Navigating the Literary Landscape: A Tale of Two Principles

Evan Swensen
3 min readMar 1, 2024

In the vast and ever-changing world of publishing, where creativity meets commerce, two guiding principles stand as beacons of wisdom for aspiring authors and seasoned writers. Often overlooked or underestimated, these principles are key to unlocking success in the literary landscape.

The first principle is simple yet profound: treat your writing as a business. It’s not enough to pen and send a manuscript to the world, hoping for the best. No, authors must recognize that their books are products with their lifecycles, requiring constant attention and nurturing. As Jane Friedman eloquently puts it in her book *_The Business of Being a Writer_*, authors must be actively involved in every stage of their book’s journey, from conception to publication to marketing. Just as a business owner wouldn’t abandon their venture after launching it, authors must remain engaged to ensure its success.

This involvement goes beyond the act of writing itself. Authors must also wear the hats of marketer, entrepreneur, and brand ambassador. They must invest time and effort into building their brand, connecting with readers, and adapting to the ever-shifting landscape of the publishing industry. It’s a demanding role, to be sure, but one that offers greater control over one’s career and creative output.

The second principle is equally powerful: niches are riches. Brendon Burchard explored this concept in depth in his book The Millionaire Messenger, underscores the importance of finding and serving a specific audience or niche. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, successful authors understand the value of targeting a smaller, more dedicated group of readers.

But identifying your niche isn’t just about finding a market for your book — it’s about building a community around your work. By understanding your audience’s unique needs and interests, you can tailor your writing and marketing efforts to better resonate with them. This targeted approach increases the likelihood of connecting with readers and fosters deeper engagement and loyalty.

While traditional publishers play a vital role in providing a platform for authors, it’s essential to remember that the author is the true face of the book. Readers want to connect with the person behind the words, not just the publishing house that brought them to print. This underscores the importance of authors actively promoting their work and cultivating relationships with their audience.

The message to authors is clear: treat your writing as a business and embrace the power of niche marketing. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance your chances of success but also forge deeper connections with your readers. After all, in the ever-evolving world of publishing, the authors are at the helm of their destiny.

Evan Swensen

8370 Eleusis Drive

Anchorage, Alaska 99502

(907) 349–2424

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Evan Swensen

Book publisher, editor, author, Author Masterminds charter member, founder of Readers and Writers Book Club, and bush pilot.