Author Management and Personalities

Updated: Jan 12

One of the biggest things I learned while coaching authors through a pandemic was that different personality types do things differently. I already knew this. What I didn’t know was how to coach them and manage them into successful situations.

So, I did what I do with anything else I come across and don’t immediately understand. I researched, analyzed, tested, and finally honed a few techniques.

What Are Personalities?

A personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that make up a person. This can be everything from how a person meets and creates friends, or deals with family, or how they learn. What I’m most interested in is how their personalities affect their work.

Personalities Dictate Careers

One of my authors surprised me this year. We’d been working through her career as her life basically exploded around her. We had invested a great deal of time into managing her health, finances, and living situation so she could carve time into her schedule to write.

And one day, out of the blue, she messaged me, asking me if I thought she wasn’t suited to the writing business because her personality wasn’t geared toward it.

That got me to thinking. Why would anyone think that?

When you Google anything about how personalities can help you succeed in work, they focus on how each career needs certain character aspects. I reviewed my own careers and realized we’d been conditioned to expect this to the extent that in one company, all the project managers did have the same four-letter personality designation. We were all INTJs, the Architect.

If you think about what we do as authors, you’d realize that the idea that only certain personality types can succeed in this field is a silly one. Even with “cookie-cutter” outline beat sheets, each book is different. The characters are different. The narrative, the voice, the story approach. They’re all unique because each of us brings a wild uniqueness to the story-telling experience.

But management is a part of the successful author’s toolbox. What happens when the personality isn’t one that is good with management?

Management Vs Personality

I think this is why so many authors believe that creative types can’t be managed or why they can’t manage themselves, why I get so much flack for pushing authors to learn project management when I should be teaching marketing or outlines. There are some personality types who are practically born for management—like mine—and others who really are not—like my husband’s.

Or so it seems.

When you look at what’s important in building and sustaining an author business, you quickly discover that book production is the biggest part of a successful business. That means that managing that production is the number one most important thing you can learn in order to succeed.

If you’re Sentient personality and thrive on to-do lists and checking them off, then management is relatively easy. If you’re an Analyst, you create the perfect system that works for you and you monitor it.

But what if you’re a diplomat? Or an explorer? You don’t do to-do lists. Those are a complete waste of time. And there’s no need to create a system to help you “manage” your production. That’s just a long-winded way of describing a jail cell for your muse to die inside.

Here’s the real truth: if you manage like someone else, that’s when you get yourself into trouble. Anyone can manage their productivity. Anyone can manage their business. Just don’t manage the same as someone else. Find out how you work best and then work toward that.


So, here’s the challenge for you: take the 16Personalities quiz and figure out what personality you have.

Read the report and see what methods you might want to try or test-drive now.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be discussing different ways I’ve learned to all the personality types manage their author business. There are no reasons for failure here.

There are only excuses to succeed.

Other management articles you might enjoy!

Time Tracking Tools for Authors

Change Small, Big Difference

The Working Harder Mindset

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