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Anyone watch Scorpion on CBS Monday night? The Christmas episode where everyone starts feelin' the season when a child is trapped in a cave with the water rising? In the course of the show, Katharine McPhee's character (I don't remember her name, we always call her Katharine McPhee) says that her son only wants one thing for Christmas, something called I Want an Alien for Christmas. Later in the episode, he gets it! And it's a book!
Well, I was on-line by the time the closing credits were running. I Want an Alien for Christmas appears to be a self-published book available on Kindle and Smashwords. Except for those two sales pages and its placement in Monday's episode of Scorpion, there doesn't appear to be any marketing for it.
What's particularly interesting about this situation, assuming this book turning up in an episode of a nationally broadcast television show is interesting enough for you, is that the author, Nick Santora, is also the creator of Scorpion. He's written for other TV shows and has written another book.
You'd think that a couple of mentions in a network primetime show would create some buzz. But two days later, I'm still seeing next to nothing about I Want an Alien for Christmas on-line. The book is mentioned in a Forbes piece, but that's from back in September.
Have you seen the Seinfeld episode where George accompanies his girlfriend to a funeral?
It’s post-wake and everyone’s at her parent’s place noshing on hors d’oeuvres and sipping punch. George finds himself in front of the potato chips, so he takes one, sinks it in the dip, takes a bite, and dips the chip again; much to the annoyance of his distraught girlfriend’s brother.
A knock-down, drag-out fight ensues before the very upset girlfriend kicks George out.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a double-dipper.
And why not? It’s the only way to really enjoy that French onion dip and get the most mileage out of your chip.
Freelancers should be double-dipping too. Not their chips (unless they’re into that sort of thing), but their writing.
Double-dipping is a golden opportunity not enough freelance writers take advantage of.
So how does double-dipping work in the freelance writing world? Here are five easy ways.
1. Sell reprints.
It’s been published once, why can’t it be published again?
How to do it: The first thing you want to do is make a list of publications that cover the topic of your article. Then, check out their website and writer guidelines to see if they accept reprints. If you’re not sure, ask. Send the editor a friendly email telling them about your article and why you think their readers would be interested. Ask if they’d like to purchase it as a reprint.
Not all publications accept reprints…but that doesn’t mean you can’t reuse old content.
How to do it: First, find a market that covers your topic. Go back to your research notes and interview transcripts, and write a pitch that covers a different angle of the story with publication #2’s audience in mind. If you quoted someone in the first article, paraphrase in the new one. Where you paraphrased, use quotes. Include information that didn’t make it into the original article.
Keep in mind: You may want to consider doing some additional research in case things have changed, or find one or two additional sources. But the work load is going to be a lot less than what it was the first go-around. Only this time you stand to earn the same amount of money… maybe even more!
3. Send pitches in batches.
When you come up with a brilliant idea, don’t save it for just one publication – share the love! There are tons of publications with audiences that would love to know more about the topic you’re pitching. It’s just a matter of re-framing each pitch to fit a variety of publications.
How to do it: Let’s say you’ve got a great story idea about traveling with babies. Of course parenting magazines would be interested, but so would travel publications, women’s glossies, maybe even custom publications for baby product companies. As you’re doing your initial research and collecting sources, think about what these various audiences would want to know and how/why they could use this information. Tweak each pitch to suit each market.
Keep in mind: Unlike the tactics above, here you’ll be writing completely different queries and completely different articles for each publication. While parents would want this information to help them in their travels, a pediatrician might want this information to help her advise parents who wish to travel with their little ‘uns. A women’s magazine might want to provide tips on how to have a smooth flight for travelers finding themselves on a plane with a baby. The difference is, you do the research once and get multiple articles out of it.
4. Send simultaneous queries.
The idea here is to send the same query for the same idea to editors at multiple publications. When you send out a query, you could wait months — or even a year — only to have the editor respond with a resounding “no.” Sometimes editors take a really long time to respond to queries…if they reply at all. Rather than wait around for them to get back to you and risk having your idea become stale or already-been-done, cast your net wide and find that article a home ASAP.
How to do it: This one’s easy — find a bunch of publications that fit your topic, write one query, and send it out to editors at all of those publications.
Keep in mind: You may have more than one publication show interest in the article. However, you cannot sell the same article to more than one publication. In this case, it’s a first come, first served thing. But don’t let those other publications go home empty-handed. Offer them the same story, but from a different angle. Or pitch them a few similar ideas instead.
5. Once you’ve got ‘em, keep ‘em.
The thing about queries is they can get a “yes” or a “no” or be met with silence. There’s not much you can do about the third instance, but you can turn a “no” into a “yes.”
How to do it: An editor might turn you down for a number of reasons: the timing’s off, someone else has already covered it, they’re not interested in the topic, they’re having a bad day… But just because they say “no” to one idea doesn’t mean they’ll say “no” to another. If they’ve emailed you back, you’ve got their ear. So take advantage by replying with a “Thank you for getting back to me. I completely understand. Perhaps [insert new idea here] would be a better fit?”
Keep in mind: That you suck as a writer or the editor hates your guts is rarely if ever a reason for a rejection. Odds are the rejection is based on factors you have absolutely no control over. If you get a response, thank them, tell them you get it, and offer up a new idea. This shows that you’re persistent and not just a one-idea dude. Then send the rejected query somewhere else.
When you have a chip — er, idea — get the most mileage you can out of it by double dipping, and you’ll get more assignments (and more money) with less work.
Tiffany Jansen is an American freelance writer and translator in the Netherlands. She is also the author of an award-winning children’s historical fiction series. You can find out more about her at www.tiffanyrjansen.com.
P.S. Carol Tice’s and my next Article Writing Masterclass starts in January, and we have THREE editors on board to critique your homework assignments and answer your questions: Current editors from Redbook and FSR (Full Service Restaurant) Magazine, and a former Entrepreneur editor. In this 10-week class, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to land lucrative article-writing gigs. Learn more and read raves from students on the Article Writing Masterclass website.
I’ve been staring into my crystal ball and trying to foresee what 2015 holds. I keep staring and staring but I can’t seem to see anything. A good clean job might do the job…ehm…nothing. I don’t think this is working.
