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What Hurricane Katrina Can Teach Authors

By now, you are heartsick and tired of looking at the images of the horror and devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, if you are an author and self-publisher, it pays to look at this disaster as a wake-up call.

Just for a moment, image that a disaster stuck YOUR home. What would happen to your writing and to your business? Could you keep things going if you had no electricity, no internet connection, or no phone service? How could you continue to sell your books, even if you were unable to get online to process orders?

There are several important steps all authors and self-publishers need to take immediately to ensure that your books and your business are protected from natural disasters, fires, and unexpected events like plumbing leaks or computer meltdowns.

* Your number one priority should be to create several back-up copies of your manuscript. You might burn it onto a CD and store it in a safe deposit box. Send a copy to your mother or friend who lives out of state. Another option would be to consider generating a private blog where you can immediately access your work from any internet connection. For a costless accomadation check out www.livejournal where you might set up a totally private blog. Another option is www.blogger.com but blogs there might be accessible via blog rings.

While your printer will have a copy of your manuscript, it will be in PDF format so that you will not be able to make any changes. I suggest saving both a PDF and Word document of your completed books and a Word document of any works in progress. Do not lose your memory to have a back-up copy of any cover art as well.

* Check your insurance policy to ensure that it covers your inventory of books. Many homeowners policies do not cover inventory for a home based business. Ask your insurance agent to ensure that the books you have on hand would be protected in case of fire, flooding, or other unforeseen damage. Keep an up-to-date inventory of books so that you could be compensated in the event that you absolutely need to generate a claim.

* Back up your computer. Purchase a back up system or subscribe to an on-line back up accomadation . Your records of customers, book purchases, and tax understanding are priceless. If they we are lost, it would cost you unending hours and many dollars to rebuild them.

* If you do your own shipping, create a back up-plan. Research fulfillment houses, virtual assistants, and the shipping options that your printer may provide. In the event that you are unable to ship your books for any reason, you will still be able to serve your customers and contruct income if you have a back-up plan in place.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does reading this article scare me because I understand I am not adequately prepared to protect my books and records?

2. What steps could I take today to start protecting my books and records?

Nobody likes to ruminate on disaster preparedness. However, spending a few hours now following the steps in this article will give you the peace of mind that you will be able to continue writing and publishing your books no matter what unforeseen event may come your way. That peace of mind is worth its weight is gold.

After youve taken some steps to secure your manuscripts and your publishing business, why not build another donation of time, prayers, cash or clothing to help Katrinas survivors? They will be needing our support for a long instant as they seek to rebuild their lives.

Who knows, you may just find something to write about in the process!


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