What do you get when you ask 20,000+ writers for input on which services would be most useful to them?
Actually, in a quick-moving Facebook group, when posting late at night, not a lot of people see your status. But there will be a handful that respond, and I spent two hours in late February hearing their ideas, asking for clarification, and taking notes. And what came from that discussion is Compose Creatives.
A little background: as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a marketing major. This last semester, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a course in arts entrepreneurship. Basically, the course focused on the business side of being an artist, something that I’d never given much thought to. The course turned out to be not only a lot of fun, but also very enlightening. I learned how to take everything I know about business and apply it to an artistic endeavor, and a big part of that was our main term assignment to create a business plan for an arts-based business.
When I first signed up for this course, it was because I wanted to push myself into taking my writing more seriously. It’s always been a hobby, but I was ready to turn it into a side career or at least a hobby that paid for itself. Everyone else in the course had these big, amazing plans for their art-based businesses, and I just wanted to sell a few books. I still want to do that, but I started looking into business ideas that I could do, as a writer, to get more involved in the indie writing world. I had a couple ideas, but nothing concrete, and nothing that would really add to the community. In short, I was lost and completely without direction.
Skip forward a couple months. I sat down one evening to start planning out my project, and drew a blank. So, being a modern woman with modern conveniences, I did what everyone else does when stuck for ideas: I got on Facebook and asked the members of my favorite writing community (much love to my fellow NaNoWriMo writers!).
Seven people replied, and they all had some great insight. Also, with a few exceptions, everyone was asking for the same thing. They want what the big publishing houses offer, without actually needing to work with the big publishing houses.
When an author signs with a publisher, they get an editor. They get someone to craft their covers, and format their books. They get marketing (at least a little), and they get a small team of people working together to create the final product. Everyone is on the same page. Indie authors don’t have that same opportunity. They can hire someone to help with marketing, but that marketer isn’t working with the cover designer, for example. Everything is piecemeal.
That’s the problem that Compose Creatives hopes to solve. The site will have independent vendors that an author can hire, depending on what they need or want for their book, and then those vendors will work with the author, and with each other, to create the finished product. My goal is to have a few vendors for each area (cover design, editing, marketing, and so on), so that the authors can pick and choose their own team, based on reviews, portfolio examples, prices, and a few other factors.
It’s still a work in progress. I have a lot of details to sort out, and a lot of planning to do. I’m hoping to talk with some published indies (and others working in that field– from bloggers to cover artists and independent books sellers) to get their input. I’ve started work on the website, and I have two introduction portals (one for authors and one for vendors) almost ready to go. There’s going to be a blog and, if all goes well, a forum. Down the road a bit, I want to start a program with book reviewers, too, once our community gets a bit bigger.
The current launch date for Compose Creatives is September 8th, but I expect to have the intro portals up and running by the end of June. In the mean time, I am in the middle of some market research to learn a bit more about what services Indie authors (and traditionally published authors, too) are interested in. If you have a few free moments to help out and share your thoughts, you can find the survey right here. (Link will bring you to the SurveyMonkey website.)
I’ll keep posting updates here as I get closer to launch. I’ve put a lot of time into this, and I’m so excited to finally share it with all of you. Stay tuned!