If you know me, then you know the above scenario and a crystal ball would be the last thing I’d be staring at. I think sometimes, we want people to predict our future and lay it on a plate for us. The sad reality is that (like the saying goes) if it’s to be, then it’s up to me. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking of what I want to achieve in the coming year, especially with regards to my role as a children’s book author. I would like to write four books next year. Below are the David Chuka titles hopefully coming to your book shelf sometime in 2015.
Kojo the Sea Dragon Meets a Stranger – After the overwhelming success of Kojo the Sea Dragon Gets Lost, I just knew I had to write more stories with Kojo and his friends from the Zakari River. Below is a review from a reader:
Such a vivid and colorful tale for such a simple, yet important lesson; listen to your parents. The illustrations are vibrant and imaginative as are the characters. Kojo the Sea Dragon Gets Lost is a very fun read!
In this episode, Kojo and his friends plus everyone in the Zakari River is looking forward to the BOOM BOOM festival. It’s a time of fun, dancing, singing with lots of food. Everyone in the Zakari River gathers in the town center and there are performances by different groups. Kojo is looking forward to doing a special dance with his friends. The day finally arrives and Kojo is having so much fun with his friends and is enjoying the sights and sounds. Then something happens with some yummy cake and an evil eel that makes Kojo learn something new about his world and talking to strangers. This will most likely be the first book I publish in the coming year, so watch this space.
Non-Fiction Book on Writing and Publishing Children’s Books – I get asked a lot of questions by people looking to write and publish children’s books and I think it’s time I crystallise all my experience into a book that get that can help other aspiring and established children’s book authors. Some of the topics I’ll be touching in this book will include working with an illustrator, doing research, getting reviews, social media, marketing etc. I’m excited about the challenge of writing this book and currently putting ideas together.
Billy and Monster Meet the President – Like my most recent book – Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas – I had finished writing this book in 2013 but due to challenges in finding the right illustrator, its release was delayed. I am quietly confident that I’ll be able to get this published in May and just in time for the Independence Day celebrations.
A Book about Thanksgiving – I’m not really sure what the story or characters will be but I do know that it’ll something based around Thanksgiving. I could either place Billy or Kojo in a situation where they learn something valuable about Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I could create new characters and tell the Thanksgiving story through them. Will provide more details later.
I’ll be visiting more schools in 2015 and looking to share my stories with more of my target audience. Thanks for all your support and do have a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2015.
I listened to a teleseminar by Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap recently. He has helped a number of heavy-hitters, such as Peggy McCall and Guy Kawasaki.
The focus of the call was on the differences between ‘rich authors’ and ‘poor authors.’
Of the differences Harrison gave, below are some of the most important.
7 Strategies and Tips that Successful Authors Use and Unsuccessful Authors
Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Claire Smith. You’re the marketing assistant at Walker Books, Australia, and you’re going to share your Christmas picks with us. But first let’s find out about you and some books you’ve been working with. Walker Books (based in Sydney) is known for its children’s and YA books. Which do […]
Today we welcome Kate Brauning to the blog to share a different type of craft article -- the rewards of doing the craft well. Publication! But with publication comes its own stress, and Kate is in a great position to tell us how to handle it as not only did her first novel, How We Fall, release this month, but she's also an editor with Entangled Publishing, guiding many other writers through their first release month and beyond.
Preparing for Release Month by Kate Brauning
Release month is almost always a hectic, stressful time for authors. As an editor, I’ve seen my clients go through it, and my first novel just released on the 11th, so I’m going through it myself! Especially with all the different opportunities and strategies available to authors now, it’s easy to get bogged down, worry about what you aren’t doing, stress over what you are doing, and lose the excitement of it altogether.
One thing seasoned authors kept telling me was that this one is special because it’s the first. Enjoy it. Do something for yourself. Celebrate in market-smart ways, but also celebrate in personal, zero-stress ways.
One of the things I did to personally celebrate my release week was to go on a weekend writing retreat with my critique partners. It was so, so much fun, and a great stress relief. I planned as if my release day was 3 days earlier than it was, so 95% of what I needed to do, I already had done. I took very little work on the retreat with me. Also, it was tremendously good stress relief to not think about the launch and get back to actually writing that next book. And of course, my critique partners are the ones who have been through this with me, and getting to celebrate with them was so meaningful and just plain fun.
Aside from celebrating for yourself, authors can do a few simple things to prepare for a book release that will make that week and month a little less stressful.
image credit: thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com
Get started on major marketing elements as soon as possible. As soon as you have a book deal/decide to self-publish, (or even before) you can get started on these things:
1. Author photos. Many authors have a friend take a photo, but there’s a big difference between a snapshot and a professional headshot. If you know someone talented, that’s great and definitely take the less expensive route. But first, look at the author photos of major authors in your genre and aim for that kind of result. Author photos are a significant piece of your marketing, and a great photo helps you look like a professional, and it might end up on your book jacket. It can take several months to line up a photographer, schedule the session, and get your edited photos back, so do this ASAP. I was interviewed by my own photographer, Jenni O Photography, where I discussed what I looked for in my author photos, so check that out if you’re interested.
2. Author website. Every author needs a website, even if you don’t blog. A site where readers can see your book and read a bit about you is definitely something you need as an author. You can design it yourself, but if you don’t have experience and talent there, hire someone. Friends who will cut you a deal can work out well, but again, look at the sites of authors in your genre who are doing well. See what’s possible for professional, clean layouts and informative, interesting content. Decide what kind of site you want, and then hire someone who can do that. Your website is another major piece of marketing, so to me, it’s worth spending a little money to have a quality website. Design, revisions, and launching the site can take a long time, too, so get started right away.
3. Street team. Many authors assemble a street team from fans, friends, book bloggers, and fellow authors. Not everyone wants a street team, and it’s important to be grateful, courteous, and reasonable with your team members, but they can be a huge help. Many authors have street team members get the word out through book blasts, reviews, and social media, and they can help word about your book break out of your own circle of friends and fellow writers. Start building that street team immediately—you can start this as soon as you have a book deal. Keep in mind street team members need to be able to reach people you can’t, so look beyond friends and family members, though they can certainly be enthusiastic supporters, too. It’s also great to let your team earn some value for their work. I sent each of mine a welcome package with swag and an ARC, and prizes along the way. It has definitely paid off.
