In June 2022, 28-year-old Lindsay MacMillan’s dreams came true when her first novel, ‘The Heart of the Deal’, was published. MacMillan has wanted to be an author since grade one and worked for years at investment bank Goldman Sachs as she wrote manuscripts and pitched them to agents. She left the company in March and her second book is due out in 2023.
As she worked toward her goal of becoming a full-time author, MacMillan learned that writing isn’t always a sustainable career. Her own book deals, for example, were “less than $20,000” each, she says, adding that “I make about $1 per book” after those advances.
As she embarks on her dream career, MacMillan looks for ways to supplement the income she earns from her books. “I call it authorship entrepreneurship,” she says, “approaching being an author in an entrepreneurial way.”
Here’s how she builds multiple streams of income.
It organizes conferences
In March 2022, MacMillan gave a TED Talk titled “Love Isn’t a Business”. In it, she draws parallels between people’s approaches to love and business, encouraging them to treat love not as a “commodity” but as a “connection”, she says.
The conference was a launchpad to book various keynotes on topics such as how your corporate work can catapult your entrepreneurial endeavors and how to chart your unique career path.
“At the moment I haven’t charged a speaker fee,” she says, “but for my events that I’m lining up in the fall, I charge a speaker fee at universities, corporations, and colleges. pensions.”
She will charge around $500 for a two-hour event and has started booking paid concerts at universities.
She does individual coaching
MacMillan also plans to start a one-on-one coaching business for people who want to get into writing.
There are plenty of online and in-person courses on how to be a better writer, she says. But there’s a lot of business sense involved if you want to “be able to walk into a Barnes and Noble and hold [your] book in your hand,” she says, including knowing where that book could hypothetically fit on a shelf and how to convince an agent that publishers will want it.
“It’s really the void that I see myself filling,” she says.
As an investor, MacMillan routinely scoured the pitch decks of entrepreneurs trying to secure funding. “We can learn from how entrepreneurs approach to raise capital,” she says as an example. She herself has pitch decks to agents for her books. She will charge $100 per hour for her one-on-one coaching.
She gives herself six months “to dive”
As MacMillan expands the multiple strands of her business as an author, she has cut back her life considerably. She has returned to live with her mother in Michigan, for example, and keeps her expenses under $2,000 a month.
“I’m kind of giving myself six months to dive in and say, just let me play, let me explore, let me throw a lot of stuff out there and let me focus mostly on this really successful first product,” she says.
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