The Writer as CEO of her own business.


I have put ‘Book Two’ to one side for a while to gain some objectivity before final revisions and polishing. Second Book angst. Apparently this is normal. Gulp.

 So. Time to consider some different aspects of the writing life – ‘The Biz’ in Showbiz.

 Once upon a time in a land far away, I was in the business world, and most of the concepts about running a commercial business are familiar to me – except of course I was working for a major international company at the time with headquarters in the US.

 Now I am working for a company with headquarters in the back bedroom where I am sitting right now.

 So last week I took myself off to a Free Seminar on Becoming Self-employed, run by the local BusinessLink team, with free one to one sessions with HSRC and business advisers, and jolly interesting it was too.

 The key speaker was someone who was a well-established local businessman, with many years of experience, and gave an excellent presentation about the harsh reality of creating your own business. 

He certainly did not shy away from the long hours [ forget the 37 hr week for example], the risk, the stress on yourself and others around you, and the harsh economic climate. Working from home with small children in the house … well, you already know about that one.

 When he asked how many people in the large group were in a redundancy situation, or close to it, I was horrified by the number of hands that went up.

And Basingstoke is one of the centres of HIGH employment in the south.

There are still signs in shop windows in the town centre- including Waterstones etc – looking for workers, and they are building office space for big name companies who are running recruitment drives for skilled workers.

 One of the key slides was an organisation chart for a retail business -something like this:


Chief Executive

Product development Sales
A. Project Manager Marketing
B. Project Manager Finance and Accounts
C. Project Manager Human Resources
Operational and Technical Support Legal


The presenter asked us to challenge ourselves as to how the sole trader/small company intended to carry out each of these functions. His example was how at one point he was so busy making sales and running production that he actually forgot to collect the money that month.

If you making electrical components, or running a contract printing unit, like the chaps I was sitting next to, then perhaps you can outsource a project, or hire a credit controller to chase customers.

Not so easy if you are a fiction writer.

But of course we can hire accountants, tax advisers, perhaps a literary agent to handle the legal aspects of contracts, as well as computer experts and web designers. They are all part of the ‘the team’ which makes up the business. We do not have to do everything ourselves.

 One thing I did take away – the two ladies from HMRC were so nice and extremely helpful, that next month I am off to free half day course run by the Revenue.

 And they both read Mills and Boon novels. Future Customers!!

 Next step. Setting up my goals for the next 12 months – so I know precisely what the scope of the business is going to be.

 And for that I will need some power music. Like this, for example.