4. Think about your dedication and acknowledgements. A lot of writers take a long time to get these done because they mean so much to the author. These don’t have to wait until your editor asks for them, and waiting to do them until then can make edits even more hectic, so you can definitely start them early. At the very least, you can start a list of who you need to thank and what you need to thank them for—don’t lose track of those early beta readers. And keep in mind there are a lot of people behind the scenes at your publishing house who are working hard for your book. It’s not a bad idea to email to ask who has been working on it, so you can specifically thank people besides your editor and publicist.
5. Conferences. Talk to your editor and publicist (or figure out for yourself) what the plan is for appearances and conferences leading up to and after your book release. Early-bird pricing and promotional opportunities are a great reason to get started on this early, and if you know you have a conference during a certain week, it can be something you plan your other launch preparations around. That way you don’t have to cross conference days off an already-full schedule. Conferences, even just for the connections, are wonderful marketing. I’ve never been to a conference that hasn’t paid off well for my investment.
6. Launch Party. There are so many options here! An in-person party, an online Facebook or Twitter party, a bookstore signing as your party, etc. As far as I know, those are the three main models, and they all have pros and cons. Online parties can be impersonal, and I’ve seen a lot of online parties that are poorly attended, even though hundreds or even thousands of people were invited. Authors work hard on their launch parties to make them have fabulous content, but it is really hard to engage a crowd online for a long period of time. They tend to drop by, learn a bit about you and your book, play a game, and then move on. And that’s great if that’s how you want to reach your readers. In-person & bookstore launch parties can have the same drawbacks—a small crowd, and difficulty reaching new readers. They can also be expensive, depending on what you do, and they are limited to people within traveling distance. Of course, there are pros to both—reaching fans who can’t travel to you and lower costs for online parties, and more personal connections with in-person parties, etc. I did a blend of both, and hosted 9 other authors at a livestreamed book party, so readers could ask questions, see, hear, and interact with all 10 of us. The combined draw meant we had a large audience, and we discussed everything from publishing paths to movie adaptations. Can you blend models to limit cons? Release vlogs during an online party, for example, or host other authors to draw on combined platforms.
image credit: http://jasouders.blogspot.com
Prepare for launch month events ahead of time. There are so many things authors can do: book blasts, blog tours, book giveaways, book hunts, library appearances, book signings, etc. Debut authors are often encouraged to say yes to much of it, but that can lead to stress and burn-out, and it can take a toll on that next book you need to be writing. So here’s how to keep it manageable:
1. My advice is immediately start researching the opportunities and identifying your goals.
What’s possible? Realistically—what will you have time and money for? Can you re-prioritize to change any of that? What are your boundaries?
What sounds fun? Ideas you’re enthusiastic about will feel like less work than ones you’re already dreading, and they’re more likely to get done.
What meets your specific goals for your book release? Some authors want the launch to build their platform, some want to push for ranking high on Amazon or bestseller lists, and some want a stress-free way to celebrate with friends and family.
See what’s out there before you settle on anything, and think creatively. Talk to other authors about what worked for them. Do you want a book trailer? Can you do something high concept for your launch party?
2. When you do decide what you’d like to do, and when someone comes to you with an opportunity, calculate the time and financial investment, and choose wisely where you’re putting your hours and money. Keep in mind it will almost always cost more and take more time than you’re figuring. Chose the things that sound fun to you, because they will automatically be less stressful and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate on them! Also, choose the opportunities that reach a wide audience or allow for deeper connections with readers.
3. Order swag/promotional items ASAP. Calculate amounts you’ll need, and as soon as you have the information and images you’ll need for on any paper products (like postcards, bookmarks, and business cards), order them. Printing and shipping can take a while, and rush shipping costs can be expensive. This is something that can be done early and stored safely until you need them. My personal advice is to not spend a ton of money on swag. Thick, professional business cards and bookmarks that won’t crease are a great idea. (As soon as it creases or crumples, people tend to throw it out. Moo.com does fabulous, high-quality work.) Swag can be expensive, especially considering how much authors make per book sold, so keep that in mind when you’re laying out your budget—calculate what you make per book, and balance that against the value the swag will provide. Some of it depends on the book, of course, but I went with nice business cards, postcards, and book pins. I haven’t found myself needing anything else so far, though I might do a mix of postcards and bookmarks next time.
4. Don’t leave preparing for a few weeks before release. Treat it a bit like wedding planning. Make a to-do list for each event you’re doing for your launch, right down to items to purchase and announcements to make, and figure out which items can be done ahead of time. Schedule them into a certain day or week on your calendar. For example, if you’re doing a blog tour, start writing the posts three months in advance. One or two a week means you don’t have to scramble and you can keep your schedule balanced. You can even write your release day post early and have it saved as a draft to make changes to as the event gets closer. If you’re doing a book blast/blitz, you can write that material far in advance, too.
This whole post is about stress management, really, but there are a few specific things you can do to help keep balanced and to enjoy your book release instead of dreading it.
1. Schedule R&R. And I actually mean plan it into your day. An hour for reading, an evening or two a week where you catch up on that show you love, time with your family and friends. You aren’t a machine, and if you act like one, you’ll break down. The most efficient, productive thing you can do during busy, demanding times is take care of your brain and your body. So rest well, eat well, and take that R&R. I’m not kidding. If I push myself hard a few days in a row with a stressful project, it takes me several days to feel like I’m functioning at 100% again. And don’t forget to schedule R&R for after your release—staying balanced will help reduce those nerves.
2. Disconnect. If you don’t need to be on Twitter or your email, close them. As it gets closer to my release date, I feel more and more bombarded by stats, reviews, emails, and questions. It’s overwhelming. Closing up email and social media frees up my concentration and lowers my stress levels. It can be tempting to stalk relatively meaningless rankings and count reviews, but don’t do it. Let yourself look once in a while if you have to, but several times a day or even once a day is usually both a time drain and a cause of stress.
3. Keep writing. One of the best things you can do for your book is to write another one. A new book is great marketing for the old book. Writing also lets us invest somewhere else, and helps us see that not everything hangs on this one book. And it can be fun and inspiring to keep working on a new project, and it can take our minds off everything about release day. Writers write, so keep writing!
