The 3 Types of Writers
So, there are three types of writers, okay? The first type is this, it's called the working writer. This is a person who makes money off of their writing. So if you're somebody who just goes 'I just want to write, like I just want to sit down for eight hours a day and write. I want to be like Stephen King, or Anne Lamott', or whoever. You can do that, like you can actually do that. This idea that like, well you don't make much money off of books. Not true. I'm going to share with you later today, somebody who this year got a $200, book contract. First book, never published a book. Started a blog last year. It still works. Working writer, this is somebody who they write books, they write articles. They work on writing and editing projects. They are writing, writing, writing. It's 80-90 percent of how you're spending your time. Example of this, a student I worked with, is Stacey Claflin, she is a self published, indy fiction writer. And Stacy is a full time writer today. What did she do?
Well, first of all she focused on a marketable genre. She wrote young adult paranormal romance. You know, kind of like 'Vampire Stories' and that sort of thing. Think 'Twilight'. Very marketable genre in the past several years. She ended up launching a website, she started an e-mail list so that she could connect with her readers, and the next time that she had a book coming out, she would have an audience to share it with. And she published a ton of content. Get this, Stacey was working as a stay at home Mom, and she also ran a home daycare. And you know, very busy, not a lot of time to write, she would get up a little earlier everyday before all the craziness of the kids took over her house, she would work on one of her stories. She wrote and published 20 works of fiction, novels and novellas in three years. So she worked hard, right? She did the work and she ended up becoming a USA Today Best selling author, which is a big, big deal. And she did it two times. She is a full time author, she makes money primarily off of writing fiction books, and publishing them. So the pro of this, as the working writers, you get to write a lot. Like if you want to write, then this is your jam. The Con to this, is like, you have to write a lot. It's all on you. And, so if you get sick, if you get hurt, like, your business, as it were, is over. And so the strategy that Stacey used is the strategy that a lot of fiction writers like to use, particularly in Indy space, is write, publish, repeat. Write a bunch of stuff, publish it on Amazon, and repeat. So what happened with Stacey, is she launched a book, she put it on Amazon, she discounted it really low, and even made the first book free, got a bunch of readers. You know, people on Amazon, which is one of the largest search engines in the world. And it is the number one paid search engine, it's the only search engine where people have their credit cards out ready to buy things. So lots of qualified leads. And she published it, people you know, bought or read the book. At the end of the book there is a link back to their website, they go back to her website. She says sign up for my e-mail list, you'll get the next part of the story, more information about me. And she did this over, and over, and over again, and over the course of three years, 20 books, built up an audience and went full time. That's the working writer. The second type of writer, is what I call the Author-preneur. This is maybe, what, you know if you watched people on the internet, like kind of talk about how to become a full time writer, this is one of the more popular models that we see online today. And it works, it's really great. So this is the person who makes money off of the business of their writing. And so the income streams tend to be books, also courses, events, you can even do services, software, you name it. So the books can sell, you can make a lot of money off of your books, but you're really like, from the book, you're generating leads to back and product services and other offerings, and we've all probably seen this online in a variety of contexts. It's not the only way to do it, but it's certainly a popular way to do it. Somebody that I worked with recently is a woman by the name of Shaunta Grimes. And Shaunta is an author-preneur. What does she do exactly? She was basically a failed novelist, we're going to talk to her later today so we hear more of her story. And she decided well, you know, she had two books published with 'An imprint of a penguin', one of the largest publishers in the world. They didn't sell well, she was going to publish a third book, they discontinued it. And she said 'Well, what did I learn from this, I learned that the publisher isn't going to help me market my book, I'm going to have to do that. So I need a website, I need an e-mail list, I need all these things that I keep hearing about that I didn't do.' And she also realized 'What do I know about? I know about writing.' And so she ended up doing a series on her blog that was like a lifestyle blog. And it was about how to write a book, and she eventually turned it into a website called "Whatisaplot.com', and she got really focused on an area where she could help people, so she focused on a unique topic, writing. She launched a website, Whatisaplot.com. Particularly fiction writing. She started an e-mail list, she had never done this before. She grew the e-mail list to about 10,000 people. And last year she made over $100,000. How did she do this? She did it through writing. She did it through a community of writers that she was helping. This is the author-preneur. It doesn't have to be writing focused, but this is something that Shaunta was very excited about. She will share more of her story later. And it worked really well for her. The Pro to this, being an