by Sarah Tun
I recently had a chat with a colleague who was feeling a bit low about their current lack of book sales. We’ve all been there! It prompts me to share this with you…
Writers need income, which rarely comes from the books they create. With so many books on the market and so many writers, focusing on book sales is not the best way forward to ensure sustenance or to build optimism. One clever woman, Joanna Penn, not only writes stories, but she also writes about writing, and is an ideal example of how a writer can earn an income from her writing, both directly and indirectly. She gives on-line talks about writing, using her books as evidence she knows what she’s talking about. And she networks with others in the business, who have complementary skills in marketing or technology. In other words, she’s a writer who has diversified in order to earn a very healthy five-figure income.
So how do we solve the income dilemma? In 3 words: we develop multiple income streams.
There are several ways to earn an income, which spring from writing but which may not be through the direct sale of books. In addition to book sales there is:
- Speaking: The topics you write about or writing itself provides a basis for sharing your expertise, and offers earning potential.
- Coaching: Today, whether on-line or in person, you can develop an audience through support of others who desire to write. Whether you coach one-on-one or in a group setting, your knowledge and expertise are worth GOLD to many starters. Helping would-be authors develop their writing skills by sharing yours is both generous and lucrative.
- Developmental or structural editing: Copy editing may not be your cup of tea (it is painstaking and requires knowledge of a variety of standard notations, spellings and grammatical structures that you may not be totally familiar with), but you may be a natural developmental editor and not know it. Do you attend writers’ groups? Are you the sort others look to for detailed feedback on the plot or character development in their stories? Or do you perhaps find it inspiring to help others to fine tune their copy, to deepen their prose? You can turn this talent into an income stream by offering your services professionally.
- Self-publishing & Marketing: if you are self-published you may already have learned the ropes in publishing or marketing. Many before you have entered the web with their skill set, offering free webinars as a calling card, conveying who they are and what they know. Today, on-line opportunities abound, which means you can tap into the worldwide market with your skills.
- Your books are your business cards: First and finally are your books. What you write about as well as how well you write offers others a window into who you are and what you do… and how well you do it. Your books are living proof that you are who you say you are, so in fact, they are even better than business cards! Be sure folks can find a means to contact you; identify yourself inside your book or on the cover, with a web page, a Facebook identity, an address. Be sure to make it easy for people to contact you, so your expertise can be hired.
Today is the first new day for your business. Happy Diversification Day!