Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Making money as a writer

Today we're going to start to talk about making money as a writer.

One of the reasons I focus so much on looking at Writing as a Business on my blogs and lessons is because that was the one idea that completely turned EVERYTHING around for me as a writer.

I hope it will do the same for you too.

To start out, let's brainstorm.

What are ways a writer makes money?

I'm sure the most obvious is by writing books. People look at famous writers and assume there is HUGE money in writing. It is true that a person can make a living as a writer, but it isn't simply a matter of reading a book. There is a great deal that goes in to the writing and, in truth, it is SLOW money.

I am not bashing books by any stretch, this is an important part to your overall plan as a writer, but it must be viewed as a piece of the writing puzzle. I will deal with this topic in depth starting tomorrow at my new Mentoring website. It is available as a free blog on the homepage. I hope you will go check it out.

Books should be looked at as a single piece of your overall plan to make money as a writer. This all comes down to streams of income. As a writer income is quite unpredictable and so you must have money coming from many directions to balance the feast and famine that comes with the writer's life.

There are other elements as well that work together that create a cohesive writing business that provides income consistently-and without working CONSTANTLY.

As I've said before, as a writer you want to be consistent, not constant. There need to be ways to earn repeat income. There also need to be ideas to spread the word about your books as they are published.

Consider how you will make money between books. Many writers I know work on the side as public speakers, teachers, editors or any number of other jobs. Most writers work a full-time job and write their stories on the weekends.

So consider your goals.

Also consider how much money you need to make. Chip MacGregor [a literary agent] had a great blog the end of September where he discussed his formula for success as a writer. If you haven't already, go read it.

What is the topic of your story? Who would like to read it?

From emails I've received I know some of you were born in one country then moved to another. I know some of you have overcome great adversity to get to where you are now. I also know that there are a number of you who have really funny experiences to share with others.

Take the things that make you unique and start to share them with other people. That is why I'm such a big fan of blogging after fighting for almost 3 years. I realize it is a great way to connect and dialog with people.

So how will these different things help you make money as a writer? I'll give you a quick example.

Let's say you are from the US and you currently live in France. You decide you're going to write a Romantic Suspense about a woman who travels to France with a tour group and gets separated in a remote area of France. While there she meets a handsome man. [there is the Romance part]. but he has someone trying to kill him [the suspense part].

This is an amazing book full of twists and turns and heart stopping action. Let's assume it sells and you are paid $7,000 cash advance on it. Before you jump on a plane with your 4 kids and 2 dogs to go to Disney World stop...that's not all your money.

You will need to take a good chunk of that to keep aside for marketing. That is why I post so many ideas on marketing on this blog. Read some of my archives to learn more about them.

Then you'll also need to establish a website if you don't already have one. Then you should put some of that money in savings to use in the lean months.

So what do you have left?? Not as much as you started with, for sure.

But you can start to earn that money back, while increasing your sales numbers.

First, you write a few articles. You write an article for a travel magazine about the remote French setting for your book [which is where you happen to have spent 3 summers]. You pitch it to the US as well as some of those great "In Flight Magazines".

Next, you write an article about being an American living abroad [with all of its unique challenges]. And you have this published back in the US.

Then you go visit the Mayor of the town in your book and tell him about this book featuring his town. You get an article put in the newspaper showing you autographing a copy of the book and handing it to a smiling Mayor. [When I was an exchange student I got to meet the mayor of the town I stayed it. It was really cool.]

So let's say the first two articles earned you $150 each plus a byline. You're doing pretty good. Now go blog about it. Tell all about meeting the Mayor and what that was like. Invite your readers to pre-order the book.

Then go online to see if there is a group of American's living abroad that you could go speak to. Take some of your books to sell and offer to autograph them there.

These are just a few ideas on one project [if you are marketing your own book now I'd love to work with you to help create a program to market your book. Click here for more details.] I use this example to show that you don't have to live in a particular location to market your book effectively.

I also want you to see that you can write on many topics from your central book, even if you write fiction. Finally, I want you to see how a multi-pronged approach can help you not only make more money with your book sales but create other streams of income.

We will continue to expand on this and, as I said, I'll deal with this topic in more depth on the blog on my mentoring website: If you haven't been over there to check it out, you should go over there. Many of you have taken advantage of the free download as well as checked out the new WritingCareerCoach product [a 37 page single-space report on Creating a Platform].

So I hope to see all of you at the new blog as well. See you tomorrow.

HIGH...the ongoing story

Well, this will be the last HIGH. There were so many new adventures that came once I attended that first conference. Suddenly people were seeking out my advice for writing, content editing, and marketing. It was a whirlwind of activity. I was teaching people how to market their writing, judging writing contests and entering others. In July I won the Daphne du Maurier award with my unpublished Manuscript "A Face in the Shadow". The contest is put on my the Kiss of Death Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. It was such a huge honor.

With writing each new honor opens a new door. I was beginning to see doors fly open fast and furious [and yes, some flew open right in to my face!!]

In my entire story of How I Got Here the one thing that I learned through it all is there is no such thing as FAILURE in the writing life...unless you quit. Each rejected manuscript helped me to improve my writing, each published article gave me another byline, Every small victory inspired me to try again.

If you've learned nothing else from the series of HIGH blogs I hope you will learn that you are on the right path!! Writing is as rewarding as it is frustrating. I've had articles assigned to me [for pay] on the same day a manuscript was rejected from an agent. I've had people scoff at my products the same day others wrote to tell me how their desire to continue writing was confirmed by something I said in my product.

This is a highly subjective business and in order to survive in this business you need to work on a few different things at once, and you must continue to fail forward [See my posting in 2007 with that title].

So to wrap up HIGH Find a mentor, learn the writing Craft, Believe in your ability to write, and realize to make money as a writer there must be a number of income streams. I'll see you all tomorrow here and hopefully at my other blog too.

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