Building an eBiz
Random Thoughts relating to building a business especially an ebusiness
Random Thoughts relating to building a business especially an ebusiness
My apologies this is a long post but I felt it was important enough to warrant my time and yours.
Running a business — no matter how small or how large, how successful or challenged — is an exhausting and frustration-inducing effort. And some days it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble. And I admit it, sometimes my communications can let just a little of that frustration, anger and yes, exhaustion show.
It’s been a bit of a rough week or two.
New releases (my book “101 Writing Tweets: 101 Tips … ” has just been released) are always a bit of a challenge. After all, there’s the rush up to the posting on Amazon, followed by the first of the marketing efforts and then the endless waiting (well a week or two anyway), followed by a few days of sending out notices and watching the downloads and the reviews. Then comes the initial sales, slowly trickling in and hopefully turning into a stream. Overwork, followed by sitting on one’s hands, followed by overwork, followed by gnawing on one’s finger nails coupled with elation followed by fear followed by elation followed by fear … well, you get the idea here.
Add to that, my local RONA building supplies had a sale on laminate flooring so I decided now would be a good time to repair my bedroom floor. About 15 years ago I installed laminate incorrectly and it’s finally officially died. I’ve been smart enough to avoid replacement so far but bit the bullet this year. Unfortunately, since then I’ve become less mobile so my son has been trying to install this stuff. Of course, we did it wrong … directions, who needs stinking directions … and had to start again. Meanwhile the furniture from our room has made the whole second floor into a climbing apparatus. (The cats love it — the humans not so much!) So my wife and I have been forced to spend the last week on the pull-out couch in the study. This is a 30 year old couch with a mattress that wants to be a bag of frozen peas — a thin bag of frozen peas at that. Sleep? What’s that?
Then to top it all off, one of my email accounts decided to fill up. No big deal normally but this happens to be one that has my mailing list notifications on it. And of course, as I’m eliminating the spam, I’m reading the cancellations. Which is not a smart thing to do. Now 99% of them are cool — too busy, not quite what I wanted, and so on. But I’m dealing with the public and I’m teaching a topic that many people have unrealistic dreams about. So naturally, I have a few — let’s say, less than stable clients. It’s inevitable and all things considered, there are very few of them (less than 0.2% by my estimation). But it only takes one to really bring a person down. And of course, I’m reading all of their rants.
Needless to say by the end of the day, I was really bummed out and ready to chuck it all.
That’s when it happened…
I received this email…
Dear Glen Ford,I loved the language you used in your e-mail – and got the book right away. Thank you.I will be delighted to send my appreciation of the book to Amazon as soon as I finish it. The end of this week. DV.Your writing is a pleasure to read because I know that at the end of it I will have learned something without having to go through the nonsense and time wasting stuff others send. In fact, I have unsubscribed to all of them yesterday. But never you of course!!I have written stuff over the years in the form of Newspaper columns and some were main features in Magazines and I would now like to publish them in book form. But, they say that e-books is the way to go as they outnumber ‘real books’ five to one!All the best with your new book.Sincerely,Renee.
Dear Glen,Delighted to get a reply – and so soon – and the answer is “Absolutely not! Not even a hint of objection – use whatever you want if it’s any use to you.”Yesterday I randomly clicked into a file, your file. Life was too busy for me to do things for me but I kept them “for the time I would have time for me.” I had another look at that video. Wonderful. I love your manner, your honesty, and your clear concice delivery without any bs. Not a minute wasted.It seems to me that very few people know how to do that, in fact you’re the only person I’ve come across. That is why I was able to tell you yesterday that I had ‘unsubscribed’ from almost everybody who came through to me on the email. Not you! You’re kept there with family and friends.I loved the way you said right at the start how long the video would run so I knew right away that I could watch immediately and of course because of the way you are – your use of language – I knew I was interested. I lost too much precious time in the past listening to those long-winded …who in the end had nothing worthwhile to offer.I celebrated my 80th birthday in January this year and I can’t take the risk of losing any more of that precious time. So. I now have much more time to be selfish to do what I want to do without feeling guilty. Should have done it years ago! Thank you for helping me to do that.With love to you and yours,Renee
Now you may think that I’m posting this rather long blog to either bitch or crow … and you’d be wrong. (Well maybe there was just a little of bitching and crowing).
