The unpublished novelist must be an entrepreneur

We all know about the entrepreneur by now, even someone like me who knows little of business, because Mitt Romney made him just about the central theme of his presidential campaign last year, pushing the archetype until all of us non-entrepreneurs wanted to kill entrepreneurs because we were so sick of hearing about them.

An entrepreneur risks everything to follow the Great American Dream. An entrepreneur works 12-16 hour days, six, seven days a week to make his business work. He sees to every detail from product development to sales and marketing. He finances his dream by maxing out his credit cards. He takes “no” from noone. He withstands the hard times on faith, never slacking and never giving up on the dream.

He is a hero. And he is a victim — of the evil government empire that loathes individual freedom and has nothing better to do than stymie the entrepreneur at every opportunity. Romney’s campaign was virtually obsessed with romanticizing and then martyring The Entrepreneur.

That was where Romney blew the message. And that’s about where most of us non-entrepreneurs started forming homicidal fantasies toward the guy who risks everything and then BLAMES THE GOVERNMENT when the financial or market dice come up snake eyes. 

I sort of see things differently now that I’m realizing that the unpublished novelist must be an entrepreneur.

I’m not talking about self-publishing, though that’s a factor too.

The more I learn about this trade the more I realize it is not enough to just write. Apparently the writer must be a one-person small business, creating the product and then working just as hard to research and identify a market and a business plan to go after that market. Sure, along the way we hope — we expect — to sign with an agent and then with a publisher who know all the business involved. But just getting there requires a plan, a dedication, hard work and an understanding and connection to the market — a platform. But I suspect it’s far more than that.

I suspect the successful novelists have always operated as entrepreneurs, seeing to every detail, working those long days and getting through the hard times on faith.

The Naive Optimist Inc., here I come.

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