Author-preneur, is that you can scale. You can create products that make money for you while you're sleeping. Shaunta has a course about how to write a novel in a year. She is working on some other products and different ways of making money. And now she has a ton of flexibility to work on her next novel. The Con to this is, is you have to do more than just write. If you're going 'I want to be a real writer.', right? Then you might be more of the working writer. And this is a real writer, it's just a different mod, you have to do more than write, you probably have to have or be able to acquire a little bit of business savviness. And the strategy here is to teach what you know. Derek Sivers says 'What's obvious to you, is amazing to others.' We all have something that is obvious to us, but when we share with other people, they go 'Wow that's so incredible.' That is your genius, that is the thing you have to share with the world that people really need to hear. And you monetize that. The third type is the thought leader. This is somebody who makes money off of their ideas. When you think about about like, big A-list top level writers, this is often what you're thinking about, particularly in the non-fiction space. Although you can be any genre and typically fit into one of these three buckets, it just is how you're going to structure your business. So they make money off of their ideas. Think of like a Simon Cynic, or a Malcolm Gladwell. So they write books, and the books can sell really well, and you can have big book contracts. But the idea of the book is that it's going to spread an idea, which can then turn into other income streams, like speaking. Very popular to do the author speaker thing with the thought leader. You could also do consulting, coaching. Again, you're getting paid to share your ideas, and this goes beyond just kind of the tactical. If you're a thought leader, its because you have some idea, some thing, this huge idea that you think could change the world. You're very passionate about getting that out there. And you basically be willing to give away the idea for free, through a Ted Talk or a book, or whatever. And you know that if it catches on, there's going to be a way to make money off of this. Again, through those income streams I talked about. Speaking and consulting are big ones. An example of this, I mentioned him earlir, is Ben Hardy. This is somebody who, came onto the writing scene pretty recently and is now a full time writer. What did Ben do? First he focused on a unique topic. You know, that sounds familiar. And he focused on self help and personal development, particularly as it pertains to values. He launched a website, he started an e-mail list, and he focused on guest posting. This is one of the things we're going to talk about quite a bit today it's an important strategy. Guest posting is writing on other people's websites. In particular, he got a lot of success on writing for medium.com. Medium.com is a free online magazine that a lot of writers are contributing to today. He wrote on a bunch of different websites and then he realized 'Everytime I write on Medium I get more e-mail subscribers.' So he focused on that, he kept doing what works, he wrote two articles for Medium every single day for a year. He grew his audience to 100, e-mail subscribers in about 12 months. And then he called me, and said 'What should I do?', I was like 'What do you want to do?', and he's like 'I want a book deal.' I was like 'Now's a good time to go get a book deal.' Never been published before, didn't have an agent. Over the course of a few months, got an agent and got a book deal with one of the big five publishers, and got a book deal worth over $220,000. We're going to hear from him later today, he's going to break down exactly what he did, how he did it in more detail. This is the thought leader. The pro to this, is you get paid for your ideas. It's a cool thing, I think of things, I want to share them with people who want to pay for them in one way or another. The con to this is you tend to publish books less frequently. You know, think of like an Anthem Glabel, he writes a book ever four, five, six years. Dan Pink is another example, and then you kind of hit the road. A Renee Brown would fit into this category as well, big, big thought leaders. They write books and then they go speak, and share those ideas with the world, for years and then when they have another big idea, because big ideas are hard to come by. They'll write another book. So if you want to write book after book after book, this may not be in your lane. And again, this is something where it's all on you, you get hurts. Your business is basically you and maybe an assistant and that's it. Its not going to scale, and that's not really the point, the point is, you have ideas, you share them and you get paid for them. The strategy that Ben used I think is a really good one, is he owned a channel. He found something that worked for him. And we're all going to experience this. We will try that other people say work for them really well, and they don't work as well for us. That's okay, there's lots of strategies. But when you find something that works, like a channel to publish your writing, and it works really well keep doing more of what works. So what did all these people do? They followed a proven process, and these are just three examples. But like I said, I see hundreds of people do this, like personally I walk them through this, I see them succeed. And over the years I've developed a process. In my online courses and teachings, we call these people "Tribe Writers". Writers have a tribe of an audience, and so this 12 step process is that process. And we're going to break all these down together. And it is a proven process, it works when you do the work and if you don't, it doesn't work.