I was tooling through some of our older posts here at Writers Helping Writers, and I found a “how are we doing?” one from The Bookshelf Muse era. This is where we would do a check in with you guys and make sure we’re not totally screwing this whole blogging thing up. 🙂
Seeing it reminded me that it’s been a long time since I checked in, so that’s what I’m doing today. But this time, I’m not just asking how we’re doing, and if we’re meeting your needs, but also asking…
What Do You Need?
As writers, we need a lot of things to succeed…support. Time to write. Knowledge, gosh…SO MUCH knowledge. Oceans of it, about everything–writing, marketing, publishing and so much more.
(And hey, a bit of luck would be nice too.)
Unfortunately with Becca and I being on this side of the computer, and you guys on that side, we can’t come do that pile of laundry that’s eating the top of your washing machine, or watch your kids so you can write (and frankly, I don’t know that you want me looking after your kids, mwah-ha-ha), but…we do have ears. We’re listening.
And while Becca and I have still so much to learn, in the last few years, we’ve also acquired some potentially useful experience. Maybe some of it can help you.
- We’ve written and self-published five books that have gone on to sell nearly 200,000 copies combined (English only). Now we didn’t do this through ads, or by using Kindle Unlimited, or offering free downloads or using services like BookBub, so we don’t have experience with those things. But, we’re happy to talk about what we did do, and what worked/what didn’t.
- We’ve negotiated foreign right deals via agents and sub agents for all our books, print and digital, so we understand that process. And we can share what we looked for in a foreign rights agent, and what a typical FR deal might look like.
- Knowing exactly zero about blogging, we started a blog. It’s now past 4 million hits, believe it or not (and thanks for that, cause that’s all you!) So our trial-by-fire knowledge is yours for the taking.
- We’ve started several businesses in this time, and so have worked with lawyers to hammer out operation agreements and set up banking and accounting for each. We’ve re-branded ourselves and then trademarked that brand. We’ve created non-book products and copyrighted those products.
- We’ve dealt with copyright infringement and had books removed from Amazon as a result. And, one thing that comes with having an original idea as we did is the rise of fast followers (copycats). Struggling to stay ahead of those is very hard, but part of the business. I know this stuff isn’t the sexy side of writing, but it is necessary to understand it if you want this as a career. Becca and I also have the added challenge of being co-authors in different countries. We’re happy to shed light on any part of the business end of being an author.
- To help with the last point, we learned how to create and follow a business plan to help us prioritize better and and manage our time, without which we would never be able to manage all the spinning plates. Becca and I have only met twice in real life, so learning how to work with someone remotely, divvy up work and respect one’s another’s expertise really plays into what we do. And now of course we have One Stop For Writers and another partner, Lee Powell, which means more teamwork and honing that skill set.
- We’ve had to figure out how to market ourselves in a world that hates promotion, and use social media the right way (when like most writers, we didn’t quite get social media at first!) But, we’ve discovered how to do it and stay true to who we are, building relationships and creating a true community spirit among our readers.
- Speaking of Lee, Becca and I can also add web-based software to the list of strange things we now have experience in. Building and then running a site is no easy task and has a learning curve, but again, happy to talk about this if branching away from books is something you guys are considering for yourself. One Stop also made it necessary for me to start an online platform from scratch, and so I’ve learned a lot about social media all over again as someone “new” to it, as One Stop is only 5 months old.
- Assessing opportunities is another thing Becca and I have gotten better at, simply because as you network and your career grows, more opportunities come your way. And like publishing contracts, or visibility opportunities, some of what comes may be great, but other things are not. Sometimes an opportunity will come along that is completely off-beat, taking your in a different direction, and so you really have to decide if the time and energy it will take is worth deviating from your current plan. There’s only one of you, and so you have to make good decisions about where your time goes. Learning how to sort good opportunities from flat ones is a necessary skill set for all authors.
Well, that’s pretty much a snapshot of our last four years. 🙂 Becca and I are still learning so much each day, and we’re stretching ourselves daily to do better. To reach the next step. And like anyone, as we grow, we pick up tidbits of knowledge. So if something we have dealt with is something can now help you, let us know!
Being a writer means taking steps, one after the other, to get closer to our goals. Can we help you get to the next one?
Feel free to use the comments to tell us what is on your mind, what is weighing you down, what you are struggling with. Tell us what is making you feel like you can’t get ahead. And then please, tell us what you need. We’re by no means experts, but if we can, we’ll try to help. We know a lot of good places to go for information, and can maybe point you in the right direction for certain things.
And while we’re at it, let us know what you’d like to see blogged about. Or what new Thesaurus Collections you’d like us to explore, or even what book you would like to see us write next. We’re always interested in your ideas!