About the Author:
Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She’s now an editor at Entangled Publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she'd want to read. Visit her online at www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning, and order How We Fall from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound.
About the Book:
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
Last weekend, The Toronto Star carried an article called Can You Afford to be a Writer? The situation it describes for writers in Canada is similar to what you'll find here in the states. "... most writers are not likely to break $10,000 a year from their writing." Articles like this should be part of the reading for any writing program. Maybe they are.
A lot of your traditional literary journals don't pay their contributors or pay only in copies. Some very highly regarded writers publish in these things. These are the journals whose stories are often contenders for awards. Having published with them helps get the attention of agents and book editors.The Internet has made possible a multitude of new on-line journals, many of which don't pay contributors. While many of them are new and newish and don't build reputations the way some of the older print journals do, they could serve as stepping stones to more publication in the future. Yet writing for them doesn't add to anyone's income.
Walton says in her post that "The proliferation of people writing for free in recent decades (by self publishing fee-free content or contributing work to non-paying sites) has definitely made it harder for those who write for a living to get by." Does writing for free, she asks in a note to her essay, "degrade the market for professional writers?" She links to Tim Kreider's NYT's essay (which I hope he was paid for), Slaves of the Internet, Unite, in which he talks about being asked to work/write for nothing. He's not the first writer this has happened to.
I can recall hearing something similar years ago about writers making appearances in schools. If some writers do a lot of free work, it undermines the earning ability of the writers who need an income stream from schoolwork . Because, as the Toronto Star article pointed out, they probably aren't making enough from their writing to support themselves.
But, at the same time, free work, as in publishing with established lit journals, has been a traditional way for writers to get exposure so that some day they might be able to get paid. Plus, the whole marketing issue throws a big curve into the question of whether or not writers should give their work away, because we're giving away enormous amounts of work for guest blog posts, interviews, essays, etc. when we have a new book coming. It's part of promoting that new work. We're advised to do so by book marketers. Marketing, whether it's free work or some other kind, is expected by publishers.
To be transparent here, about an hour ago I submitted a 700+ word guest post to a blog. I've never received payment for any essay I've published. I've generated a lot of free material for guest posts and blog interviews while promoting the eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff.The benefit to me of the promotional work is obvious, but even the essays fill a hole in my publishing history. I also hope they will serve as stepping stones to getting future essays published in paying publications at some point.
Free work can help individual unpublished or underpublished writers develop a following. At least it can help give the publishing industry the sense that these writers are a presence of some kind. But while individuals are giving away work hoping for some benefit for themselves, is the earning power of writers as a group suffering?
Have you ever been curious about what it takes to get your novel or series turned into a movie or film franchise? In today’s guest post, Robert Blake Whitehill, author of the Ben Blackshaw series, sheds some light on his experiences in getting his novels optioned.
As an award-winning screenwriter, I always hoped my Ben Blackshaw series of novels, including DEADRISE, NITRO EXPRESS, and TAP RACK BANG, might be considered for adaptation into feature films. You might have similar ambitions for your own novel or series. Ambition is the seed of accomplishment, but getting ahead of yourself, imagining the smell of the popcorn at the premiere—or worse, memorizing witty remarks and the list of all the Little People you’d like to thank after due homage is paid to the Academy—is only fun for a minute. There are other matters to attend to first.
One’s core responsibility, duty, and calling as a novelist are to offer great writing to your audience. Readers, at home or in Hollywood, must really enjoy the work. They invest seven to twelve hours of their lives in a book of average length. Thirty to fifty thousand of every reader’s heartbeats become yours. You had best not waste their time with offal.
That means writing and rewriting, and includes working with the best editors you can find. I had the privilege of working with Richard Marek, who discovered and shaped Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series into the blockbuster franchise we all know today.
Once your book is proven to resonate loud, hard, and strong with readers, with solid sales and resounding reviews, it is possible that Hollywood might call, but perhaps not right away.
Case in point: The Princess Bride novel was published thirteen years before production of the film began. Studios balked during that period even though The Princess Bride’s author was also an Academy Award-winning screenwriter with a terrific adapted script under his arm. For a while, Hollywood thought The Princess Bride simply could not be made. Rob Reiner and Norman Lear thought differently and never wavered.
Basics of the Business
For those with dreams of seeing their books up on the silver screen, a call from Hollywood out of the blue is rare. It is far more likely that an author and his or her team will need to help studio development executives or independent film makers discover the property.
I must first admit that all the films I personally picked up at Centerseat when I was Vice President of Independent Film Acquisitions were finished works, and absolutely none had been adapted from any kind of narrative prose or poetry. We know this is not always the case. Yet, from Gone with the Wind to Moby-Dick to The Guns of Navarone to The Princess Bride, books are adapted into film with unvaried frequency, though with varied success.
Agents can help with this strange form of business-to-business marketing. Many agencies represent screenwriters as well as authors, and packaging a book from its stable of authors with their credited screenwriters nets the agency more in commissions.
You can also zero-in on film makers with a track record of crafting movies that are like your book. The Hollywood Creative Directory lists more than 11,000 potential partners, and it only takes one to start the gears of the film industry grinding for you.
My hard-working public relations team at Shelton Interactive has really helped The Ben Blackshaw Series find its audience among readers. They introduced me to some notable film makers, who were willing to read DEADRISE when it first came out. I got some great advice from these Hollywood moguls about possible ideas for the scope of the series. Though an option did not result at this point, you will soon see I was wiser and better armed when I took the series, with its additional titles and awards, out again later. Quick piece of advice: Never look at money paid to great partners as a fee. It’s always tuition.
Rob Reiner and Norman Lear are household names and perhaps seem daunting to approach. Must you reach that deeply into the A-List to get an option on your book’s film rights? Perhaps not. Do not dismiss less-experienced producers who are passionate about your work. Passion, and even zeal, in combination with canny movie-making chops will carry a project through to a premiere despite the great odds arrayed against the novelist. Remember, the sad truth is that saying no is always the safest tack for a film maker. Saying yes involves the risk of one’s industry reputation, not to mention the potential loss of vast resources. A film needs thousands of yeses along the way. Great work paired with a passionate champion will keep the yeses coming. This approach certainly worked for me, as you will see here.
