They laugh, they cry, they go through a whole range of emotions when reading your works, and they’re your audience. If you want more of them lingering around your blog, hanging on your next book release, then you’ll need to be a quick study of their behavior. Granted, your audience-base will never be 100% predictable. However, there are some commonly used tactics to retain your fiercely loyal cult-following.
Consider Your Store a Circuit
Circuits don’t quite act like circuits unless they’re closed. When your reader habitually returns to your store for more books you’re doing it right. Readers will circuit through your store when you present value that incorporate their habits. Such is the reason for niche markets.
If your work doesn’t have potential in a niche marketing, then you’ll still want to consider specializing your product for a particular reader base. If you’re writing fiction, then the themes and character development in your story-telling indicate your market. Be mindful of the demographics you connect with when you’re the marketer of your own product. Make sure you know where to find these “biggest fans” online.
Regardless of what software you’re using to manage your sales it’s important to have a method for measuring band wagon fans. Short term readers don’t give you an honest forecast of your career. They create deceiving bubbles in your sales charts. Not to say they’re not valuable. The more the merrier!
The point here is that short term readers navigate to your store because of a recently launched promotions or because a “spy” leaked that their favorite character is going to die. “Leaking” information to people that are able to tell thousands of people about their findings is also an invaluable marketing tactic for any fiction writer. Remember, readers jumping on board for any reason other than enjoying the style of your writing or the subject of your book series are fun for now – but don’t count on them next month.
Measure Economy of Readers
The interesting thing about highway traffic reports is that they don’t tell you anything about particular drivers in a traffic jam. Any car is replaceable by another in the value of the report itself. A traffic jam from one year might even appear identical to one in another year. It’s a useless report if your goal is to identify the drivers moving through traffic. Your web analytics are going to present a similar scenario.
Knowing what volume of your following is organic, and what volume is the results of short term marketing is invaluable. There are a variety of CRM’s out there to pick from. Several self-publishing services like Amazon and Notion Press also offer volume-analyzing tools. Readers that have downloaded your app, followed your social media, or subscribe to your email newsletter can be counted on as reliable platform. They’re the ones that are going to react to your latest releases first.
Listen to Social Media for Promo Opportunities
Remember those pesky bandwagon fans that riddled your analytics? Well they’re actually amazing fans to have and you’ll want to make room for those fans in your campaign.
One of the easiest ways to get reader feedback is to run regular contests. Find a contest schedule that works for schedule whether it’s once a week or twice a month. You’re going to have to judge who wins after all. Popular contests on on fiction writer profiles show fans demonstrating costumes of their favorite characters. Non-fiction writers, especially in weight loss, will run contests requiring followers to post pics of their progress.
Whether you’re a natural Shakespeare or a merely passable writer the future of your career hangs on being a financially responsible writer. Aside from logging invoices and saving copies of work – regular goal-setting and simple math can keep you in business. Here’s a few quick fiscal tips to keep you writing instead of counting outstanding balances:
Respect Your Anticipated Minimum Cost
You’re not like other businesses. You’re a freelance writer. Nearly all your business expenses come from the same cost of keeping up your home: mortgage, internet bill, computer maintenance, etc. If you’re writing as an only source of income then don’t forget to include any student debt, credit card dues, even loan balances and interest.
Even if your debut in the industry is in its infancy; don’t let employers talk you into being paid less than the minimum required to keep your life moving forward. Don’t let beginner-mentality count your starting pay.
Some bloggers will direct new writers to low-ball their entry-price to get attention from clients. That strategy may be worth running if your goal is to get your first ratings and reviews, otherwise stick your original financial outline.
Adjust Your Profit Margin
Freelancing, like most things worth doing, comes with a healthy dose of risk. The most consistent pattern of the writers market is that it’s consistently changing. Everything from formatting, to sourcing, right down to which publisher’s in business is subject to change any day of the year. All of which, can have an effect on your income.
Proofing your income for change requires diversifying your clients, and over-shooting your goals. Keeping all your eggs in one client’s basket is never a smart move. Trickle income from multiple sources so you still have momentum if one goes south.
Keeping your lifestyle dry on the shores of chance require you to keep a safe distance from the tide. Set yourself up to make at least a few hundred dollars above the cost of your lifestyle on a perfect month. That margin will soften the impact when life inevitably bumps into the details of your work life.
Save Taxable Information
Needless to say, every one of those invoices belong in a dedicated folder. Receipts and statements for internet, computer maintenance, and software all turn into tax write-offs, which the self-employed are entitled to. Even travel expenses for research can return as good tax-karma.
These tips aren’t going to full-proof your career. Quality will always be king of the market. The better your writing the better your payout, and the easier it will be to manage your budget. Creatives belong in environments where hours can be poured into the originality and impact of their content. Getting there isn’t easy, and neither is the stress that comes with financial independence. Just keep calm and follow a smart plan so you can enjoy more time doing what you love.
