Brain Burps BadgeI’m delighted to be a featured guest on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast today, alongside fellow author, friend and 12 x 12 member Susanna Leonard Hill. As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post, we discuss the topic of Making Money in Children’s Publishing, but really, it’s applicable to writers of all genres.

For those of us who are not able to live off of book royalties but still need to put food on the table, finding a way to combine the passion and love of writing with the need to earn a living is imperative.

I’m not going to give away the guidance we gave in the podcast – you’ll have to listen for that. BUT, I did figure now would be a good time to share my top three takeaways from The O’Reilly Tools of Change Author (R)evolution conference in New York last week, as the lessons are 100% applicable to this podcast episode.

  1. Writers MUST be Entrepreneurs. The debate is no longer about traditional vs. self-publishing, as there are success stories in both and many authors are taking a hybrid
    Unfortunately, it doesn't grow on trees. We need to earn it and stop making it a taboo subject!

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t grow on trees. We need to earn it and stop making it a taboo subject!

    approach. What makes the difference between a book becoming a success or languishing unnoticed among the hundreds of thousands of new books published every year? It’s the authors who treat themselves, and their books, as a business who thrive.

  2. Social Media is NOT Marketing. It’s a Conversation. If you are using social media networks exclusively to blast information about your books, you are going to bomb. Social media is all about engagement and building an audience and community by sharing, conversing, being helpful. If you come to it from that angle, it can be a very effective engagement tool to motivate your audience and community to support your work.
  3. Writers Must Build Community. A community is more specific than an audience. A community is a group of people who are loyal to you and your work and will follow you everywhere. This does not happen overnight and can be a slow build, but it’s a must for success in 21st century publishing. So for pre-published authors who are wondering whether to take the plunge into social media, blogging, etc.? NOW is the time.

I will be making a video for Children’s Book Insider going into more detail on each of these three lessons, but at least now you have the CliffNotes version.

What are you doing to treat your writing and your books like a small business?


Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Goals, Publishing, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writing



  1. Thanks for sharing these points about the conference, Julie! I’ll try to listen to this podcast.

  2. Great comments Julie! Anxious to listen to the podcast…always a great team when you and Katie get together.
    As for how I treat my writing (and books-to-be) like a small business?
    I line everything up on either side of an important threshold: that important line between what I create with my writing on THIS SIDE of the computer screen–and what I say, share, hear, ask, listen, show and tell and shout about on THAT SIDE–the outside.
    My major goal this year is submit. My “business” plan is query to editors and magazines and publishers, talk about my work on my blog, and share ideas and get feedback from my writer communities. I am a writer, and it’s worth the rewards that writing brings.
    Thanks to you and many others for inspiring and encouraging that.

  3. Loved the discussion between you, Katie and Susanna. It’s a subject we often avoid so it was great to listen to three authors making it work. Yes indeed, we have to embrace the reality that if we don’t learn how to promote our own books, they will arrive in few readers’ hands. For those of us more introverted with no marketing experience it is daunting. I guess I am focussing more than anything on the community building, learning from others as they promote. I love that we get to promote one another in this kidlit world.

  4. I look forward to listening to your podcast and to seeing the video for Children’s Book Insider. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  5. Google + Communities are great for authors to join in. I welcome authors to join mine: Book Club for Kids

    I am always looking for books and activities for kids to use for a Book Club for Kids!

  6. Well said! Did you meet Ms. Hill in real life or via Skype (or something similar)? SOunds like a great pod cast!

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