Larger studios have economies of scale working in their favor, and also in your favor as a writer. They can amortize the risk of one poorly performing movie across a broader slate including other films which might become moderate or breakout successes. If you write a series, you can offer (and a studio can afford) multiple titles at an attractive discount, which could be viewed by studios and savvy independents as a smaller slate-within-a-slate, also known as a franchise. With book adaptations, you must help any potential partner envision a film before there is even a screenplay.
From Book Series to Film Franchise
As my dear friend, creative consultant, and networking guru Joanne Zippel asserts, writers can mine interested readers with film-making connections from among their own contacts. The way she puts it, “Most people have better networks than they realize. You start by looking beyond the obvious—doing the right research to connect the dots between your work and the people most likely to share your creative aesthetic.”
On Joanne’s advice, I began reaching out to every film industry professional I knew. If they agreed to read something, I hit them right away with copies of The Ben Blackshaw Series books. I was extremely fortunate—the process did not take long. Through LinkedIn, I quickly reconnected with a classmate from Haverford College named Stephanie Bell. Like me, she had graduated with plans of acting. Today, she is a producing partner at HatLine Productions.
Thank goodness Stephanie Bell runs a lean shop. She and her producing partners, Michael Lipoma, and Tamra Teig, tend to check out their carefully vetted list of submissions to HatLine personally, without first getting recommendations through coverage from a development staff of readers.
Stephanie writes, “I’ve always been an avid reader (hence my BA in English Lit) and when I had the opportunity to read Robert’s first novel, DEADRISE, he was fortunate to have caught me at a place when I had time to read it (which these days is not a lot!). I was happy to do so, not only because he is a fellow Haverfordian, but because I knew his background and skills, and because he was generous to me when I reached out for help; I wanted to reciprocate.”
So encouraging of novelists, Stephanie goes on to say, “There is an incredible wealth of both fiction and nonfiction literature available today by both publishing houses and independently published authors, which makes the job for a producer much easier but also harder! I am always looking for fascinating stories, and the ability to connect to authors so quickly is fantastic. What is exciting to me is that there are so many amazing stories waiting to be discovered and brought to life on the big screen.”
Stephanie’s response to DEADRISE could not have made me happier. She writes, “I couldn’t put DEADRISE down, and the minute I finished, I called Robert and said, ‘I want to make this movie with you.’”
On Stephanie’s immediate recommendation, fellow HatLine producer Michael Lipoma said he would read the second title in The Ben Blackshaw Series, NITRO EXPRESS. Thank goodness, he agreed with Stephanie’s assessment of the works, saying, “NITRO EXPRESS is visceral and visual, and we at HatLine Productions couldn’t be more delighted to help Ben Blackshaw assume his rightful place alongside Jason Bourne and James Bond!”
Bond? Bourne? Wow! You can imagine this was incredibly exciting for me to hear. The crucial yeses were starting to become real for Ben Blackshaw.
That is when Stephanie asked to see the third book in The Ben Blackshaw Series, TAP RACK BANG. I was a moron. I hesitated. At the time, TAP RACK BANG was still in manuscript form. It was as yet unpublished, so no one else had read this book, meaning there were still no rave reviews to bolster the decision-making process at HatLine Productions. Taking a leap of faith, I sent the manuscript and found that Stephanie did not need reviews. As I said, she makes her own decisions based on her personal assessments.
She has written, “In TAP RACK BANG, Whitehill weaves together intricate story lines that will leave you reeling; another brilliant Ben Blackshaw adventure!”
Right after reading TAP RACK BANG, she picked up the phone again, and said, “I want to make the entire series with you—will you have me?!” As she puts it, “The friendship and partnership were born!”
After that call, negotiations began, and yes, today we are in business together. My friends at HatLine share my vision for The Ben Blackshaw Series. In our business and creative meetings I relish how we always speak with one another from a position of utmost respect.
One of the many happy terms of my agreement with HatLine includes that I will adapt the novels into screenplays myself. That prospect is wonderful! The road ahead will be long, but all the principals involved are marathon runners, not sprinters, and we will see it through. Then, you bet we will make decisions about popcorn at the premiere. We will have earned that much.
For anyone with further questions about this process, or anything else to do with writing, you’re welcome to email me at email@example.com. I will respond.
We are pleased to introduce the marketing team for the Commercial Law department at OUP. Chris, Simon, and Miranda work with journals, online resources, and books published on a variety of subjects which relate to the rights and practice of people in business. The resources they work with are used by practicing lawyers, academics and students, and cover a range of topics including competition law, energy, arbitration, and financial law. Get to know more about them below:
What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?
I’m Chris, the Marketing Manager for Commercial Law. I plan, implement, and execute marketing strategy for Oxford’s Commercial Law portfolio.
What is the best part of your job/highlight of working at OUP?
The people you get to work with are so much fun. There are some incredibly bright and talented people at Oxford, and I love making our authors and customers happy – that is a really great part of the job. Also, the variety – working in marketing at OUP means you get to try new and different things all the time, it’s a truly interesting place to work, and an exciting time to be in marketing.
Which three songs could you not live without?
Song for Zula – The Phosphorescent
Dream the Dare – Pure Bathing Culture
On the Sea – Beach House
What’s your favourite place in Oxford?
There are so many lovely places around Oxford, including Jericho, Cowley and the colleges, but my favourite place would have to be the walk round Christchurch meadow.
What is your favourite fiction book and why?
I have lots of favourites, it’s difficult to pick just one! I’m a huge fan of James Joyce so will pick one of his – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It’s debatable how fictional it is, but the language is incredible. Or Villette.
If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?
I’d like to think it would be Gryffindor, but in reality it would probably be Ravenclaw.
What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?
I’m the Marketing Executive for Commercial Law and work mostly on our book products, though I do also pitch in with our online products and journals.
What is the best part of your job/highlight of working at OUP?
The best part of working at OUP is definitely the people here. I’ve made a lot of friends and there are loads of friendly and creative people around (especially in marketing!). The best part of the job is the diversity. We have a lot of products and types of products, and we’re doing more and more exciting things with digital, content, and social marketing to promote them. We also still get to attend events and meet our authors and other lawyers.
What’s your favourite place in Oxford?