Modern writers waiting weeks for their next assignment often don’t know how to turn editor criticism into profit. New writers frequently miss wide margins of opportunity by neglecting follow-ups, and not considering rewrites. However, frequent and competent communication is your best tool to keep yourself employed. That’s because editors are agents of a business requiring them to coordinate a broad array of writers with different skill-sets into a cohesive brand. Demands on the editors time and focus are steep. Often editors may come across sharply. But they don’t have time to sugarcoat or sometimes even explain why something compromises their style-guide or brand-voice. It’s up to you to decipher the enigmatic thoughts of these publishing gods if you want to get paid. Here are some important points to keep in mind when receiving that dreaded rejection email:
Don’t Complain Because an Editor Rejected Your Work Due to Personal Taste
It comes with the career. The whole point of their job is to exercise personal discretion. To protect the voice and image of their publication’s brand, and it’s direction. Sometimes that editor is the brand! Especially if you’re working for a blogger or small business owner. Don’t pity yourself because the “powers-that-be” want you to “jump through hoops.” Learning to appeal to the preferences of individuals or small groups is the name of your business. Your success as a writer primarily comes your ability to perceive critical insights about your writer. Treat style-guides like your religious-text. When they hit with you with criticism that’s not in the style-guide, amend your copy to include it. Which brings us right next to our next section:
Log Every Critique to It’s Respective Client
The first thing I do when I acquire a new client is create a folder for them on my desktop. They’re clearly too important for the Documents folder. Inside of that folder I’ll create three more folders. Drafts incubate in the first folder awaiting judgement day. Whether they are accepted or rejected will decide which of the other two folders they go to next.
Paid submissions honestly don’t tell me as much as rejected submissions do. I write headers on rejected submissions with my editor’s name, and a summary of his criticism. My amendments to client style-guides are categorized depending on the subject matter of the criticism. This makes it easier to reference when needing specific information about client grammar-preferences, or the direction your client is trying to take their publication. Remember, all feedback is good feedback. Editors aren’t sitting there waiting to tear apart another writer’s dreams. They’re usually rushing to meet deadlines of their own. Not to mention, the expectations set upon them by readers – and their own superiors – are very high. Editors need the most finished-quality work they can publish. Help them help you: and you can expect an ongoing stream of assignments.
Never Turn Down Rewrite Opportunities
Half my rejected submissions are saved with simple rewrites. Most of the time editors can’t publish a work due to minor errors. Sometimes, they’ll cut or add to work themselves. Other times, they can’t be expected to manage your work-load with their own. Especially if entire sections of your article need to be redone. The enhancements usually aren’t rocket-science. A simple grasp for the subtleties of editorial writing will take your work a long way.
Most importantly, don’t forget to proofread! Sending in your submission with even a quick once-over is an easy way to turn-off a writer to your work. You’ll save yourself the trouble of most your rewrites if you glance over your draft at least once looking for basic errors.
Adapting to a rapidly changing industry is a professional skill that will help you excel nearly anywhere. Versatility requires careful attention to detail, professional emotional management, and reasonable time management. Understanding that your career is not about the easy 15 minute write-up is the first preconception most writers need will abandon to fit in with the mold of lifelong writers. Whether you’ll have assignments to support your lifestyle is dependent on your ability to build meaningful relationships, and meaningful content.
You build meaningful relationships by anticipating your client’s needs, communicating clearly, and expressing you clearly understand what’s needed. This requires researching your client before submitting a cover letter. End all of your communications with a question to keep them engaged. Reply to emails promptly, and with finished-quality work. Look at every communication with your client as an opportunity to offer professional empathy. Show you understand the urgency to produce material relevant to their audience while meeting the demands of their superiors. Adapting to your audience is the smartest way to turn editor criticism into profit.
Fiction writers interested in opening a career in e-book writing will need to learn how to develop short-story characters. That is, if they’re interested in making this career a reality sooner, rather than later. Quitting your job and putting all your time and effort into a full-length novel would eat more time than most could afford before bills are due. To begin trafficking a sustainable commerce, you’re going to need shorter e-books released more frequently. Short stories for 90 cents it is! Now you need the reader to pay attention, because your protagonist is going to transform – due to highly-relatable-human experiences – in 20 thousand words, go!
Scheme the Pace of Your Story
One strategy is writing e-books with chapters following the character by the hour, or by the day. It’s more than a solution to your writing schedule. It’s an excellent way to shutter the pace of the story and build anticipation to carry your reader to the ‘About the Author’ page at the end. I recommend typing each chapter draft in one sitting. It helps frame the written snapshot of your character’s development and gives your itinerary an easy commitment if you make it a habit.
