Category Archives: Learning and Development

Ten Reasons Why You Should Develop Your Business As A Writer

There’s a lot to be said about how to develop your business as a writer, as this blog demonstrates. From time to time it’s also worth thinking about why this is an important task.
 
 Here are ten reasons why you should develop your business as a writer.
 
Of course, there will be lots more you could add to the list.
  1. These days you need multiple income streams. Jobs are less safe than they once were and the income from savings has plummeted. Therefore, you need to make sure you have eggs in lots of baskets as far as your income is concerned.
  2. Once established, a self-employed income can be more predictable than a job income. When you’re managing your own business, you are in control. You build your business and you build your customer pipeline. When you see a gap in the flow of work, you do something about it.
  3. The golden age of retirement is behind us. Retirement ages are rising. We can all expect to work for longer in the future.
  4. Running a business as a writer is an aid to learning and self-development. You have to keep learning to ensure you have new things to say.
  5. Learning and development helps you to broaden the scope and reach of your business.
  6. Over time you could become an authority in your niche. This will add to your status in your field and enhance your earning potential.
  7. Your writing can open up other opportunities: in speaking, in consultancy in blogging, in coaching and mentoring . . . and many more.
  8. Your business success will help to build and sustain your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth.
  9. You can help others via your writing.
  10. Whilst you’re building your business you’re earning. That’s great news!

 

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Faster Learning

Tips and hints are always useful when you want to develop your skills and abilities.

Learning from an expert is also a good way of learning quickly.

With the next post I’m starting a new thread of support on this blog. 

It’s all about learning from the experts.

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Promoting yourself as a fiction writer and as a non-fiction writer . . .

The promotional challenges you face are quite different when you write fiction from those you face when you write non-fiction. Yet, in both cases you need to think about your image and your personal brand as well as your writing.

When you promote yourself as a writer of non-fiction the chances are you’re promoting yourself as an expert in something. Perhaps you have written articles about aspects of your book or books. Maybe you write a blog about your subject, or speak at conferences, or work in the relevant industry.

Your key messages are likely to be:

“I know the answers.”
“You’ll be interested in what I have to say on this subject.”
“I can help you to solve your problems.”

And that’s what you need to do through your books.

When you promote yourself as a writer of fiction, you’re selling something else.

You’re trying to sell to someone the idea that you’re a good storyteller.

There is a problem here. There is no agreed definition of what makes a good story, let alone a clear statement about what makes a good storyteller. There are also lots and lots and lots of novels out there, so how can you differentiate your novel from all the rest?

Don’t think you can just talk about your book. Every one has great things to say about their books. You need to give people other reasons for taking an interest in you.

If you start to say that you’re a good storyteller or a great writer of romance, it’s more difficult to prove your case. Of course, track record is important, but every one has to start somewhere, so think about other ways of enticing people to read your work.

Maybe your messages about yourself are to do with your age and your experiences. Maybe you live in the same area as your target readership or where your novel is set. Maybe your background is similar to that of your target readers. Maybe you have an interesting personal story to tell.

And lots more of the same.

In order to succeed you need to think about your image and the personal brand you are creating whatever you write, because this is part of your sales message.

What’s more, it’s never too soon to think about this aspect of your work, so don’t neglect it whilst you are writing your great work.

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Promoting yourself

Most writers don’t like the idea of promoting themselves.

They don’t want to tell the world how good they are at anything.
If someone else tells them they do something well, they are often uncomfortable about accepting the praise.

In business you need to adopt a different tack.

  • If you don’t say that you do a good job, why should anyone else?
  • If you don’t say your work is excellent, why should anyone else?

If you don’t write that press release or agree to do that interview for the local radio station to let the world know about your personal success and your vision and your passions . . . will anyone else?

Most writers don’t go in for self-promotion. They are somehow embarrassed at the prospect of doing so. Many writers prefer to stay in the shadows and to let their works speak for them.

They don’t like to think about promoting themselves and they assume their publishers will promote their books.

Well, publishers have limited funds to promote books and authors – as noted in the previous post.

Additionally, you know best what image you want to present to the world. You know how you wish to project yourself into your marketplace – or if you don’t, it’s time to get started.

Here are two questions to help you to know yourself better.

  1. If I didn’t do what I do, what would be missing in the world?
  2. If a journalist asked me to define myself in a single sentence, what would I say?

We ask these questions – and quite a few more – in our workshop for writers looking to build their business.

Try them out for yourself now.

Next time: what’s the difference between promoting yourself as a writer of fiction and as a writer on non-fiction?

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Selling your books

Assuming you’ve already had some of your work published, then you will know that publishers, these days, have limited resource to promote their titles.

It’s important you build a relationship with the marketing manager at your publisher’s headquarters pretty quickly so that you will know what your publisher can do to help to sell your work.

You will probably find that he or she has a limited budget and a big list of books to promote. It won’t surprise you – at least it shouldn’t, if you’re in business – to learn that marketing people will spend their precious resource where they think it will produce the best results.

This means that established writers with a track record and a following are more likely to get a bigger slice of that resource than you are. Therefore, you need to help to market your book.

Why?

There are two very important reasons.

The first is all to do with your royalties. If you help to sell some of your books, then you will get a monetary return on your investment.

There’s an even more important reason.

If you want to stand a chance of a publisher taking on your next book, then you need to be able to prove that your work sells.

This is all about being in business.

So you need to learn about self-promotion. This means you need a website. You need a blog. You also need to learn how to write web copy that your potential readers might like to read.

You need  to think about why people should buy your book and you need to promote that message.

You need to write articles about the subject matter of your book, especially if you write non-fiction.

You need to write articles, even if you write fiction, because you want to promote your work.  You want more and more people to know about your work.  People need to be aware of you and your work before they will buy what you have written.

You need to how to link your book’s content to topics of interest to specific groups of people. Is your novel set in a specific location? Could you write about that location and why you chose it as your setting? Could you write in a local paper or magazine in that area?

Could you write articles about the topics in your book for a range of audiences? I write books on self-help and personal development and growth. I also write features about continuous professional development specifically for teachers in the magazines that they read.

You need to allocate time and a budget to this activity because promoting your works and yourself is what a businessperson who writes will do.

Learn the basics of promotion and do something to promote your work every week.

Whenever your book was published, it needs you to take an interest in its success.

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Fast Learning?

People who know my work and my background know that I am from the world of learning. My business is built around training. When I was employed I worked in the learning “industry”. I still write for a number of journals in the education world.

Learning is the key to successful business.

Successful business is built around one of the key action learning premises.

You need to ensure that your personal learning keeps pace with the rate of change in the environment in which you are working.

Every one talks about changes in the world of technology and communications.

Some people just accept that change is taking place but don’t, themselves, take action to keep up with the change.

In all business areas – including the world of writing – those changes mean that people who write also need to spend an amount of time on their learning. I’m not talking about learning about how to write. I’m talking about learning how to run your business successfully.

The next few posts will deal with some of the issues and some of the things you need to keep up with, if you’re going to improve your chances of success.

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