My favourite place in Oxford is the top of the hill in Raleigh Park for two reasons. One: I think the best view of Oxford is from above, with all the spires, domes, and old buildings. Two: I only ever go there when I’m out running and it means the rest of my run is downhill!
Who is the most famous person you’ve met?
I once walked into Paloma Faith on The Strand (not intentionally).
Which three songs could you not live without?
The End – The Doors
Mine for the Summer – by my friend Sam Brawn
Gone – Kanye West
Do you have any hidden talents?
Yes, but I’ve forgotten where I hid them.
If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?
Hufflepuff, because the name amuses me.
What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?
I am the newest member of the team, and recently started as the Marketing Assistant for the Commercial Law department.
What’s your favourite place in Oxford?
I’ve only just moved to the city, and it’s such a beautiful place it would be difficult to choose somewhere as a favourite. However, when I’m not hanging out with daffodils, I am a sucker for a good bar or pub, and there are some great places in the Jericho area of Oxford to mooch between!
What is your favourite fiction book and why?
My favourite book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, simply because I think it’s the perfect novel. I love how the book uses different perspectives through diary entries and a jumbled up time scale. It combines science fiction with a love story; it has violence; it has time travel; it has romance… what more could you want?
Who is the most famous person you’ve met?
I once met Judy Dench (Dame) in Disney Land Paris, she was all in white and looked very stern, but we spoke to her and she was lovely!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people have a first name for their last name… you can’t trust those people.
Which three songs could you not live without?
Ain’t no mountain high enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Take me to church – Hozier
Say you’ll be there – The Spice Girls (no shame)
If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?
I’d be in Slytherin, because green is my colour and just like Draco and Snape, beneath my cold, evil-seeming exterior, I actually do have a heart.
Featured image credi: Lady Justice, at the Old Bailey, by Natural Philo. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into work in our office around the globe, so we are excited to bring you an interview with Gemma Barratt, Marketing Manager for clinical medical journals. We spoke to Gemma about her life here at Oxford University Press.
When did you starting working at OUP?
I started working at OUP five years ago in the Online Products department as a Marketing Assistant. I worked on everything from Oxford Scholarship Online and the Oxford English Dictionary, to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Oxford Reference. I moved to become a Marketing Manager in the Journals End User Marketing team about a year ago and I now work on some of our major Clinical Medicine society titles.
What was your background before you started working at OUP?
I did my undergraduate degree in English literature and then a master’s in gender and culture. I originally planned on becoming an early years teacher, but was encouraged to do the MA instead and never went back! After my masters I volunteered for a number of arts festivals including the Cheltenham Literature Festival and Larmer Tree Festival, and ended up doing a six month marketing internship with Salisbury International Arts Festival.
What drew you to work for OUP in the first place? What do you think about that now?
Following my internship I knew I wanted to work in marketing and I was attracted to OUP because of the size and reputation of the organization, and that’s still true. The work ethos of OUP is something that I really value and if you like working with passionate and driven people this is certainly a good company to be in.
What is your typical day like at OUP?
My typical day is busy and challenging. It can include anything from recruiting new members of staff to troubleshooting issues raised by societies, working on new bids to training — it’s very broad and varied.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?
I enjoy being busy and there is always plenty to do. I attend a lot of meetings and for the most part this is one of the things I most enjoy. They are opportunities to troubleshoot issues, share new ideas, and work collaboratively with colleagues.
What are the biggest challenges of working in the Journals End User Marketing team?
One of the biggest challenges is also one of the biggest draws to being part of this team — it’s incredibly busy and there are a lot of people to work with. The work is varied and challenging and you need to be on the ball all the time to make sure that deadlines are met and the societies we work with are happy.
What do you see as the key skills for a marketing team in journals publishing?
To be robust, creative, and not to be afraid to question the way things are done to find better ways of working. Also to be able to juggle and prioritize tasks. There are always new things coming in so it’s important to be flexible. I also think it’s very important to be personable and friendly, as managing relationships within the department, OUP more widely, and externally is a huge part of a marketing team’s role.
What is the most exciting project you have been part of while working for the team?
Probably working on new bids — we work collaboratively with the editorial team and it’s really a chance to showcase what we can do and demonstrate our creative ideas and results.
If you didn’t work in publishing, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing a PhD — my MA focused on remembrance of World War I through contemporary fiction, so perhaps an extension of that?
There’s nothing quite like seeing a book with your name on it. The beautiful cover, the weight of it in your hands, the pages of your creativity bundled into a package for readers to enjoy. It sits o the shelf–maybe a physical one, perhaps a virtual one–but it is there, mingling with other books, rubbing spines with both fresh and established voices alike.
And there it will sit, waiting to be noticed..among not hundreds, not thousands, but a virtual tsunami of books that grows larger each day. Sure, family and friends will buy your book, and perhaps some of your supporters and connections online, too. But unless you do something, it will eventually fade into obscurity, never having the chance to break out and be discovered by the exact people looking to read a book just like yours.
The number one failing of authors (provided they have a well edited, quality book) is an inability to connect with their exact audience.
Traditionally published or self-published, in this competitive market, authors must actively find readers or risk their book dying on the shelf. Many fiction authors try hard, but often miss the mark as far as targeting an audience (promoting too narrowly for example, say only to other writers). Some unfortunately go the spam route, misusing social media to shout constantly about their book, sales, 5 star reviews and even sending “check out my book + LINK” messages to followers. This type of promo becomes “White Noise,” which most ignore. In some cases, people become so annoyed, rather than this strategy pulling new readers in, it pushes them away.
So How Does An Author Find Their Ideal Audience?
1) Know What Makes Your Book Special
While a book’s genre (and sub-genres) help to narrow reader interest, this is only the start of your journey to finding your ideal audience. A Fantasy enthusiast will not be interested in reading ALL types of Fantasy, right? So the first step is defining what about your book makes it stand out from all the other novels like yours. Move beyond just genre. What themes or elements are unique about your book? What are the strongest qualities about your hero or heroine that make them likeable? What concept makes your book pop?
Is your fantasy about a race of nomadic humans who are really shape shifting dragons, but over the generations, have forgotten what they are? Or, does your book have a hero who must solve codes and cyphers to uncover an astrological prophesy? Maybe it involves unusual magical travel…wizards that have discovered they can bottle the scents associated with a location and when a subject inhales it, he travels to that place. Whatever it is, this “special element” is a big part of what makes your book unique, and what will draw readers to your type of story and characters.
