Author to Business Owner: Alexandra Swann Part 2 of 2

December 5th, 2011 → 2:00 pm @

A few short days ago, Alexandra Swann, author and business owner, shared her incredible story about her education, first published books and the start of her own media company. It was no small feat to earn her master’s degree at sixteen, completely sell out of 2,500 copies of her first book, and see her fiction as a Book of the Year finalist in Christianity Today, all while running a mortgage business and media company. Now, she returns to give insider tips on being a business owner! 

Alexandra, what do you love about being a business owner?

I love writing, but I also love business. I learned through my long journeys that business is not a necessary evil – business is what makes everything else work. My worst day as a self-employed person has been better than the best day that I had when I worked in my corporate job.

Being a business owner is about having some control over my future; it’s about being able to determine my course to the extent that anyone in this world gets to do that. For me, it means that we publish our books with our words and our content. It also means that we carve out a place for ourselves without anyone to tell us that the Christian fiction world is too small, and there is no room for anyone new.

Have you ever hired a CPA? How does your CPA help you?

I have a CPA and an attorney. Both have been with me since the first day I started the mortgage company in 1998. I use the CPA every year to do the taxes. About 18 months after I started the mortgage company, I read in INC magazine that the two biggest mistakes small business owners make is not having a CPA and not having an attorney.

The CPA costs some money, but I have a peace of mind knowing that the taxes are done properly. Fortunately, we have not needed the attorney very often, but when we do, he is there, and I can rely on his advice.

How do you do your record keeping?

For day to day work, we use Quickbooks. My mother has done all of the bookkeeping for the mortgage company for over 12 years, and she does all of the bookkeeping for the media company as well. And since we rely on Amazon for distribution, they handle shipping and fulfillment and send me sales reports. All I have to do is compile the data on which I have sold. It is wonderful.

How are you improving your business?

I work every day on improving the business. My focus this year has been taking advantage of new social networking and digital marketing technologies – I manage our website, our Facebook, our Twitter and our LinkedIn. My mother has written three books herself this year, and I updated the writing course and published it this year as Writing for Today. When I am not working on the mechanics of getting these books ready to print, I am working on getting reviews for them and letting the audience know that they are available.

What are your future plans for your business?

In 2012 I want to write a new novel about Smart Growth and the impact of government regulation on the lives of ordinary people. We have also planned a new sequel for The Fourth Kingdom which we hope to have out by next Christmas. And Mother is working on her own novel, The Warrior, which tells the story of a prayer warrior who intercedes for 20 years for a young man she has never met and shows how her prayers change all of their lives.

I called the company Frontier 2000 Media because I envision that one day we will be producing more than just books – we will be producing movies and video. Our company’s motto is “A relationship with Jesus Christ is life’s greatest adventure.” That is really the theme of everything we write – being a Christian is a wonderful gift and a wonderful adventure. We want to help other people come to faith so that they can experience that adventure for themselves.

What advice do you have for other authors about being a business owner?

My advice to anyone who is reading is very simple.

Point 1: If you have a dream that just won’t go away, chances are good that God put it there. And if He did, He will bring about a time in your life to make it a reality. Don’t get discouraged; just wait. And when the time comes for that dream to become a reality, don’t be afraid to move forward. Step out in faith.

Point 2: Whether you are going to publish yourself or use a traditional publisher, treat your writing as your job. Don’t just rely on someone else to promote what you are writing. There are lots of great avenues available today which don’t cost anything but your time. Take advantage of the resources available through social networking to promote your books. Work on building your brand every day.

Thank you, Alexandra! What a wealth of priceless tips for authors. Check out Alexandra’s fiction, The Fourth Kingdom and The Twelfth Juror, as well as her memoir, No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned Me a Master’s Degree at Age Sixteen. Follow her Facebook page to see what she’s up to next! We wish her continued success as she continues to grow her businesses.

Have more questions? My book, Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, is a great resource for all authors!

Carol Topp, CPA


One Comment → “Author to Business Owner: Alexandra Swann Part 2 of 2”

  1. Barbara Boatright

    12 years ago

    Alexandra, Thank you very much. You are a great inspiration for all of us. Carol, I’m so glad I found you. I especially needed the information on expenses I had before I published. Barbara Boatright, author of Impaled on the Horns of the Devil, The Development of Vulnerability to an Abusive Marriage https://barbaraboatright.authorsxpress