Being an Author vs. Running a Business as an Author

Is there a difference between being an author versus running a business as an author? In this interview with Joanna Penn, we discuss some of the important shifts that happen when you begin treating your writing (and/or your art) also as your business.

We also cover:

  • The trade-offs that can make full-time writing possible
  • The business models that writers are using these days
  • The commonalities of authors making over $100,000 per year
  • Understanding the profit and loss statement for your book

Joanna offers up our interview in three ways:

I’m grateful to Joanna for inviting me as a guest on her series, and hope you find some useful takeaways in our discussion.

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Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.
Posted in Business for Writers.


  1. Two of my favorite writing bloggers together in one place! Thanks for a terrific interview. My favorite part: “When you realize that you have to start saying no, I think that’s a major turning point for a lot of people…” (Jane). I’m right there, at the beginning of the turning point, and it feels just scary enough for me to know it’s right.

  2. Regarding royalties for multi author books:

    Since most authors who self-publish probably already have an account set up with their banking information, it seems the retailers could set up a split payment option that would automatically divide payments.

    The book could have a special log in screen where everyone contributing to the project could enter their information. The screen would only show that author their account information, but it could allow for a “Do you have the right to publish this material” during the publishing process that all the authors would be able to agree to.

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