7 alternative business models that every writer should consider

Tim_O'Reilly

Once you have written your book, promoted and eventually got some satisfactory sales – is not the place where job around your book is finished. No, no 🙂 actually, this is an opening opportunity for you further to establish and build a credible business around your book. You might also think that this is applicable only to non-fiction authors, but it doesn’t have to be. Even as a fiction writer, there is a lot you can share with people and teach what you know. And you can translate that in multiple revenues of income. Mostly this falls into category of product-service-system business models, where around the product you offer, your clients/customers can enjoy  variety of related services.

Here is the list of interesting business model variations that I think every published author should consider:

  1. Speaking opportunities. Published book in your area of interest gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in the given field. Through established and growing relationships, networks and community you can gain speaking opportunities and expand your writing business.
  2. Coaching. Are you good at your writing? Or you published a book about something else you are good at? Well there are other people who could benefit from your knowledge. This is an excellent way of starting an online coaching business – you can easily and effectively do your coaching using skype (facetime, ext.) and help people from all around the world.
  3. Online courses, webinars, training sessions. This is quite similar to  coaching, but you have a bit larger audience: you can use your book as the foundation for an online training session or workshop. This is an excellent opportunity to virtually deliver educational programs and gain international clients.
  4. Subscription/membership program. Your book can be a foundation for a membership program where you offer additional exclusive content only to subscribers (on a monthly basis for example). Being your content “in the how to” category or short stories series, this is an excellent chance to secure steady stream of passive income.
  5. Information products. Every book can be easily upgraded/transformed in a workbook, mobile app, podcast..
  6. Certification. If you have developed your own techniques and methodologies that are effective in some way, you can offer certification programs to consultants/writers/coaches who want to teach your methods. In a way they are becoming your ambassadors, promoting further your business and brand.
  7. Online portal/journal. If you like to couple your love of writing with research you can start your own portal or journal, related to topics you are interested in. It is seen as an excellent opportunity to engage with other writers and generate valuable and interesting content. It can vary from poetry to retail or politics. Nevertheless, depending on the traffic your site generates you can ‘sell’ space on your website to interested third parties for advertisements.

Each of these models is a way that writer can deeper explore real entrepreneurial possibilities. Each of them require further time and investment. Yet the purpose of this article is to emphasize that inclination and affection for writing doesn’t have to end there: it can further fuel our creativity and combined with other talents (being that ours or other’s people) can lead to results with much broader impact.

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8 tips for writing a killer author bio (even if you haven’t published anything yet)

mark-twain

Couple of years ago, a good friend of mine, an artist, came with a request to help her write a resume for an upcoming exhibition she wanted to apply for. Now, writing a resume is not such a big deal, but when you have somebody at the beginning of their artistic career (with only 1 exhibition) and this exhibition she was applying for, was supposed to be held in Louvre, then it is a big deal – at least for artists. And it has to be remarkably written, just as her masterpiece. It was quite a challenge, but I knew her for a long time (we grew up together) and we had to start from somewhere. Certain approaches we applied, eventually paid off (her bio was very much praised as her art) and these approaches can work for any type of biography – including that of a writer.

Beside some minor details about education and study field, I was not left with much to work with: only one exhibition behind her, so what do you write about then?

My first tip is:

  1. Mention the most relevant professional, educational, travel, or personal experiences: what is special about you.

It has to resonate with your audience and the occasion for which you are writing your resume (you can adjust and rewrite your bio according to the current needs). My friend, she used to travel a lot, was great admirer of history and architecture, so we included that. Same applies to writers. If you are writing non-fiction about health issues, than include your personal story. If you are writing a novel, give some juicy details what inspired the idea –  you get the picture. Your biography has to look and sound both human and professional and the trick is to find the balance between the two. Once again, it’s about pulling in the details which will resonate with your readers/editors and which fit adequately with the topics you’re writing about.

  1. Always ask someone who knows you very well about your qualities, skills, what distincts you from other people and include that in your bio.

We tend to be very subjective and overly critical. Observations from other people can be very helpful.I knew that my friend is very skilled with hands, for example (she could make anything you imagine), so I emphasized her knowledge of work with materials, tools, experimenting with textures and colors. Around that we carefully crafted a short story that was about the work she was submitting. And at the end it turned out very well.

Also, she had a lot of pieces that she developed in free time, but never seen the eyes of the public. So, the second thing we did, we developed a basic website where we published the pictures of her other work as well. We included the link in the biography so she could showcase the spectrum of her work – not only sculptures, but sketches, oil paintings, everything that represented her and her work. That contributed to her uniqueness and artistic individuality.

The same can apply to writers:

  1. If you are not already a published writer, build a basic website or blog where you can showcase excerpts of your writings (you reading this probably already have a blog) so try to reorganize your blog to showcase your best work and include the link in your bio.

Also, if you haven’t published anything yet, it’s hard to get reviews and testimonials. What you can do:

  1. Use the comments that people leave you on your website and social media as a testimonial. I’ve seen many writers – entrepreneurs doing exactly that, and it’s paying off.
  1. If you are part of any writing/literally organization, group (even forum) – list that in your bio, as it adds to your credentials. Another plus in an editor’s eyes is your affiliation with writers’ organizations. If you are not, join one! My friend was a member of national artistic network and that detail added to her professionalism.

Now, some technical stuff:

  1. Always write in third person. It kind of makes it easier to talk about yourself and your achievements. You should give it a try.
  1. Keep it short.

Editors, committees, even your readers don’t have much time to read a novel in your biography. Try to be concise, yet informative.

  1. The opening line should be straightforward and meaningful (in simple words telling who you are): if your degree is relevant, then note it.

This is where you captivate your reader (editor). You have to introduce yourself and this is usually the turning point. Never start with personal details – it will just make you look unprofessional.

For the end, apply this trick: read your bio out loud. How does it sounds, feel? You will know you nailed it, when it simply feels right!

 

 

 

 

 

The Go-getters guide to building your personal author brand

hartman

Branding for sometime now has been a buzz word. We instinctively recognize branding as a purposeful creating of authentic image, identity and most importantly the “feeling” that companies want their consumers to experience – about different products and services. Yet you are a writer, not a company or a product. How that applies to you? Do you really need a brand?

Let us put it this way: Your personal author brand can be seen as a purposeful creating of unique and distinct theme in your marketing approach that you want your audience to remember you by.

How do you that?

Well, there are few questions that can lead you along the way discovering your brand personality. I would start with:

How do you want to be remembered?  Think in terms of senses, feelings, experiences, words, language, ideas, concepts that you want to be associated with. That can also depend on the field and focus of your writing: if you are in area of business writing do you want to be remembered as a tough authority or compassionate leader? Do you want to teach or inspire? As a fiction writer what mood do you want to evoke?

Once you define these primarily goals, you will be more clear on your purpose, message that you want to deliver and who are you trying to reach. That one simple message around which will revolve your whole branding theme is of pivotal importance, since it will communicate your philosophy and your values: what are you bringing to your readership.

Be open, honest, tell your story, since people like to connect on the personal level. This will also help you communicate who you really are and what distincts you from others. You are your brand, but also your readers are your brand – who you attract and what impressions you make.

Follow your distinct writing voice!

The tone and style of your communication should naturally reflect your expertise, brand promise, and core belief.

By consistently building your author brand, you can broaden the areas of your influence and involvement.

You can:

  • get offer for guest blog posts which will increase your readership;
  • get advertising requests for your website;
  • position yourself as an expert in your field;
  • increase probability for future book deals;
  • get broader exposure in media;
  • even get the opportunity for product/service endorsement.

Think about it and start building you brand now!