Malik Sharrieff

Authorship is a Vocation not a Vacation!

The Back-story:

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.

Starting over:

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.

 

If you need additional direction, contact us at: authorservice@writeonpress.com to book a session with a publishing consultant.

 

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

Make time for writing!

To say that the world we live in is hectic has got to be the understatement of the century!

If you’re like most of us, with already busy schedules you’re probably saying, “How can I make time to write?”

With all of the responsibilities we have as adults it does seem impossible to make time to write in an already busy day. Once we get beyond our already packed schedules lie all of the distractions of family and convenient entertainment. Sometimes, we’re just plain tired!

However, the truth is that if you make the choice to pursue a goal that you really want, you will make the time to go for it!

Part of the reason we struggle with making time is because we know that it’s a huge undertaking. Writing a manuscript isn’t like writing a letter to a friend.

Completing your manuscript requires dedication, research, creativity, and last but not least time (and a lot of it). So when time is an issue, how do we conquer it?

Break it down into smaller segments!

Attack your writing project as if you were eating an elephant… one bite at a time!

Chop the project into more manageable portions and schedule their completion. Then, stick to the schedule!

Use whatever small window of opportunity you can grab until you can get your manuscript finished. If you have thirty minutes while your baby is down for a nap, take it!

An hour while your son is at soccer, take it! A lunch break at work, take it! Take your computer with you and write on the train on your way to work. If you’ve only got a couple hours every Saturday, then reserve them for writing. Even better, record your prose on your phone and then use those few hours you have to transcribe what you dictated earlier.

You’ll be surprised at how much you can get accomplished if you are creative, dedicated and efficient with your minutes.

Remove from your mind that you need huge blocks of time in order to write. A book is not written chapter by chapter; books are written one word at a time! If you change the way you look at the project, you can change the way you schedule your production.

Think about it like this… even if you write for thirty minutes you’ve advanced your story. Do that enough and you’ll see progress!

As long as you keep moving forward, eventually you will get to…

~ THE END ~

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you were able to use your time more efficiently to complete your latest project.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

Why Does It Take So Long To Write A Book?

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of people who’ve written a book in 30 days. You may have even wondered why it’s taking you so long to write a book.

Can I let you in on a secret…?

Being able to churn out a book in 30 days is a rare talent. It’s even more rear to be able to produce anything that a publisher or a reader would consider quality in 30 days or less.

For the majority of first time authors it takes longer because there are fundamental aspects of writing you must learn first. Then, once these fundamentals are learned, it takes more time to master them. It’s only with this mastery that a writer is able to produce quality, faster.

As a publisher, I can tell you that writing your book(s) faster MUST NOT be your goal!

Instead focus on these production basics:
  • Strengthen your imagination: build your capacity to create so you can do so at will. You can produce much quicker if you aren’t waiting for inspiration to come,
  • Develop your writing skill: practice with short stories and flash fiction or articles (for non-fiction writers). Be ready and able to craft characters, conflict, climax and closing (or resolution). This saves loads of time with rewrites and revisions,
  • Take control of the schedule: You determine how you will spend your 24 hours each day just like everyone else, allocate specific times for writing and work that schedule like a job. Once you master the point above, you will be much more productive during writing periods and you will be able to plot your book’s ETA,
  • Develop a support team: writing a book isn’t all about the manuscript, get reviewers and copy editors in place before you start your next project. Make sure you have a publishing plan and that you have your production budget set aside or planned for before you start you next project. These concerns are major distractions and can easily derail a project.

 

It doesn’t have to take forever to write a book if you know the steps to take.

This is your dream and it’s worth the effort!

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you were able to increase your production speed.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

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