Brand New Brand

My to-do list is in the middle of a growth spurt.

It’s the kind of thing that happens when you decide to become an entrepreneur. Suddenly, a thousand tiny details all need your attention, because none of the things—the many, many things—are going to do themselves.

So, as I am in the middle of my quest to get a cover artist, I also have dozens of other jobs that need doing. And since you are kind enough to be reading this, I’ll list some of them here.

Task #1: Incorporate.

Because books aren’t actually written by authors anymore. It’s all corporations now.

That’s not even a joke. Most professional authors, for tax reasons, arrange it so their company is the actual producer of the book. The author’s name (or their pseudonym) is still printed on the cover, but their corporation is the legal entity selling the rights, and when the publisher writes the royalty checks, the name on the line is the name of the author’s organization.

So it is that I find myself in need of filing to become an LLC. The Mr. Horne you once knew and adored will disappear into a shadowy conglomerate of nameless bureaucratic legalese. You and I live in different worlds now, sweetheart.

Luckily, incorporating is not hard these days. There are a thousand online tutorials that can walk anyone through the necessary steps, and even services who will do most of the work for you.

But I can’t put it off much longer. I’ve already started paying artists and I will soon have other, more pertinent business expenses.

Task #2: Get Headshots

Probably the least pleasant task on my list. Because there is a law—somewhere—that requires authors to put their portrait at the back of their books.

I’m thinking of something tasteful. Maybe a nude shot where I’m reading a newspaper and my crossed legs cleverly hide anything that would force me to put an R-rating on my book.

Or perhaps I should see if Anne Geddes has any available appointment times.

I’m just not very photogenic. And getting my picture taken is always a chore. Yet it has to be done.

Task #3: Make Friends

No easy feat, but not as difficult as getting a good headshot. When my book is finally released, I’m going to need people to talk about it. Popular people. People who get watched and read for their opinions on books and pop culture. But that shouldn’t be too hard for me to do.

Because, as it turns out, I have a tremendous Twitter following already (I’m just as surprised as you are). And I have just enough clout to throw a stone and have it hit something. Networking is so much easier when you already possess a network.

The hardest part is identifying the right people to get close to. After that, it’s just a matter of building a mutualistic relationship to help us properly symbiote.

“I’m a plant AND a fungus!”

And I am all about mutualism.

The Real Task: Create a Brand

As an author, I need an identity. And all of these tasks are merely in service of that one larger objective.

True success will be when people can hear the name “T. Alan Horne” and already associate it with something they hold familiar. To this end, I need to do more than publish a book. I need to publish myself.

And for that I’m going to need a bigger bullhorn.

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