I wrote this post because of how I felt after the emails. And what we both can learn from this delightful 80-year young lady.
How did I feel?
Absolutely top of the world. My blue funk was gone, and I was smiling (between the yawns but can’t have everything).
It doesn’t take much to express our thanks — this email probably took Renee less than 5 minutes to write. And I doubt that she thought much about it. But she found something she liked about the videos and complimented me on it. The result is something that I will remember. Maybe she hated the rest of the video (I know I do) but she found one thing to praise.
It’s something we all need to remember and practice in our businesses.
How often (and loudly) do we complain? And how seldom do we compliment? With the internet this tendency has become worse. Perhaps because we believe that the internet gives us a level of anonymity. Or simply because the person at the other end isn’t quite real to us.
But the truth is our complaints are often ignored … but our praise never. If we can bring a smile to the face of the person at the other end of our internet lifeline, we’re far more likely to achieve our goals. If we can make them say thank you, we are one step closer to winning our dreams. All it takes is one little honest sentence praising something that they did.
It’s a simple truth but a truth we so often forget.
And our businesses will thrive or fail on the result.
So let me put my advice into action now.
To the 90.0% of you who have enjoyed what I have shared. To those of you who have read my books (and bought my books). And especially to those who have told me how much you have enjoyed my books. Thank you. Your thoughtfulness and willingness to learn has given me much joy. I and my team find joy in creating learning. But we experience joy when we see you learn.
To the 9.8% of you who have not found what I have shared of value, but dealt with me professionally, thank you. Your advice and yes, your identification of why you didn’t continue has helped me to improve.
And to the Renees of the world, thank you for reminding me why I love to help people.
The book industry has changed. Irrevocably.
It used to be such a simple industry. There were major publishers, small press publishers and vanity publishers. On the other side there were major writers (with a writing contract), minor writers (at least they had a publisher) and indie writers. When a writer found a publisher they left the indie lifestyle and became ‘Major’ (or ‘Minor’) writers. Indie writers were the go-it-alone types and were forced to deal with the vanity presses. Occasionally they could find a small press that would work with them or they created their own out of desperation.
Then came on-demand printing. And the book world changed. When the eBook took off the change was cemented and the whole pigeon-hole world came tumbling down.
The truth is that the only difference between the indie writer and the major writer is that major writers have an investor to fund their writing. That’s really what a modern major publisher does. They put up the cash (called an advance) and then collect the income as the book sells. When the book sells above the advance amount the publisher pays more royalties. When the book sells less, the publisher claws back the advance.
In today’s world, the lines are blurred.
An indie writer can publish a book under their own name without a publishing brand. They can do this by handling the entire process on their own. They can publish using outsourced specialists (book designers and cover designers). Or they can use a publishing consultant. These people can handle the process of converting the manuscript into a published book. They arrange any specialists needed.
An indie writer can create their own publishing brand. The options for publishing remain the same — in fact the only difference is in perception. Readers believe that the writer is published (even if it is a small press) and the perceived value increases.
An indie writer can also use a publishing consultant’s brand. This is similar to using a small press. But the relationship is different. The publishing consultant, naturally enough, will require a basic level of quality. They also take a small percentage of the royalties for the use of their name. However, they don’t fund the writer and can provide a mix of services from full production to none. There are two big advantage with this method. The first is that the indie writer will increase the perceived value in the same way as using their own publishing brand does. However, it will appear that they are using a larger brand and so will gain more perceived value. More importantly, they will share promotion with other writers. As we all know, the more books you have, the more books you sell. By cross promoting, you can use others’ books to sell your own. Plus it is more likely that the publishing consultant will have a book in major promotion in any given month. Something that is hard to do for an indie writer.
And of course, the old methods still exist. And indie writer can still deal with a vanity press.
Making a choice between the three methods requires the indie writer to take a long term view. Do you want to remain an indie writer or do you wish to write for one of the major publishers? Do you want to publish multiple books or only one or two? Does it matter to you if your readers value your opinions more or less? Will sharing promotion with other indie writers help your book achieve your goals?
Whatever method you choose, prepare for a wild ride.
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. It’s been a very busy time lately and I’ve found that I’m having problems keeping up with my blog posting. But hopefully that will all change soon.
