Balancing the Artist with the Entrepreneur: Why Book Publishing Requires Both

Last week I shared that the three parts of publishing a book were writing it, producing it, and marketing it. Each of these aspects has a creative element and a business element, which must be balanced, kept in a respectable tension.

The pure artist says, “Let me create without interference; I don’t care about commercial viability; just let me be me.” The pure artist will likely starve or need to get a day job.

The pure businessperson says, “I will only do things that will make money, the more the better. I’ll follow trends and jump on any bandwagon moving in the right direction.” The pure businessperson may put food on the table, but will sacrifice his soul in the process; her writing will have no heart.

The pure artist and the pure businessperson cannot survive apart from each other. They must embrace the skills of each if there’s any hope for success – however they choose to measure it.

  • Writing the book is where the artist flourishes, yet the entrepreneur cannot be excluded from this phase. The art of organizing words must be guided by a knowledge of what is able to be reproduced and of potential interest to the buying public.
  • Producing the book has a creative element, but it is directed by the entrepreneur. Yet the entrepreneur must not remove the artist at the risk of producing a bland, boring book.
  • Marketing the book requires mostly the entrepreneur, though the artist needs to add his or her flare, embracing activities that produce energy and avoiding those that are draining. Yes, the author must market, but the entrepreneur needs to guide activities to what the artist can reasonably handle. If marketing kills the artist, there will be no more art.

Publishing a book requires we be an artist and an entrepreneur, embracing both and ignoring neither. May your artist side hear your entrepreneur’s voice, and may your entrepreneur side listen to your artist’s heart. That’s how to publish a book.

Are you more artist or entrepreneur? How do you let both skills be part of the process?

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