publishing my short stories first on this blog, so if you want to see my first bruises and mud-covered face, sign up for the email list in the sidebar.

Self-Improvement

In addition to practice, I am going to continue studying the craft and the business, primarily through podcasts and books.

For authorpreneurship, I listen to The Creative Penn, The Smarter Artist and Self-Publishing Podcast by the guys at Sterling and Stone, and The Portfolio Life.

Those shows are also my primary source for new books and ebooks in the authorpreneur space. I am currently reading Story Genius, by Lisa Cron.

I also have a reading list of about 5 fiction novels by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt from Realm and Sands.

I will share the books, podcasts, and blogs I have found helpful on this blog and on social media, as well, if you’re interested in following along! (See the social media links in the header!)

Authorpreneur Output Goal

For 2017, my goal is to put out at least two articles per month on this blog, including at least one short story.

I am not going to write to the point that it interferes with my family life – my wife and children are most important to me – so that seems like a fair target. I hope you’ll be along for the ride.

Question for You

I’m always looking for new inspiration, so I want to know what you think is the best. What was your favorite book you read in 2016? Tell me in the comments!

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