Monday, July 24, 2006

10 Things Savvy Writers Can Do to Maximize Profits (Part 2 of 2)

Copyright 2006 Tonya M. Evans-Walls, Esquire. All rights reserved.

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I am posting today from the amazing central coast of California, home of some amazing wines, including Pinot Noirs (think Sideways). I plan to do extensive research and will let you know of my findings (after a long nap). In fact, I have a separate Web site devoted to wine appreciation set to be launched next week: Stop by and take a sneek peak!

This part is the second in a two-part post titled 10 Things Savvy Writers Can do to Maximize Profits. I encourage you to incorporate any or all of these into your plans to master your craft, add value to the lives of your customers, and increase your profits too! Maybe we can have it all.

6. Invest in your project. If you intend to catapult your writing career to the next level, then forget about pinching pennies. Now, you should always look for the best price so I encourage you to get several price quotes for all services related to the production and promotion of your book. But don't try to save money, for instance, by having your cousin who received an A in high school english proof your manuscript. Or worse yet, do it yourself! In 99% percent of the cases, you get what you pay for (or don't).

7. Add value to your book. Be sure to create a compelling reason for people to buy your book because your title is competing for consumer attention and shelf space with the more than 195,000 books that are published each year. What makes yours special? Why should people read your book rather than watch TV, surf the Net, listen to music or partake of the infinite number of entertainment outlets available today? Make sure you know the answer to that question before your book hits the shelves.

8. Begin with the end in mind. Assess the overall reason for you to publish your work and the ultimate goal. Is it for historical legacy purposes requiring only a small number of books (less than 500); to have a calling card for your business (helping you to "expertise" yourself in your chosen profession); for fame or money (if so, find something else to do!)? Understanding your motives and expecations on the front end will help you to formulate a viable plan of action to increase your likelihood of success down the road.

9. Know your competition. You should know about the other books likely to compete with your book and be able to point to areas of differentiation between yours and the competition. You should also know the pricing for similar books in your genre and/or format; (i.e. Don't price your 120-page paperback at $29.95 if every other book like yours is $12.95.)

10. It's about who you know-- Networking is key. Take a "Survivor" or "Big Brother" approach to networking - study the successful and form key alliances to ensure your success. Identify people in the industry doing what you want to do, study their paths to success, apply what might work in your situation, and ditch the rest. And when you meet someone special or when someone takes the time to help you, always follow up with a handwritten thank you note. Now I know this is a radical idea in this day and age of electronic overload and junk mail piled to the ceiling. But imagine how refreshing it would be to receive mail from someone (a real person whom you've met) who does not want anything in return and who actually took the time to write a note. Priceless. Memorable. Something to set you apart from the masses.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can I refer to real people and events in my fictional story set in the 30s - 50s? (Historical Fiction)

Historical fiction is a popular writing genre that generally incorporates fictional and historical characters in a specific, well-researched historical period and setting. The heart of good historical fiction rests in the soundness of the research and authenticity of the historical references. But historical fiction should include a well-written disclaimer stating that the work is one of fiction so readers will know that the plot was developed or history altered with the purposeful literary freedom of historical fiction—poetic license—and is not the result of inadvertent inattention or worse.

Well, I hope these suggestions are helpful. If you have other suggestions or want to submit a question, please post a comment or send an email to . Now, I really must go. I think I hear the clinking of Riedel wine glasses and, after all, it is happy hour somewhere in the world.


Tonya Evans-Walls


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