Do you think at the right level of your business: writing?
Story. I was at a writers group meeting this past week and as we went around the room we gave our name, what we were writing, and what our day job was. About half of the people were writing already, the other half of the group had little knowledge as to writing or the process of writing and were there to learn. This was great as all of us start somewhere and are at different stages of growing. Me, I’ve been working at writing my first book for over six years and still learning myself. I’m now starting a second, shorter one and putting the first one on hold for the moment.
However, of the writers that were willing to write, half wanted to write non fiction the other half fiction. No problem here, we all want to learn about writing and have different tastes and talents. But here is when it gets interesting. One of the writers there said that they did not like to work with non fiction writers as they were “arrogant.” Why would anyone state such a thing? If you were running a business, such as being a publisher, and you stated that something like that you just lost half of your potential clients! That’s your choice, but what if one of the people there wanted to work with you, a publisher, and were writing non fiction, this person just cut them off. To be so negative to beginning writers showed a real lack of empathy on the part of someone that is “in the know.”
I personally like non fiction more than fiction (I really like science fiction), but I won’t stop or discourage a fiction writer because they like to do it, it’s just bad form. I would certainly not shut people down if someone wanted to do something that I did not want to do, but I would at least point them in the right direction as to who to work with to get them toward their goal.
Break: New ideas about writing for a living. When I first started writing my book six years ago I had considered the more typical avenue: write the book, get a publisher, then do something else. I would have taken one thing off of my life’s To Do list. About two years ago I watched an online video about writing and was blown away by my then current way of thinking. The author stated that anyone can become an author and make money, but it was not the book that was the kicker, but the multiple streams of income FROM the content you were creating. From your content you can produce:
- Audio books
- Boot Camps
- Speaking engagements
- Offline book sales
- Online book sales
- Memberships to web sites
- Paid Newsletters
This blew me away as I had not considered that I could do more than just write something.
Having seen that online video it reminded me of seeing the movie “Educating Rita” about a young woman dissatisfied with her life and decided to get an education. The one line in the movie says it all, “Getting an education gives me a choice!” Learning something new gives you a choice, whether you take the other option/path or not.
If you are a writer, what kind of writing do you want to do? Whether it’s fiction or non fiction, any of the above ideas can be applicable to what you intend to write even though you may not think it can be done. I assure you, writing romance novels can turn into a whole list of products/services for other people. Same goes with the above products that can come from any content that you create!! It CAN give you a choice of doing more with your content. It gives you a choice.
And, you don’t have to wait until your first book is done to consider other avenues of making money.
After I had heard about the various ways of making money from my content I could not stop thinking about these ideas. It also got me to thinking about my book in general, beyond just the writing of it. I began thinking of more than my writing, but the business of my writing!
Story. Now, back to my story about my writers group.
While not everyone may WANT to do the above variations of writing, such as some just want to write their stories and keep writing. That’s OK, but to “restrict” the exposure of these early writers of what they COULD do with their writing, in my view, a bit disheartening to see this happening to beginning writers.
One of the beginning writers last week said she want to write about coffee. Because I’m an idea person (see the About Me section) I saw tons of possibilities with her idea. She had multiple ways of getting her content out in multiple formats, i.e. more than just a book format. This takes her original idea of a book and gathering information and breaks it into a number of different ways, IF she so chose to do this. Rather than taking notes on her laptop, she could video or audio record the conversations and make MP3s out of them and have them transcribed into text for her book. She would not have to write a thing, but let the conversation write the book for her. See how ideas can change your original impression of how you want to do things?
While being a writer may be about creating “art” in what you write, not always do average writers, including me, create art with our writings. Writers that create “art” are at the highest level of writing talent. There is nothing wrong with being an artful author (such as a George Steinbeck or Mark Twain), but some writers such as Richard Kiyosaki of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” fame stated that he wanted to be a bestselling author. Others just want to be an author and nothing more, and that’s OK.
Business of writing. So, as a burgeoning writer, my business is about writing content and to see if my writing “gets legs” of being able to produce multiple books from my content, but also multiple streams of income from it. Same goes with any other business idea. This is an essential idea here. If you are considering writing just one book, look beyond your first book and see what the possibilities COULD be or writing more. Same with your business idea. Even though you can only think of one book/idea, see if there could be more.
So, the business of writing mean it’s about marketing, sales, and the growth of your writing. It’s about the various channels to market your book, the various connections with your audience, etc. Writing is a large part of your writing business, but not the only part. If you are a beginning writer, writing should occupy about 80% of your time and the other 20% should be about learning the business end of writing.
Can you see multiple ways of making money from your writing/business idea? Can you see the potential? This longer term view can help with how you are doing your work today. If the young lady above only saw the writing about coffee, which if she was not exposed to the other ideas, could you see how limiting her potential was? Withholding ideas from someone at the beginning is not different than stopping progress and growth.
Our job on earth is to get to see each others potential and to maximize it with encouragement from others, not the controlling or squelching of it by others.
Here’s a link to getting more out of your writing: 5 ways to make writing more fun
So, what are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions to add to this?
Update 07/06/2009: If you think you have to be an expert at something to write about it, check out the book Maternal Journal by Matthew Bennett, he was neither married nor had any kids when he wrote this book. All he did was he wrote accurately and filled a market need. It’s about filling a need with a quality product. Creating a book/podcast/etc you now become the expert!!