The first three words in The 6 Cs for Becoming a Successful Writer in the Digital Age are Content, Clarity, and Communication. The fourth word is Contentpreneuring, and there are four aspects to it: Service, Knowledge, Technology, and Contentpreneuring.
Unless we give what we have to others, what we know and value will be irrevocably and utterly gone.
–The editors of Conari Press in The Practice of Kindness
To get people to know, like, and trust you, online and off, you have to serve, not sell. The more effectively you devote your life to serving your communities, the better they’ll serve you. As author and speaker Zig Ziglar says: “You can have everything you want out of life, if you help enough other people get what they want out of life.”
As a writer, you are the most important person in the publishing process because you make it go. Readers are the second most important people, because they keep it going.
To take advantage of the opportunities waiting for you, you have to know more and do more than ever:
- You have to be an expert on your subject or the kind of book you’re writing.
- You have to have a positive but realistic perspective about publishing and its future that balances the challenges and opportunities.
- If you want an agent, you have to understand what they do and how they work.
The more you learn, the more you can earn, and you have access to an astonishing array of free resources for learning what you need to know and making learning a life-long quest without leaving your desk.
There’s a famous New Yorker cartoon showing two dogs sitting in front of a computer, and one is saying to the other: “On the Internet, nobody knows if you’re a dog.” Unless you’re using Skype, but they will know quickly whether you know how to use the Web.
Technology is forcing writers to reinvent themselves as contentpreneurs. The Web is as important to writers as oxygen or electricity. You have to know how to make use of the greatest gift to writers since the printing press for writing, sharing, and promoting your work, and building and maintaining your communities. Use techies when you need to, but keep maximizing the amazing power of technology to help you with every aspect of your work.
You have to be a contentpreneur
- by making your content scalable from a tweet to a book and your promotion scalable from a one-line pitch to a one-hour radio interview
- by making your laptop and your smartphone your office so you can work anywhere
- by producing a steady stream of work for free and for fees that maximizes your pleasure, income, and visibility
- by finding ideas you can re-purpose in as many forms, media, and countries as possible
- by building communities of web-enabled, project-based teams of collaborators–interns, professionals, and virtual assistants–with whom you can develop and market transmedia products and services such as apps, videos, audios, video games, merchandise, classes, and information products
- by learning how to run your small business. There’s a cartoon showing two guys sitting in a bar talking, and one of them is saying to the other: “Since I started freelancing full time, I’ve made quite a few sales…my house, my car, my furniture.” If you don’t want to be like him, you have to take entrepreneurial responsibility for the quality, promotion, and sales of your work.
- by anticipating trends and being flexible and resourceful in figuring out how to solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities
- by learning to kiss change on the lips. Embrace accelerating change as the chance to create ideas, publicity, sources of income, ways to improve how you work, and renew your sense of mission.
Next: the fifth c word in The C Model for Becoming a Successful Writer in the Digital Age–commitment.
The goal of the blog is to help you understand writing, publishing, promotion, and agents. Rants, comments, questions, and corrections are greatly appreciated.
The 9th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 16-20, 2012 / www.sfwriters.org / email@example.com / http://sfwriters.org/blog / @SFWC / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109 / www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference / 415-673-0939 / San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn / Laurie McLean, Dean / free classes / www.sfwritersu.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / @SFWritersU