for the Creatives

Sorry, but there’s no market for your idea…

Many artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers hear that there’s no market for their dream. It’s dire, folks, but here’s some hope for ya.

Psst! I heard that some odd sort of people prefer watching videos over reading articles. Super weird. But weird people are my type of people, so I made a video preview of this blogpost. Now you can go watch the great quirky awkwardness of me instead of reading my awkwardness in blogpost form. 

 

So I was walking through Barnes and Noble and stumbled across these books:

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They were on the shelves in the front, the money-maker shelves. You know what I’m talking about, the shelves that mean publishers have bought into this book, that have said “Yes, these will make money, put them prominently on display for all to see!” Those kind of books.

But these aren’t your typical money-maker books.

Exhibit A: poetry.

Let’s be real, I totally judge books by covers, and I bought “The princess saves herself in this one” without even opening it. But when I did open it, I found poetry. A story in poetry form.

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Poets are notorious examples of being told “there’s no market for your work.” When’s the last time you read poetry from a book? Probably high school. Poets are told they’ll only get interest on cutesy Instagram or Facebook images, and they’ll never get a publishing deal, and if they self-publish, they’ll never have any readers. Yet Amanda Lovelace, I don’t think she listened to that. At least not entirely. Because she wrote poetry and convinced probably an agent and a publisher that her work was worth front shelf placement at Barnes and Noble.

Exhibit B: Cartoon drawings with bad spelling, for adults not kids.

Like seriously, how do you pitch THAT to an agent or publisher? Got me! I’m still trying to figure out how to describe it on a blogpost.

It’s a book of cartoon drawings. An alien comes to earth to study humans, but the alien is bad at spelling and grammar so the book is full of cutesy misspellings, and the alien is actually befriending non-humans like rocks and animals and trees, but it’s insightful and philosophical into what actually makes us human. Oh yeah, it’s not a children’s book, it’s for grown-ups.

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Okay, I have no idea how he pitched it, probably better than me, but I’m just saying if your dream sounds crazy, you’re in good Barnes-and-Noble-front-shelf company.

 

The business guy top secret insight:

After posting that Facebook video about these books, my business school brother messaged something insightful.

I had mentioned that poets often hear stuff like, “Nobody buys poetry anymore, they only read it on cutesy Facebook or Instagram posts.” I had said these authors didn’t listen to that negativity.

My brother noted my claim isn’t quite correct. They did listen to that. They noticed where the audience was and went to it. Amanda Lovelace started on Tumblr before ever being published, and I heard that Jomny Sun was on Twitter before being published. They both went to their market to get their big break. You can find your market and build interest now, too.

There’s a step in the right direction for ya. Past the dreaming and onto a practical tip. This is why my bro will make the big bucks 😉

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for the Writers

10 writing experiments to avoid

My friend was going to do a writing experiment, but was worried I as her writing coach wouldn’t approve. So I sent her a comprehensive list of all the experiments I disapprove of. If you’re thinking of experimenting with your writing, here’s a cautionary look at what experiments to avoid.

  •  Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you refuse to write until 5 years have passed.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you only write when inspired.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you never write again.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you only research your novel but never write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you talk about your idea but never write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you always say you’ll write “someday.”
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you’ll write when you retire.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you open up Facebook instead of write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you binge on movies and books and then talk about how you could write better, but you don’t actually ever write it to write better.
  • Oh no, you’re doing a writing experiment that somehow keeps you from writing entirely.

If you get any idea from this list, know that if you have a writing experiment in mind, I probably wholeheartedly embrace it! In fact, I think the best stories come from being innovative, playing with words, and experimenting.

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If you’re looking for permission to think outside the box, the building, the rules of story, the world of writing, consider this your invitation. Dabble all you want. Just keep writing 🙂

for the Creatives

Build it before Ellen DeGeneres shows up

You get stuck in an elevator with Ellen DeGeneres. This sounds like one of her pranks waiting to happen, but it’s really not. You’re just stuck there. And you start talking about your dream.

