Earlier this year Roberta Grimes called us to order some copies of her books. She is the author of the Letters from Love series and the novel Rich and Famous. She’s also the author of the novel My Thomas: A Novel of Martha Jefferson’s Life, originally published by Doubleday in 1993 and reissued by Wheatmark this year. I answered Roberta’s phone call. “Bookstore, Sam Henrie, how may I help you?” She was surprised that the company president was taking book orders. Roberta said she’d imagined I’d be in my office thinking about the business—conceiving the next killer book marketing strategy, pondering the writing of the great American novel, or planning a leveraged buyout of Random House. But, I was taking book orders.

I like taking book orders. It keeps me in touch with our authors, especially at the times when they release new books, start new marketing campaigns, or hold book events. I also enjoy managing book inventory, shipping, and print buying. So, for the last couple of years I ran and manned the Wheatmark bookstore almost solo.

In spite of liking the work, I recently turned responsibility for the bookstore over to Mindy Burnett, our amazing new marketing specialist. Why? Roberta’s remark highlighted something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late: If I want to improve Wheatmark, I need to spend more time working on the business and less time working in the business. And, manning the bookstore definitely counts as working in the business. Now I have more time to work on projects that make Wheatmark of more value to you, and help us grow.

It was The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited in its current edition), one of the best-selling business books of all time, that popularized the idea that most business owners need to spend more time working on the business and less time working in the business if they want to succeed. The E-Myth story is also a perfect example of how a single book can be leveraged into a successful career and much, much more. Gerber followed The E-Myth with over twenty books in the E-Myth franchise from E-Myth Mastery to The E-Myth Physician. And, Gerber established major consulting and training companies, michaelegerbercompanies.com and emyth.com, based on the principles set out in The E-Myth. I highly recommend reading The E-Myth Revisited and studying Michael Gerber’s career.

As an author, do you find yourself working too much in the business (writing) and not enough on the business (marketing)?