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Colleen Lindsay – “Every Author Has To Be An Entrepreneur”

Colleen Lindsay has been a literary agent, worked within large publishers, and at several bookstores. She is currently part of the business development team at Penguin Group and community manager for Book Country. We discuss a wide range of topics, including:

  • That, when an independent bookstore goes out of business, it is the result of bad business decisions, not market trends. “It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Love Books if You Don’t Know How to Run a Business.”
  • How thriving independent bookstores focus on customer service, community service, leveraging social media in a smart way, smart buying, and taking advantage of publisher & vendor specials.
  • Her experience and goals in helping to launch BookCountry.com – a free online genre fiction writers workshop.
  • How she and her colleagues approached the idea of building a new community for writers and readers online.
  • Where she is seeing opportunity for authors in the self-publishing ebook world.
  • Why all authors need to be entrepreneurs.
  • That the most important part of being a writer is to first get your craft right, then work on your platform.
  • The top things that writers often do wrong in the querying process.

Watch our full interview by clicking the play button below:


[flowplayer src=’https://s3.amazonaws.com/WeGrowMediaInterviews/ColleenLindsay.mov’ width=640 height=375]

You can find Colleen on Twitter at @ColleenLindsay, on BookCountry.com, and on her own site http://theswivet.blogspot.com.

Thanks to Colleen for taking the time to chat!

  • Wonderful interview. I remember, when working in Canadian book retailing (which has experienced the consolidation of its three major chains, then their transformation into one huge Big Box/etailer), that folks were really worried when supermarkets and other non-bookstores started selling books. Think this turned out to be far less of a threat than first anticipated because of course none of the not-really-bookstore outlets never carried any backlist titles. I am seeing an interesting trend with my local big box store though – one of the local supermarkets has its selection beat on a square footage basis (the retail equivalent of per capita, hmmm?). So glad to hear Colleen talking about the positives of self publishing. It’s not all roses at the big publishing companies in terms of editing, so there is absolutely no reason at all why a self published book that’s received the same kind of loving structural and substantive editing most books used to receive from publishers can’t be every bit as good – if not better – than a traditionally published one.

    The only problem with leaving the social media platform building till after the book’s written is that it’s a long, slow process for authors who aren’t already household words. I tell authors to start engaging with readers as a reader themselves on Goodreads and Twitter (or in a dedicated community like Book Country if that’s their genre). But absolutely – writing the best book/telling the best story you possibly can is the number one priority (and hopefully always will be).