  • the book you have in you
  • the music you’re making
  • the product you present to the world
  • the nonprofit you’re creating
  • the community you’re building
  • the art you create

All of the sudden, she buys in. She’s totally sold on YOUR IDEA! How awesome is that, right?

Then she invites you to talk on her show, give a pitch, sell your idea to the world. But right now, she’s walking on stage as you’re rescued from the elevator, “My audience is your audience. Invite them to your dream.” Except, oops:

  • you haven’t written the book
  • you have no music prepared
  • you don’t have a website to direct traffic to
  • you have only 5 pieces to sell and no pictures to show

You now have millions of people ready to buy into your dream, but you have nothing to show for it. Nothing.


Okay, I have not yet been trapped in an elevator with Ellen, and that’s good because I’m not prepared for that either.

But I can on a very very small scale relate. Very very small.
  • Strangers liking my public Facebook posts, but I hadn’t thought to add the Follow button
  • A blogpost that brought 1k+ viewers, but there was no way for non-WordPress users to stay in the loop
  • A free $30 Facebook coupon, but I didn’t have a product to advertise

Sometimes we buy into the lie that if we just had luck on our side, if we could just get the audience that someone else has, then we’d make it. But we can’t wait for opportunity – we have to prepare for it.

I don’t want you to be like me. I mean, in the above ways at least 🙂 When Ellen buys into your idea, I want you to be ready! And I want to be ready.

Here’s how I prepared and am preparing:

  • You can now follow my Facebook profile AND like my Facebook page AND follow me on Twitter
  • You can follow this blog through email (see the sidebar) as well as through WordPress, and I’m working on an email newsletter (you can pre-join the list now, but have grace for my MailChimp stumblings.)
  • I finished the first draft of my quirky meta murder mystery. In the editing process, then finding a way to get it out to all my lovely readers (YOU!)

To introduce your dream to others, make sure you get working on the following:

  • Something tangible to offer: the product, the idea, the work, whatever they need to buy into, get it out of your head and into the real world.
  • A public place for your dream: whether that’s a Facebook page, website, Etsy, blog, email newsletter – your audience needs a place to go once they buy in.
  • An action for your audience to take: buy the product, donate to a cause, follow your blog, spread word to their community….don’t let them just show up and leave.

I’m still a work in progress. But we all are 🙂 We’ll never be entirely ready for the big moment. But let’s do what we can to get there. Build it before they come. And by “they” I mean your audience in general, but especially Ellen 😉

for the Writers, Musings of a Creative

Why Writers Won’t Pay for Your Idea

Excuse me while I burst your bubble.

You hear someone’s a writer, throw your idea for a book at them and say, “You write it, we’ll split the profits.” Or maybe you have a writer friend and give them an idea to add to the story then ask how much of the profits they’ll give you to use it.

Either way: big no-no. Do NOT insult a writer by trying to find out how much money you’ll make from them. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.

You know why?

Because EVERYONE HAS IDEAS. 

Say that with me: EVERYONE.

Writers aren’t looking for ideas. We’re looking for time to write down all the bajillion ideas we have. You don’t get paid for having ideas, you get paid for implementing them. The idea isn’t copyrighted, the physical manuscript or electronic file is.

Even if a writer uses your idea, you don’t get paid. In fact, everything a writer has written is gleaned from ideas they gain through living their life with many many people, and they just can’t pay everyone when they hardly get paid themselves.

 

To publish your idea, you have two choices:

1) You can write the book yourself. 

Don’t worry, there is a second choice.

 

2) If you want someone else to write your story idea, you actually can. It’s called a ghostwriter. You *pay* them – that’s right, they don’t pay you, YOU pay THEM – for their time, energy, and talent. They don’t need an idea, but you need a writer.

 

I know, it sucks, the thoughts of you kicking back, relaxing, and watching the money roll in from a book-to-film bestseller…..but alas, it costs first, either your time & energy or your dollars.

 

 

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