Monday, March 11, 2013

The Business of Writing I


Investing in Yourself


A fellow writer sent an email to me and recommended a web-based marketing training program. I checked it out. Twenty dollars a month. I passed. 
What? I've purchased construction equipment for over a hundred thousand dollars, bought investment houses and I'm balking on a paltry twenty bucks a month? That's the life of a writer. 

Why are we so cheap? There are a number of reasons:

1.) The payoff is distant to invisible. When will the conference pay off in book sales and paychecks? The answer is nebulous. It's difficult to part with money with an uncertain return.
2.) The payoff is paltry. I understand the average writer makes around $5k a year. Is the money spent on a killer website worth it?
3.) Writers aren't entrepreneurs. They are risk adverse. All the risks occur in their stories. 
4.) Writers don't need the money. It's true, they have a spouse bringing in the cash, have a paying job, or are retired with some income. Seriously, they aren't hungry. 
5.) Writers aren't capitalists. Most write to make a statement, influence peoples' lives, or want the fame of being a 'published author' and it's good enough.

What should we do? We need to change our minds. First, do you call yourself a writer, do you believe you're a writer? If you don't then no one else will either. 

Just like businesses have budgets, you should too. How much should you spend a year on your writing career?  Only you can answer that, but it should be significant enough to aggressively move your writing career toward success while not being a burden to your budget or family. 

We need to invest in ourselves. What's your weakness? Writing skills? Take community college writing classes. Marketing? Invest in a website or blog. Connecting? Sign up for a conference. If you have a Phd in English, then you probably don't need to focus on education. What about your website or blog? Probably a good move would be to prop up your weakness. Perhaps you've procrastinated on attending a conference until you're completely ready. Even if you're not ready to pitch your book, you can take numerous classes, meet and connect with people, and perhaps find someone who could listen to your pitch of your book. Maybe it's time to overcome fears and join a writer's group. 

Another aspect of changing our minds is to consider the money spent as money invested. Sometimes entrepreneurs will pour money into an investment for years before seeing returns. And since they are risk takers, they also invest with the daunting specter of getting nothing in return. Are you willing to take a risk on yourself? And are you willing enough to consider investing in yourself, even if there's a chance there's no return? 

Perhaps I'll take my own advice and invest in the web-based marketing program. What's the worst that could happen? I'm out twenty bucks a month.  



Another aspect of changing our minds is to consider the money spent as money invested. Sometimes entrepreneurs will pour money into an investment for years before seeing returns. And since they are risk takers, they also invest with the daunting specter of getting nothing in return. Are you willing to take a risk on yourself? And are you willing enough to consider investing in yourself, even if there's a chance there's no return? 

Perhaps I'll take my own advice and invest in the web-based marketing program. What's the worst that could happen? I'm out twenty bucks a month. 

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2 comments:

  1. Always good to count the costs. I've invested in some paid ads and paid to have my books part of an online book club choice, but like any investment, you have to take the time to be part of the process. The real investment is following through on the dollars with hours.

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  2. Double check with your accountant--a lot of what you invest in yourself, even if you haven't published yet, is deductible off your income tax.

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