I’ve just finished a major project fot ThreeO Project Solutions Inc. publishers of the popular AceIt computer based PMP exam preparation courses. The new PMBOK Edition 5 has just been released and they needed the course updated. I also spent some time becoming certified as a trainer for the live version of the course. Which is a wild feeling since I’ve been writing the new editions for some time and yet still had to go through training in order to teach it. (PMI rules not ThreeO’s).
I’ve also just launched GlenDFord.com which is where I will post my blog entries on Project Management, Management, Entrepreneurial and IT topics.
And on a less happy note, due to having made the mistake of dealing with NosuchSolutions for the Howdoyoublog.biz domain, we had to make a quick but massive renaming to Howtoblogcourse.com. Not fun. not nice and my partner Paul has promised a blog entry on his experiences — once he calms down.
And I’m in the process of resurrecting my daily tips and tweets as PMPsicle on Twitter for both writing and project management. (The writing ones have started already. Project Management is still a work in progress.)
As part of this latter project, I’m in the middle of writing a new book “101 Writing Tweets” which is going to be a selection of 101 (go figure) tips and tweets on writing quality how-to-books for Kindle. I’m quite pleased with how it is going and I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s going to be my first inexpensive Kindle book and I’ll release it with a free promotion hopefully later this month. I’ll post to both my blog and Twitter as soon as I have a publication date.
That’s it for now. Keep checking back for more news.
I don’t claim to be a marketer. I’m a learning content creator aka course designer and presenter and a book author. That’s why you don’t see me jumping on the latest “How to sell on Amazon Kindle without being able to spell or string a sentence together” craze. However, I do write for the Kindle on several different topics. So I need to market my books. And I do listen to the marketers who have jumped on the “How to sell on Amazon Kindle …” craze. So naturally, I decided to try those techniques for myself.
Now my free Kindle book promotion is over and done. At least the one for “How to Blog for Money: 9 Strategies to Get Your Blog Earning Money Online and Off”. Now it’s time for lessons learned, evaluation and crying into my beer.
So what happened?
In point form the results were:
- Project run time — 1 week (decision to promotion) plus promotion 5 days.
- Released – Friday 2012.08.30 12:01am PST (day before labour day holiday)
- End date - Tuesday 2012.09.04 11:59 pm PST (day after labour day holiday)
- Marketing – 1 Twitter feed on time, 5 on Saturday/Sunday including websites all free Kindle book related
- Marketing – Tweets 3 times/day average plus auto feeds
- Marketing – Emails to my lists – Monday (different reason), Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday
- Marketing – Emails to my lists – 2 spam complaints, 2 unsubscribes, 10? subscribes (estimates)
- Amazon did not link print version and Kindle version
- Total books given away - 209 on Friday, 351- Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues. Total 560.
- Total reviews: 1 on Friday, 1 on Saturday, 1 on Tuesday. All 5 star. by end of week.
- High position: 915 2 in Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship > Home Based
- Low position 1319 5 in Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship > Home Based
- Same position in Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship
- Final position 8 (quick drop)
- Constant position 21 in Business & Investing with lowest at 41 (final)
- Position after promotion — not ranked (#395,391 at 11:00 am) 1 week later #263,652 (not ranked)
- Post Book Sales 2 (1st day) 3 sales 1 select (1st Week)
- Other book sales increased
- This was not a brand new book it had 2 sales between 2012.06.20 and 08.30 but had not been promoted and wasn’t performing to the level I expected.
- This book had a list of my other books with links (last page)
- One of the books that kept degrading my rank was on how to find a job (Home based business — Job ???? Huh???)
- 90+% of competing books were 0.99, 1.99 or 2.99 (several appear to be permanently free)
- Many of the books were of (let’s be gentle) inferior quality (i.e. starts with s and ends with t). (i.e. below Clicbank quality … ie I-regularly-delete-these-when-I-get-them-free type quality)
- Many of the books were meant to be traffic generators. (wouldn’t even qualify as Free giveaways)
- Data disappears when flipping between free and paid so you need to capture before changing. (Specifically sales rank in AuthorCentral )
- I kept finding and buying free books (i.e. competition) This boosted my competition and negatively impacted my book (New Toy?)
This was a book that wasn’t doing anything so I wasn’t going to lose anything by promoting it. Admittedly I did not promote this as hard as I should have but I did manage to promote it reasonably well. It had a good number of free downloads and produced 4 reviews which I wouldn’t have had otherwise. (Like most people, unless I chase reviews I don’t get them. This is why the paid review market has arisen.)
