I began my first career in 1993 in the field of marketing. I graduated with a bachelor of science in marketing and management. During the same five-year period, I worked for a number of companies providing value through my marketing expertise. I also learned through new experiences and observation, mentorship and by collaborating those who came before and after me.
After I achieved my degree and my first five years of experience, I sought new markets to leverage my abilities for greater pay and growth opportunities. Over the next 10 years there were many highs and lows, but by 2008 I had a decade of new experiences and talent in my field and a master’s degree in management and one in business administration/marketing/e-commerce.
I was kind of a big deal when the Great Recession hit. Unfortunately that made me unemployable when the company I was working for as a marketing manager shut down.
After 15 years, the Great Recession ended my first career.
As an over-qualified professional in a horrible job market, I was forced into independence. I began writing business and marketing articles for content mills, blogs and e-zines. My first assignments paid just $5.00 per article, but after several months I was able to command $15 – $20 per article. I was busting my ass, working twice the hours and making half of what I made in corporate America.
But, I was making progress.
After a few attempts and a lot of self education, I wrote and published my first book titled: How To Beat The Hell Out Of Your Competition With Customer Service. After self publishing and several months of dismal sales, I dug into the nuances of marketing digital and print books in 2009-2010.
Unfortunately, I found most effective strategies were too expensive. So, instead of marketing the book to make money, I used the book to market my expertise. To date, I have given away hundreds of copies, but I have secured employment, consulting contracts and venture partnerships using my book as a marketing tool.
Write On Press:
When I self published my first book, independent authors were not as widely accepted as they are today. So I decided to publish under a brand instead of my own name. I registered my LLC and began Write On Press. Between 2010 and 2012 I had several other aspiring authors seek out my new brand and ask me for help publishing their book projects.
Now I wasn’t just a struggling author and consultant, but a struggling publisher too!
I published my first client in 2012 and about 30 others since then. I have also turned away over 200 authors in the same time.
Using only my experiences as a benchmark, the major difference between the 30+ authors who have published through Write On Press and those 200+ who were turned away is that very few authors seem willing to do what is necessary to build their writing careers.
When I wanted to become a marketing professional, I trained and sought out mentors, paid for education and learned from mistakes. I expected to have to do the same thing with my writing career.
Of course the literary career I envisioned was sidetracked by a need to be of service to my brothers and sisters in the literary community. However, even as a publisher, I am diligent to continue to educate myself and grow in my expertise and professionalism.
The Bottom Line:
Look, it might be too late for me to avoid being preachy, but here’s the bottom line:
As a consumer, you expect actors and athletes, singers and movie directors to be experience and well trained before you commit your dollars to support their careers. Unfortunately, about 8 in every 10 writers who request publishing services from Write On Press think all they need to have is enough talent to cleverly string together a few sentences and they are going to become the next literary legend.
It does NOT work that way!
As an independent author, you need to educate yourself on:
- How to craft and promote your brand (not just your books),
- How to network professionally,
- How to contract effectively,
- How to build a support team,
- How to price, promote and distribute each project, and
- What tasks you need to outsource and how to do that within a budget.
You have to learn these skills to become a balanced professional author in the literary environment of today.
The simple fact is that as an author, you are not an artist! You are an entertainer! You are selling entertainment products. That means more than just being able to write well.
Stop thinking that all you need is a finished manuscript to be great. Train, learn and grow every day. Commit to your career and don’t buy into the con that after you get your manuscript on Amazon or some other platform that you’ll automatically become a success. That’s not how the literary industry works.
Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you were able to advance your career and professionalism.
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Until next time, keep writing!
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