Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Broader Horizons for Writers

Most of the writers I know have a particular specialty, a certain love for a particular area of the craft.

Nothing wrong with that.

But I have a few suggestions.  Given that the publishing industry is in a state of flux with lots of changes kicking in every day, it's not a bad idea to diversify your options.  Broaden your scope a bit. Not that you should give up your primary love and driving force, but to supplement it.

First, if you're a published author think about adding Epublishing to your portfolio.  Perhaps stories that have gone out of print, or a book that you want to be available to all those Kindle or B&N or iPad readers.  Or maybe you just 'write too much' and it can't all be absorbed that quickly by NY publishing houses. Explore Epublishing. It might be a really worthwhile addition to your career.

Think about this.  If you write in a genre you might consider writing in a 'subgenre' or a number of them. If you write fast it might be just the ticket.  You have to know how much you can handle and not take on more than that. To be a full time fiction writer you need to be prolific - or very lucky. 

Think about other things as well.  Perhaps you can write for magazines.  There are many of them out there and many pay ranges.  If you find some that interest you go ahead and take the plunge.  Develop a proposal and send it to a few, see what kind of reception you get.

You might also think of adding teaching to your list of accomplishments.  Online classes are a great opportunity for the writer to pass on what he or she has learned.  You can charge a fraction of what it would cost for folks to attend classes, workshops or conferences in person, get a great sense of accomplishment and still make the added income you need. Before you dive in consider whether you're up to the demands and responsibilities that come with teaching. Decide how long your class will be.  Twice a week for three weeks?  Once a week for six weeks?  You'll need to be approachable and engage your students.  It becomes a very much one on one kind of teaching.

Along those lines you might also investigate teaching at a local college, community college or university. They might have a class curriculum already in place in need of someone with experience who can lead and answer questions or you might create your own creative writing class and propose it.  See what they already offer and how you might be able to fill in any gaps.

Writers might also consider finding folks to work for who need booklets, instruction books (written in plain English) or other materials written.  It can be a side income that allows you to pursue your first love.

Think about your other interests and consider how writing fits in.  It does fit in almost everywhere.  Look around you, our entire society runs on writers. Who writes the newspaper articles and magazine articles, instruction books, tv scripts, novels, screen scripts, travel writing, text books, web pages and articles, and more?

Pursue your love with a determination that will make it your full time income.  In the mean time use your imagination and  experiment with other ways to use your writing skills to help pay the bills.

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