I believe that my promotion faced four major hurdles.
The first is that it ran too long. 2 days would appear to have been the proper length of time. That would have also left me with a few days to use over the next 90. Many of my “free kindle book” promoters tweeted and otherwise promoted my book — but only for the first day or two. By day 3, I was looking for new places to promote the book.
Second and more importantly that my book had been on the market too long before I gave it away. This technique is based on the gambit that you can get a carry over from the free to the paid. This carryover would be sufficient to drive your book up the rankings to the point that Amazon places you highly in their search results (and the top 100 and featured items etc.) The higher the position the more likely you are to be able to sell enough to retain your position (thems whats gots keeps, as it were).
The problem is that the ranking system is based on the number of sales over the number of days that the book has been available — in other words the average. So let’s say you have 15 sales in one day. If your book is only a day old, that would give you 5 sales per day. The result would be a placement of say #1 in your category. (And between 3600 – 7000 overall — a very good ranking) But let’s say you waited 15 days before you sold those 15 sales. The result would be 1 sale per day. And that would more likely put you on the second page. Or even further down. (Estimated position somewhere over #50,000). There’s a big difference between 15 sales and 1 sale. In many categories, it’s enough to dump you right out of the rankings.
The third hurdle is related to both Amazon and time. You do need to allow enough time to find the promotion sites, connect with them and then get your book into their stream. For most of the Kindle people, that means at least one week. For Goodreads, that’s somewhere in the 3 month range — but they aren’t interested in Kindle anyway. The next issue is that you need to give Amazon enough time to fix its listings. Its two weeks after the publication of the print version of my book and they still haven’t linked the two editions. Of course, if you don’t publish both a physical and electronic version then you don’t have a problem. You also won’t have one version supporting the sale of the other.
The fourth hurdle had to do with the competition and Amazon. And frankly, there is no way to prevent it as an author. If you are producing a quality book, much of the competition that you are going up against will be at the other end of the spectrum. They are simply there to scam the system. You should not find them to be any form of competition at all. However, Amazon does not distinguish between promotion books and price matched books. It also doesn’t give the reader any way to judge the quality of new releases. The result is that the reader isn’t going to know that your book is high quality while the book beside yours is a piece of post-ingested foodstuff. Making matters worse is that the category system is open to misuse — and the category system is critical to your success.
Many of the books you will be competing against are freemiums. That is they are intended to drive traffic to higher priced items. I strongly recommend that you include links in the books you use for this promotion. In this way, you will get subsequent sales even if this book doesn’t sell as well as you wish.
So will I try this again? Yes — but with a new book and for a shorter period. (I may also try it with an old book that isn’t selling but also for a shorter period).
And as usual, I will share my successes and failures with you.
(P.S. This article was typed directly into WordPress in fits, starts and pieces without proper editing. So if you find a grammatical or spelling error — Sorry but I’m not at all surprised).
Okay, a bit of writing as a business for you today …
My guess is that it couldn’t be more appropriate … Europe rejected the new copyright treaty on Independence Day (July 4, 2012). In many ways, this represents Europe declaring its independence from U.S. influence on copyright law.
So what does this mean for writers?
The ACTA copyright treaties represent the latest agreement between the countries of the world as to what their own copyright legislation is supposed to be. In effect, it is the target that each will attempt to force their own legislation into.
For writers this means that this treaty represents the rights and protections that they will have around the world. Of course, local legislation takes time to catch up and laws are often broken but that’s the theory in any case.
So this is bad, right?
Well, no. You see the main problem is that the ACTA proposal was negotiated in secret and was heavily influenced by U.S. interests. This is frightening, given that even the U.S. judicial system has begun to push back on those self-same interests.
Like much of the recent U.S. copyright legislation, it is heavily slanted in favour of the large corporate publisher. Content creators and small publishers (admittedly such as TrainingNOW) are the losers. Perhaps not as much as the users and purchasers of our courses and writings, but any gains are the result of targeting overkill (aka collateral damage) rather than intent.
For the writer and self/small publisher, this treaty represents a distinct problem in the areas of research and in product ownership.
However, as in any change in legislation, you have a responsibility to yourself to read the legislation and come to your own conclusions. And since this is a treaty (rather than legislation), it is also incumbent on you to ensure that you are familiar with legislation in your own country.
