Sometimes you have to destroy your business in order to save it.
–James Surowiecki, The New Yorker
Adair Lara wrote a delightful little book called You Know You’re a Writer When…
Here are three of her insights. You know you’re a writer when
- You’ll never forgive your parents for your happy childhood.
- You wonder which is a funnier word for a mineral, ”feldspar” or “potash.”
- There are three empy cereal bowls next to your computer—one for each meal.
To survive, Netflix is going to have to give up DVDs, the more profitable part of their business. Clicks are destroying bricks. When the music and movie businesses went to downloads, clicks destroyed Tower Records and Blockbusters. Downloads are the key to Netflix’s growth. Will ebooks will have the same effect on chain bookstores? Stay tuned.
Newsweek reported that next year, there will be seven billion people on the planet and five billion cell phones, a staggering statistic. People are giving up laptops for smart phones. In three years, smart phones will outsell PCs.
You know you’re a writer when you write. It’s that simple. But if you still harbor the hope that you can sit in front of your computer, turn out good books, and earn a living, abandon it. You need to reinvent yourself. Consumers will have a PC in their pockets with voice recognition, instant translation, and the ability to download all media whenever and wherever they want them. There is now wifi service on top of Mt. Everest!
What are the qualities you and your books will need to succeed in an increasingly mobile world?
The 7 Keys to Salable Writing
The two keys to becoming a successful author are developing your skills as a writer and an author. They involve two different but overlapping abilities. Both skills sets are essential to your future. The seven keys to making yourself an salable writer are
1. Credibility: Be knowledgeable enough about your subject and kind of book so you can write and speak about it. Make learning a lifelong quest.
2. Clarity: Find books and authors you can use as models for your books and career. Use what excites you to create a clear vision of your literary and financial goals, including when and how to achieve them. The only criterion for your goals: they motivate you to do everything you can to get where you want to go. Change your goals when you wish.
3. Quality: Produce work that you can promote with pride and passion. You’ll be too close to your work to tell when it’s ready, so build a community of readers who can.
4. Productivity: Be a contentpreneur who keeps generating ideas and content that you can customize to meet the needs of the marketplace.
5. Scalability: Be able to communicate your ideas and the content of your books on any scale: a tweet, a pitch, a blog, a website, articles, talks, workshops, videos, media appearances, audio books, and a series of related books that sell each other. There’s growing interest in short work because it’s faster to read.
6. Mobility: Write books that are salable in other forms, media, and countries for audio, video, films, television, merchandising products, computer games, and
usable on all available platforms, including computers, smart phones, and e-readers. Follow your work if it means moving elsewhere.
7. Creativity: Develop your ability to be creative in how you write and promote your work. As more authors deluge the marketplace, creativity will become more important as a way to distinguish yourself from them.
The next post will tell you about the six keys to becoming a successful author.
The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference / November 13-14, Hilton/Financial, www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: million-copy selling authors Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)