2) Make a List of Groups that Tie into this Element
Figured out what makes your book stand out from all the others like it? Awesome. Now it’s time to find out what interests people who think X is compelling, because that’s what’s special about your book.
Let’s take one of my examples. Say your book is the Dragon Fantasy concept above. A book featuring dragons may appeal to people who collect dragon figurines, read dragon-centric books, play dragon fantasy games, create dragon artwork, fashion dragon jewellery, blog about dragons, go to dragon-themed movies, visit forums that discuss dragon culture, etc. Google has 38 pages for “dragon lovers.” In less than a minute, I found a Dragon Museum, Dragon Decor Designs and a ton of forums, facebook groups, and the like. Using Twitter Search, I discovered there is a #Dragon hashtag that brings up people, products and discussions about dragons. All of these people have the potential to be your exact reading audience, especially those who wish dragons were real, but are hiding their true forms. Or Fantasy readers interested in shape shifters and nomadic cultures.
(Don’t forget to look around locally, too. There may be groups, events and activities that tie into your book’s special concept in your own backyard.)
3) Identify Possible Influencers and Opportunities
Now within this glorious pool of Dragondom, there will be influencers: people who blog about all things dragons that really draw an audience, or active forums that discuss the latest dragon films and books. Perhaps gaming communities or even Facebook or Goodreads groups that draw a crowd. All of these help dragon enthusiasts discuss the thing they all love.
Check some of these places out to see if they might be a home for you too. After all, if what makes your book special is the shape-shifting dragon element, I’m going to assume you have a strong interest in dragons, right? Surely you have some things to talk about, links to share, books to recommend, etc. We write what we love, and so we should love to talk about what we write.
You want to find several groups or blogs that offer content to their readers that would also appeal to your readers. See who is discussing dragons on the web. Is there a Twitter Chat about dragons? Also look for people who create tangible goods for dragon lovers (artists, designers, etc.) These are people you want to try and connect with, because opportunities might exist down the road for some cross promotion. Don’t forget other authors with books like yours. Make friends, tweet links to their blog and book. They will notice and most reciprocate, meaning your book might get noticed by their audience.
4) Connect and Engage
Hurray! We have found a slew of blogs, websites, forums and people who are into dragons! Time to join up, follow and send messages about our book, right?
Sorry, that’s not how it works.
Finding out who your audience might be is one thing, but actually (hopefully) turning them into your audience is another.To do that, you need to connect. Interact. Join conversations going on about dragons. Discuss your own collection, the books you read, the movies you watch. Talk to people, find out more about them. Talk about life. Ask questions. Be genuine. Add to the conversation, supply links to things you think others will find interesting about dragons. Build relationships.
Yes, this takes time. It’s work, but if your heart is into it, it’s fun too. In time you will see that these relationships are worth far more than a handful of sales generated from spam promo. Why? Because when you need help, you can ask. Maybe you need reviewers, or have a book launch coming up and need people to spread the word. These individuals who you have invested your time in will often be the most enthusiastic about helping you gain visibility. They become not just supporters, but if we are lucky, fans.
5) Create Book Events to Draw in Your Reading Audience
One of the best ways to gain visibility is to host a big book event online. Thinking very hard about who your exact audience is, and what they would find interesting or entertaining is the key to drawing the right crowd to your event. Online book events like a book launch are the one time when people expect us to shout about our new book from the rooftops. We can build buzz and flash our cover and blurbs, and draw interest. Events are excellent ways to get your book noticed by the right people!
But the trick is to create an event that utilizes Social Media well, and draws the attention of the right people: people most suited to enjoy our book. Unfortunately this has been made harder because of all the “White Noise” of online promotion out there. So, the task is up to us to WOW people enough that they take notice, and don’t dismiss the event as more “book promotion.”
When you create your event, keep your theme or special element in mind. Build around it.Could you do a dragon treasure hunt across many different blogs using street team members? Perhaps add a shape shifting element where participants follow clues to figure out which street team member is human and which is a dragon, so they can find the hoard (giveaway prize) on someone’s blog? Something else? You decide!
Becca and I have run many successful events that have generated thousands of visitors, huge visibility and strong sales. In this webinar we will show you how to create your own book event that attracts attention, engages your audience, and rises it above Promo White Noise. It’s not just about getting eyes on your book, it’s about the RIGHT eyes.
I’m definitely more of a “rules are there for a reason” than a “rules were meant to be broken” kind of girl. It just never occurs to me to buck the system, and frankly, that’s served me well all my life.
But when my freelance writing career stalled (despite the fact that I had 5+ years of experience with clips numbering in the triple digits), even playing by the rules top freelance writing experts teach wasn’t getting me anywhere.
“Send pitches to newsstand pubs and LOIs to trade pubs.” Check.
“Email editors – NEVER call them!” Check.
“DO NOT clog an editor’s inbox by attaching your clips.” Check.
“Whatever you do, take time to research each market and NEVER, EVER use a template email.” Check, check.
I was spending loads of time researching markets, ferreting out the appropriate editors’ contact info and meticulously wordsmith-ing every email from scratch. Despite my best rule-following efforts, none of the editors contacted me back. Not. One.
There simply aren’t words to describe how frustrated and discouraged I felt. Giving so much time and effort with nothing to show for it eventually took its toll. On a daily basis I was at best, fighting despair and at worst, sinking in its depths.
In the midst of all this, I started working with a writing mentor (the one-and-only Linda). She calmed me down and gave me a few pieces of advice which I, of course, followed to the letter. I got a few lukewarm responses from editors as a result, and I even sold an article to a new-to-me (but not great paying) market.
Sure, it was progress, which lifted my spirits to a degree. But let’s face it — I was still working long, hard hours for minimal payoff. NOT a sustainable pattern for any small business.
Then Linda gave me a tip that helped me think outside the box – and believe me, it was one I NEVER expected to hear from her or any freelance writing expert.
“Why not try calling some editors?” she said, “And write a great LOI email you can quickly tweak for each market. Ask if they assign to freelancers or if they prefer pitches.”