As for me — I’m glad the EEC voted it down. I only wish Canada had shown the same wisdom.
Well it’s Father’s Day once again. Time for reminiscing about fathers and the past. As you may know, my own father passed away shortly over a year ago. Father’s day was always a big day for us. A chance to thank my parents for everything they did for us (Mom got her own day but you know how things go).
But my daughter’s birthday and Father’s day are typically celebrated on the same day. So in my own home, Father’s day has been little more than a hurried “Happy Father’s day” as we rushed to arrange parties and fixin’s.
This year is different. We celebrated my daughter’s birthday last weekend and this weekend she’s off to go shopping with her aunt. So I’m sitting here, relaxing and thinking about Fathers and everything they give to us.
My own Father was an entrepreneur. As was his Father and his Father before that. All the way back to Thomas (great-great-) who left Wales (and maybe Ireland) behind to take his business to the new world. Maybe even before that. I’ve spoken before of how I learned to be an entrepreneur at my great-grandfather’s knee. And it seems to be something that is absorbed. (My brother and one sister are both entrepreneurs as am I).
My Father (and grandfather and great-grandfather) taught me to think and be an entrepreneur. My university taught me to be a businessman. The two together gave me a good base for all my entrepreneurial endeavours including freelance writing and training. And as frustrated as I get with the life, I hope my children will become entrepreneurs as they grow.
The sad reality is that we can no longer rely on a job. The big corporations have walked away from their responsibilities. Mutual respect and loyalty is a thing of the past. Just when wisdom is earned, and the joy of sharing is realized, the new corporation decides that they can no longer afford you. The current economic reality makes that trend even worse. Companies no longer dumbsize — now they disintegrate, all in the name of pleasing analysts who have no stake in the company.
The age of the entrepreneur is on us. Unfortunately, even entrepreneurship has its difficulties.
Last night, I published the Kindle version of Paul and my first book as an entrepreneur and publisher. “101 Limericks about Public Speaking” has been available for some time now. At first in PDF eBook form on our TrainingNOW.ca site and then in print. But now, it’s available in Kindle eBook. And in many ways, it represents the changes that are occurring in the writing business.
When I first started, marketers created systems and wrote them up as eBooks. These sold for highly inflated prices. After all, you were selling a system not a book. And the traditional publishers owned the print book market. You sold an agent who in turn sold the publisher who deigned to print and distribute your book. If you wanted to self-publish, you dealt with a vanity publisher.
Today, all that has changed.
Self-publishing is the rule not the exception. And while print books do sell still and will for some time, the eBook is the way of the future. Booksellers such as Amazon now set the tone and the price. And the big publisher is being squeezed out as the author’s realize they don’t get much from them in the new reality. On the other hand, other Booksellers (such as Apple and its iBookstore) have yet to recognize the changes and still give the publisher the power.
It may seem that I’m pro-Amazon’s and anti-Apple/Kobo/Nook’s stances. But the truth is both are valid. Amazon has recognized the new reality in the writer’s market. And they’ve taken advantage of their size to force their opinions on the publishing world. The Apple/Kobo/Nook camp has been slow to recognize the changes. And they’ve been slow to react. They’ve chosen to give up control to the big publishers.
The truth is in between. There are situations where the price of a book should include the price of the system. And there are situations where the price of the book should be low. The truth is that all four groups need to have input into the price of an eBook — the customer, the bookseller, the publisher and the author. No one group can dominate or the price will shift in their favour at the expense of the others.
Right now, the writing and freelance writing market is on the cusp of change. Where will we be tomorrow? Who knows?
Isn’t being an entrepreneur fun?
I normally try to stay out of the whole traffic and marketing field. Instead, I focus on planning for success in writing books and eBooks. But I answer questions from my clients. (Yes, I really, really do that… me, personally).
And anyone who is writing books or eBooks is going to get into the problem of marketing those books. So I get these questions about how to market ebooks. Sometimes effectively disguised as planning for marketing and sometimes not so effectively disguised.
Today, I got an email from a client in South Africa. (You know who you are and no one else needs to know.) And frankly, it ticked me off. :mad: Not at my customer, but at some of the pseudo-gurus who’ve sold him a bill of goods. You’ve seen these [watch the language - ed.} or at least their headlines ... Make Money Quickly By Writing an Ebook. Books Make Money! Wealth! Fame!
