Selling Your Writing
The emphasis here is on selling. If that doesn’t happen quickly enough, writing for its own sake, while it can be fun, runs out of generating steam.
So mostly what folks want to know is, if they are going to do all that research and writing and editing, how can they get paid like professionals do? That is, how can they reliably get back returns that justify the time and skills used?
Let me share some proven processes that seem to work, since from them I have paid my bills for decades—and got two sweet daughters through master’s degrees. But it took a while to get them to work reliably!
At first, I just wrote and sold anything that came to mind: fiction for kids, greeting cards (lots of funny ones), crossword puzzles, jokes, articles about almost anything that interested me, and now and then some travel. Thank God I worked for CARE, taught school, was a college dean, and filled in with a numbing assortment of back-bending jobs that needed doing, including night stocking at 7-11, janitoring at a grade school, and working 2000+-degree ovens and oil dipping vats for a steel hardener.
Then I stopped and tried to figure out how I could trade words and the scant knowledge I possessed for a solid paycheck. (I scoured all the writing books I could find, but none helped.)
I decided that I’d focus on two or three things I really liked.
Travel was number one. I’d studied in Brazil, lived in Colombia and Ecuador, knew Mexico, and took every chance to visit what was worth telling others about wherever I was living in the U.S. I wrote travel articles for newspapers and magazines, then sold reprints and rewrites widely, and from that I learned the selling process, a sensible marketing approach, and how to study the target markets and give them what they bought!
I then took that process and read everything I could about the key writing steps and tools, particularly query and cover letters, reselling, and how to plan trips to extract the maximum selling yield from them. With that I approached the larger magazines--like Better Homes and Gardens, The Lion, Travel Magazine, and Holiday— and I refined some general article selling techniques, pretty much by diligently selling!
Along the way I backed into offering four-hour extended education seminars, mostly at colleges (and most of those in California), where I concentrated on the things about writing for money that nobody else was talking or writing about. I gave as many as 120 programs a year, and from those programs I wrote a dozen selling-driven writing books, which in turn created cores from which I could cross-sell my other skills and products, like consulting, teaching, reports, audio cassettes, and audio CDs.
It became obvious to me that regular big-house publishing, with very rare exceptions, was slow, unreliable, and low paying. So I intently studied niche publishing (almost nothing was in print), and, as computing developed, so did the potential of printing limited numbers of niche-focused books for pre-tested markets. That was the third and most fundamental area of specialization I developed, I wrote a how-to book about it, and from that I put together the processes of empire building (about which I then wrote three related books!)
By good fortune (marriage) I slid into the dental field, and for many years my publishing company (started with a tiny converted retirement payout in 1982) was directed at producing standard operating procedures books for dentists, plus an array of related empire-expanding products by print and other means. (Currently, I publish books for K-12 administrators, principals, and teachers. And I offer a free monthly newsletter to writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers, mostly about empire building.)
All of which says that selling your writing (and speaking) can be fun, a reliable income font, and can help you (in a wee way) change the world a bit for the better—and get paid to do it!
How can I help you right now do any of these things?
Or just go up or down that list to see where your needs and my experience overlap, and there you are!
You can also go to the order form and link the various products listed, which will open up specific web pages with more information, covers, tables of content, and often a chapter or two of free peeking.
Pay particular attention to the empire-building sections because that’s where my help is somewhat singular (hard to find elsewhere)—and as you develop one or another of the means (an article, a seminar, perhaps a book) you can quickly double or triple the income of that and the related products by wisely marketing them together.
Oh yes, seriously consider my free newsletter too.
Written for writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers, “Create Your Own Highly Profitable Empire!” now has many thousands of apparently pleased recipients each month. And all of them, just for signing up, received three free, very useful reports that are immediately downloadable. Some daring souls even peek at my new blog, where I post about three times a week.
P.O. Box 845