Plot Your Turning-Points
Jot down your favorite parts of the character’s role in your story on a map. Beneath them, write a diary using the character’s hindsight. Here, you’ll be highlighting the turning-points that define the character’s image.
After reviewing your chart take note of opportunities to flesh out unanswered questions. Questions like, ‘who is the protagonist? Who is he becoming?’ And, ‘how did he get there?’ are opportunities to add value to the character.
These are the highlights of your story and can be easily incorporated into your book description. It’s critical that these chart-entries follow the same formula for a headline: subject, angle, hook! Subject is what happens to your character during the chapter. Angle is your protagonists changing perspective. Hooks are the unexpected or ironic elements that make me want to read the next chapter. Every chapter should end with them. Your hooks for these turning-point chapters, however, should reflect the peak of your creative talent.
Plot Your Connections
Initially you wrote a list character-diary-entries reflecting on a turning-points in their life. Now you’re going to punctuate the spaces between turning-points with connections your protagonist makes with other characters. Start with the relationships that impact the character’s personality and progress. Then add details that support the story as they become relevant to your creative-cannon.
After you’ve followed the aforementioned charting, you’re looking at a writing schedule you just made for yourself! Write out the chapters in the order outlined above, and order them for publication later. This is a creative way to adjust your focus to the parts of your character that make it memorable. Of course, writers will want to include chapters dedicated to other characters and events that influence the story. Nonetheless, knowing how to develop short-story characters will back the composition of your e-book.
After you’ve published your first novel online you may be asking yourself how to write e-books faster. It makes sense. Write more e-books. Sell more e-books! It’s basic business sense and it can make the rhythm of your writing life more enjoyable. Follow these easy tips on how to write e-books faster for a sustainable long-term writing career:
Be Realistic. Write a Short Format E-Book.
Depending on your genre of specialty you’ll opt for a format that fits your niche. Bloggers tend to choose an extended list-format because it’s easy to adapt the same voice from their blogs. Include the more useful bytes that can legitimately help your reader reach a goal. This is a style of e-book you can exhibit on a page alongside the rest of your publications: expanding on different angles of your niche.
You might even consider releasing one chapter of your e-book at a time, to keep your readers coming back. Since chapter-length publications naturally have a smaller price-point and a faster release-schedule I’d recommend offering it concurrently with your full-length works, and weigh their value yourself. You may prefer only chapter-length releases if you only write fiction and/or personal works that can draw a recurring audience.
Collectible quote-books are also a useful method of adding value to purchases as a free bonus to their cart, or as a cornerstone for your brand-image. Friendly gestures, like free e-books, for signing up with a blog subscription is a classic maneuver to bring buyers back to your site when they get the mail. Given that quote-books can take a more personal tone you might consider positioning this work as a cornerstone of your blog’s voice. It’s very similar to list-type e-books, except your headers would be quotes containing insights to messages your brand agrees with, and why.
Remember to Regiment
There’s no replacing commitment to a stable writing schedule. Most of the people failing in the writing industry are failing because they don’t write regularly. You’re not likely to make a living from writing unless you invest a nearly full-time effort into your writing. At the birth of your career expect to write 5 thousand words-per-day minimum, just to maintain momentum. Writing just one book leaves a lot of money on the table. A frequently updated library of e-books frequently has a higher return on readership.
I use productivity apps, like Any.do and Evernote, to manage my time and organize my notes. Creating realistic habits – like 45 minute writing sessions broken by 15 minute breaks – fosters a natural writing environment. More importantly, you need to commit to actually writing during your writing sessions. Unless you’re writing fiction, minimize the time you spend researching by keeping an organized list of links to credible sources relevant to your subject.
Develop an outline for brainstorming to cut cost to your time. Take a formulaic approach to your titles and headlines separating the subject, angle, and hook to make content production fluid. Keep logs of all your ideas and sources, whether you like them at the moment or not. It will serve as your only creative reservoir beyond creative-commons. You never know when an old thought may fit perfectly into a new idea.
Broaden Your Distribution
The most important point of your e-book writing career is launch day. It’s going to tell you in plain math what works for you and what doesn’t by sampling all of your opportunities. On day 1 your book cover needs to be on Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Outskirts Press, and Notion Press as a minimum expectation for your own exposure. Take all of the free opportunities you can, but paying for premium self-publishing services can make your income livable sooner.
As your income stacks, measure the value of each project and judge which platforms are worth your time and effort. Your social media following will tell you what markets want more, and which e-books they’re enjoying.
Knowing how to write e-books faster is key to to producing your own career in the self-publishing industry. It isn’t impossible, but it will be difficult for a writer with a weak sense of commitment. Developing this skill requires you to assess the value of your writing career. Unless you’re prepared with a responsive audience in the millions your profit margin is going to come from the growth of your own production and marketing.