Borsht! [okay, I'll let that one through, but watch it - ed.]
Can you make money with books and eBooks? Yes, you can. Especially with eBooks, now that Amazon and the Kindle are doing the marketing for you. Pick your keywords right, price your eBooks low (in the 2.99 – 9.99 $US range) and you’ll make some money. How much depends on a number of different factors.
And if you’ve got an existing business, you can use books and eBooks to make even more money. They can help you to sell product or services. In fact, they can create a reputation for you that draws high value to your business, while it’s gaining you new customers. So you end up winning both ways.
There is no question that writing books and eBooks can be the basis of a valuable business.
The problem is the promises that are made around that business. “I can show you how to make $10,000 a month in 30 days”. “I can have you selling $100,000 a year in 2 days” Right, we’ve all heard the claims. And in 30 days, they’ll have shown you how. Or sent you the eBook, which will take you about 2 days to read.
The result is that people like my customer end up putting the comma in the wrong place and end up believing that they can make a living on the internet. Which is fine if you have a job and aren’t looking for a way out of the dole queue.
The thing is you can make a living on the internet by writing books and eBooks. It is possible to build a real business. In fact, there are several ways you can do it. However, building a business on the internet is just like building a business anywhere. It takes time, energy and money. If you don’t have the money, you need to put in the time and energy. If you don’t have the time and energy, you need to spend money.
There is no free lunch.
And unless you’re insanely lucky, and very well connected — as well as talented — it’s going to take time to build your business. It isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to build relationships with your customers. You need to build relationships with your affiliates. And you need to build a relationship with your traffic sources. And building a relationship — any relationship takes time.
And it takes skill and knowledge. You need to know how to go about it. You need to create a system. You need to practice the system. Even if you buy a system for selling ebooks, you’ve written over the internet, you need to make it your own. You need to make your mistakes. Is it hard? No. But it takes time to learn how to write and market eBooks over the internet.
And that takes time, energy, perseverance and money. Not hype.
(I did tell you I was ticked about this … in fact, I’m so ticked I’m going to make my customer’s email the inspiration for this week’s blog posts. More coming soon!)
Everyone has to begin somewhere. No one just leaps into the top spot in an industry. Or starts off knowing everything there is to know.
And that is especially true with freelancing. It doesn’t matter what type of freelancing. Computer work, software design, art, writing, bookkeeping. And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working in your field. Freelancing in a field is different than being an employee in that field.
Maybe you’ve written your first book or maybe your third eBook and you’ve gotten a taste for writing a book. So now you’ve decided you like it and you want to become a freelance writer. Good for you. But you’re going to find it’s a whole different world. So in this blog entry I’m going to share some tips to help beginners in freelance writing. To ease the transition as it were.
1. Freelancing is a business.
Being a freelancer might seem at first glance to be a form of employment. But it is a business and you need to think in terms of running a business. That means like any entrepreneur, you need to spend time working on your business. In fact that is your priority over working in your business. You are no longer a writer — you are an entrepreneur. So think and act like one.
2. Rainy days come sooner than you think.
One of the main pieces of advice that debt counselors give is to put away roughly six months of earnings. As a freelancer your goal is to put at least a year’s earnings away. And you need to start as soon as possible.
3. Time is a limited resource.
As a freelancer you’ll soon learn that you are being drawn in many different directions. If you let it you’ll soon find yourself spending too much time on one part of your business and not enough on another. You need to ensure that you are allocating time to each of the major elements of your business – marketing, finance, information, production. Each is important and each needs your respect and involvement.
4. Sometimes it pays to not do things.
Some people believe that no one can be an expert in everything an entrepreneur does. That’s just not true. In fact it’s easy to do. But what is true is that it isn’t wise to do so. In any job — especially running a business — there are jobs that you don’t do well. There are jobs you don’t enjoy doing. There are jobs that are worth less than other jobs. There are jobs that anyone can do. There are jobs that require specialized knowledge. And then there are jobs that you need to do yourself. And jobs that will earn you more by doing them. As a freelancer you need to identify which group those jobs belong to. And then hire someone else to do the less valuable, less enjoyable, less suitable jobs.
