Six years ago, I made contact with a very special young man at Write On Press. He was assigned to be my Author Services Representative and I honestly had little faith in how he could help me design a career selling my stories. Inside the first 20 minutes of conversation, I remember him saying, “I hear you saying that you want to create a book that sells, but do you have any reason to create your book other than to make a buck?”
I paused to consider the question. Never had I really thought of anything other than selling stories that would free me from my eight-to-five. That freedom could only be purchased with revenues from sales. I asked him, “Sweetie, what are you getting at?”
He told me to define what success in my literary career looked like if money weren’t an issue. I’m still slightly ashamed to say that I was at a loss. I ended our session with a homework assignment to define success in my literary career.
I called in for my scheduled weekly appointment and was actually excited and anxious when my ASR greeted me with his yummy baritone on the other end of the call.
“I’m ready for you today,” I said after the standard pleasantries had been observed.
“Okay, give it to me.” We tended to flirt quite a bit.
“Success for me,” I began,” is being able to express my sensuality, freely and openly in my prose.”
“Okay, is that what you did with your first book of stories?” he asked.
“Yes,” I began to whine a bit, trying to make him feel my pout through the phone, “and the readers who bought my book loved it, but I’m not making nearly enough to quit my day job.”
My ASR asked more questions about how writing made me feel, about how I wanted to make my readers feel, and we found that my only frustration was with generating cash from sales. In our next session, my ASR suggested that I give my books away for free. I almost died.
Then he explained that if I made an affiliate arrangement with a few adult toy and lingerie websites and used my e-books and print books as ad platforms, I could continue to write how I want without worrying about the money.
To date I have given away more free copies of my work, have more fans than I could have imagined six years ago and make more money than I thought I ever would.
I guess it’s all about understanding why we write; and money just isn’t reason enough. Getting my work out there without concern for the cash was really the key to my success.
As you move through your individual journey, keep in mind that having a focus on the transitory won’t get you where you want to go. You have to be about providing real value, giving your readers the experience they lust for, and making them feel something. The money will come naturally, but only if you relax and let it happen.