Um, excuse me, what did you say?? Call editors?? Write one LOI to reuse over and over?? Pitch to trade pubs?? Break rules?!?!
As if that weren’t enough, Linda challenged me to call 25 editors in one day.
The thought of doing things that are widely considered no-no’s freaked me out enough, but seriously, 25?! Believe it or not, the part that scared me the least was the actual cold calling. I have a background in sales and I’m good at talking to people and I like marketing myself. Maybe, just maybe, the reason my by-the-book efforts were flopping was because my approach felt inauthentic. Calling editors seemed much more “me” — I’d just always thought if I did it, they’d view me as unprofessional (and kind of hate my guts for bugging them).
But with Linda, a seasoned pro writer, saying it was OK, I didn’t hesitate.
Armed with a three sentence script Linda wrote for me and a short and sweet LOI template email, I started the challenge.
I didn’t even get to leave voicemails with five editors before my phone rang.
“Deb, I was just delighted to get your message!” Really and truly, an editor was calling me to tell me she was happy I’d called her — not “hacked off” or “appalled” or even just “annoyed.” It seems she’d heard my voicemail right after leaving an editorial meeting where she’d learned an article slated for the next issue had fallen through. I’d also thrown caution to the wind and sent her my LOI email with my resume and a clip attached. She’d seen something in my article that would make a perfect story to fill that empty spot. Could I get something into her within a couple of weeks?
I know, right?!?!
After all my nose-to-the-grindstone work and months of angst over doing things the “right” way, all it took was literally a couple of phone calls and I had a gig that paid more than triple what I’d been getting! Even better, the editor ended our conversation by saying this was “the start of a very beautiful working relationship.” Hello, future high-paying gigs!
I’m no expert when it comes to freelancing, but I do think there’s something to this whole “find what feels right for you” idea. Just because the freelance writing books and classes say “Do this” or “Don’t do that” doesn’t necessarily mean those rules are hard and fast. It took me having someone of Linda’s caliber giving me permission to break the rules for me to do something that in the end felt natural and comfortable for me. And it worked.
As long as your approach allows you to both be yourself and to “sell” yourself as a competent professional, it’s worth trying something out of the ordinary — especially if you’re feeling stuck. You can’t predict how editors will react, but if you’re being genuine and gracious to them, no reasonable editor would hate you just for doing something differently. If they do, consider yourself lucky to have been warned about their inner crazy before you got stuck working with them.
So what will you try that’s not in the books? Be brave and take a risk. Go ahead — run with a stick in your mouth! Jump on the good furniture! Call an editor! Take it from me — it’s good to be bad.
How about you? Have you ever broken a rule of freelance writing and benefited as a result? Or have you found a marketing tactic other freelancers would scoff at, but that works for you? Let us know in the Comments below!
Deb Mitchell is a freelance writer in Charlotte, NC specializing in writing about interior design and women’s interest topics. She also works with business clients to make their websites and client communications the best they can be and with students as a general writing and college application essay coach.
My new business cards have arrived, I'm so excited! Take a look at these babies:
Did I really need to order 500(!) ? Um, no.
But they look great, and I'm sure I will use them. You may notice that I did not include a phone #. My other exciting news is that my family is getting ready to spend six months in France, so I need to be as portable (and mysterious) as possible.
I haven't really had anything printed before, so these are part of an experiment with different services. I will order postcards (and maybe bookmarks?) from a different service to compare. Do you have a favorite printing place to work with?
So recently I got a complaint from someone that said — and I’m paraphrasing:
I love your Monday Motivations for Writers and free goodies, but every time you start marketing something, I need to unsubscribe from your list and re-subscribe again when the campaign is over.
Every so often I hear from someone who is shocked and appalled that I market products and services to the people on my mailing list. Their entitled attitude is that I should maintain a list of 5,000+ subscribers, pay $70 per month in email hosting fees, and spend hours of my valuable time churning out informative content — for nothing.
The feeling is apparently that I (and other writers) should be providing information and products purely out of the goodness of our hearts. To actually expect to earn money from our skills, knowledge, and effort sullies this sacred profession.
Well, let me deliver a shocker right now: I’m in business to earn money, and you should be, too. Luckily for me, this goal coincides with something I’m passionate about and good at: Helping freelance writers make a living doing what they love.
If I can provide valuable information and products that help other people live the life of their dreams, I feel pretty good about asking for money for it.
You know why? Because if I didn’t accept payment for this service, I simply wouldn’t have the time, money, or bandwidth to help others. I’d be working 40+ hours per week for someone else, with no energy left over to create helpful content, build classes, write blog posts, or maintain a mailing list.
The attitude that we should provide labor for free out of a sense of love for what we do is bad, bad, bad for freelancers. Isn’t this the stance we get from content mills and various magazines and runners of Craigslist ads that say, in essence, “We don’t pay, but isn’t writing fun?”
If you provide a valuable service to society, you should have no problems asking to be paid for it. And yes, your ideas, your writing, and your knowledge are valuable to society. Also: Just because you love something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for money for it.
My view is, we’re all salespeople. When you pitch magazines, you’re selling an article idea. When you apply for a full-time job, you’re selling your skills and your time. When you start a blog, you’re selling your ideas to an audience that you hope will do something for you — whether it’s buy an info product, click “follow this blog,” or hire you as a writer.
So seeing as how we’re all salespeople when it comes to our professions: How would it feel if an editor asked you to keep pitching and pitching so she could use your ideas, but told you she had no intention of ever hiring you to write an article? (But please don’t stop the ideas!) That’s how I felt when this writer said she consumes my newsletter and freebies, but unsubscribes every time I have something to sell.
(I certainly don’t mind people hanging out and enjoying my newsletter, blog posts, and occasional freebies without buying from me. Many people do that, for their own reasons. It’s when they complain about the fact that I market to my subscribers that it crosses the line.)
If the idea that someone would market to you sends you screaming in the other direction — or if you feel someone is pulling one over on you by providing freebies and then daring to try to sell something — this could be pulling you down, professionally. Marketing is not something to be afraid of. It’s not a dirty trick. In most cases, it’s someone asking to receive value in return for providing it — so they can provide even more.
How about you: Have you ever gotten complains when you tried to market yourself or your writing? What happened? Bonus points if it’s funny! [lf]