5. There is no such thing as downtime.
As an employee there will be the occasional period of unemployment. And vacation time. And holidays. And other than searching for a job most people take those times as relaxation time. As a freelancer, you will be out of work far more often. But that downtime isn’t. You need to spend the time wisely. Tip number 3 applies even during downtimes. Even if you allocate the time to vacation!
6. Showing is better than telling.
One of the key marketing tools you must develop from the first is a writer’s portfolio. As an employee your main tool is your resume. Not because it’s the best but because the person hiring uses the same rules for everyone. As a freelancer you’ll find you get hired by two disparate groups — those who know how to hire a writer and those who don’t. Your portfolio is what the people who know will want to see. So build it quickly and keep it up to date.
7. Keep your own counsel.
Complaining is an old privilege of employment. However, you’re not an employee. You need to appear professional. And professionals know how to keep their opinions to themselves. So don’t get involved in employee bitch sessions. While your customer isn’t always right, they are your customer. And their business is their own to run. Not yours.
Why is motivation so important? Why do you — the writer — need to get motivated?
Okay, let’s start at the back end. I’m a little backwards so it’s appropriate. The answer is simple. Writing for the sake of writing is eating the cone and leaving the ice cream. It just doesn’t quite cut it. If you write, you want to be read. And when you get right down to it, reading is a purchase decision. You are buying the information even if the only thing you pay with is your time. And like anything else, people buy because they have an overwhelming desire for the benefits. In other words, they buy because they are motivated. If you know the detailed reason for that, you can write a book that fulfills that desire. Do so and you will be guaranteed an audience.
Okay, so obviously it has an effect when writing your book. It needs to show up in your subject matter. But how does it affect you when you are actually writing?
Have you ever heard the complaint, “I can’t seem to find the time to write?”
I know I do. It’s one of the most frequent complaints I hear.
There are three main reasons that writers have problems finding the time to write:
1. Writing is too hard
2. You’ve filled your time with other stuff
3. You aren’t motivated.
Motivation is one of the core success factors in writing a book. Writing a book is not like writing an article or an essay for school. Those are just sprints. Writing a book is a marathon. And you need to write the way you run a marathon.
No matter how good your writing system is. No matter how simple it makes the process of writing a book, writing will never be a simple task. It’s hard. Welcome to reality. Writers write because they have to. Very few write because they love the act. As Dorothy Parker, the American poet/writer/critic , said “I hate writing, I love having written.”
We always try to avoid doing things that are difficult. We’ll do whatever we can to avoid starting. That’s just human nature. In order to overcome this resistance, you need to have a very strong reason to overcome this. We just happen to call this reason “your motivation”.
Not only do you want to avoid starting difficult tasks, but also you’ll want to stop in the middle. No one wants to continue to bang his or her head against a wall. It tends to make a mess of both your head and the wall. And it leaves you with a headache. If something is hard to do, you’ll want to put it aside.
Knowing what motivates you and then making certain you are aware of that goal, will help you to overcome the difficulties involved in writing a book.
(Unabashed commercial time here: I’ll be writing some more on this topic over the next little while. If you don’t want to wait check out our 2 DVD course “Finding the Time to Write: Time Management for Writers” )
When I first entered the eBook business, you HAD to publish your own books. (Unless you wanted to go the Clickbank route. ) Prices were high (compared to print books) and learning content providers were known to misrepresent their reports as eBooks. And the major publishers toyed with eBooks but basically considered them as irrelevant.
Then came the Kindle from Amazon and other similar products.
Last year, Amazon tried to force the major publishers to sell their eBooks at much reduced prices. Ultimately, Amazon had to back down. However, they did succeed by introducing the 70% royalty for books under $9.95. Self-publishers and the market did what force, threats and banning couldn’t do.
Unfortunately, other sales outlets aren’t as open-minded as Amazon. Getting Apple, Kobo or Barnes & Noble (the Nook) to carry self-published eBooks is an exercise in frustration — especially if you are from outside the U.S.A. (like TrainingNOW). Simply put, most of the booksellers haven’t gotten the new business model yet.
In any case, the U.S. Justice department has announced that it will investigate the “Cartel” practices of Apple and the big publishers. You can read more about this on ZDNet (part of CBS Interactive) Justice Dept. to sue Apple, other publishers over e-book ‘cartel’ . The European (antitrust) Commission began a similar investigation about three months ago.
It will be interesting to see what the fallout will be.