Thinning the Herd
Happy 5th of July. The holiday is over, and we are once again in front of our keyboards with glazed over, crusty eyes, a 2-liter mug of coffee, and a fistful of Adderall. (Well, that’s what I heard!)
A few of us are writing, some procrastinating, and others are carefully monitoring their twenty minute allotment of daily social media time. If you’re in that last group, go ahead and click the little red ‘X’ in the corner of your browser window. You are beyond my meager abilities to help.
Are they gone? Ok, the rest of you listen up. I’m about to share the magic words of publishing that will instantly catapult you to a JK Rowling degree of success.
The Magic Words Are:
Tagging, Liking, Linking, Sharing, Tweeting, +1 ing, +K ing, Commenting, Friending, Following, Fanning, Voting, Pinning, Blogging, Branding, Posting, Hosting, Touring, Tribing, ‘Pal’ing, Poling, Playing, and Praying.
I’m still figuring out how they work, but trust me, when I do, we’ll all be rich! Until then, I have another idea. Since I’ve totally just messed with the SEO crawlers, let’s talk about dentistry.
Writers and Dentists
“Huh? Did he say ‘dentistry’?”
Ahem… Thank you.
Dental Consultants exist because most new dentists have neither the knowledge nor the desire to run a business. Businesses are like children, though. They need care, nourishment, and comfortable cages plus proper guidance if they are to be successful. Deny them these, and they will give you pain and chaos in return.
“Um, Mister Greg, Are you at the right blog? We are writers, not dentists.”
Yes, thank you. I’m getting to that.
Writers, like dentists, have very specific skill sets which, sadly, do not include managing a business. That’s why the advice I gave the Tooth Doctors is just as applicable to us Word Doctors. Without (much) further goofing off, here are the foundational elements of that advice.
1. Know yourself and your purpose for doing this job.
I’m talking about your Brand as a writer, and your mission statement as a business. These come from your writing style and personality, they define you, and inform every professional decision you’ll make. I’ll share my mission statement, just to get you started.
“My mission is to make a comfortable living writing Scary, Gory, Monster Horror, with positive messages and firearm safety tips for K through 4th grade readers.”
If only I could think of a “sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven” writer who exemplifies Brand… I’ll get back to you on that.
2. State your professional values.
Now that you know who you are and what you hope to accomplish, is there a line in the sand that you won’t cross to attain it, or will you do whatever it takes? Unambiguously state your Values, and never compromise them.
“I will never sacrifice the quality of my work just to have my name on another book.”
“I won’t let trivial things like Professional Editing and Cover Art keep me from making a self-imposed deadline.”
“I never met a sock puppet that didn’t ‘Like’ me back.”
Whether you want to keep your soul, or just get top dollar for it, your values statement will guide you and define your boundaries.
3. Set goals
Goals are specific and attainable, or they don’t count. They come in French Fry sizes (chips, for our former masters across the pond), and you should utilize them all.
If your Super-Sized goal is ‘I want to earn enough money to quit my day job, and hire my spouse to hand-wash my running socks,’ then your Large and Medium sized goals will be the monthly, weekly, and daily activities that move you closer to it.
Final words (at last!)
You know who you are (Brand), what you hope to accomplish (Mission), how you want to accomplish it (Values), and the activities required for success (Goals). Now it’s time to make a commitment.
Make a schedule.
Share it with someone who will punish you, or at least say mean things to you if you break it, and reward yourself for keeping it by yelling at someone who didn’t.
Here’s a great example of a successful writer’s schedule.
So, tell me, all you dentists writers in WG2E-Land: Do you see yourselves as business owners? Do you have mission statements, values, goals, and schedules? What other tools help you stay on track?
The Best of Indie Epublishing Business Wishes — Greg Carrico
Greg is a former Dental and Practice Management Consultant, software trainer, and salesdude. Enduring years of torture in the dental and technology industries uniquely qualified him for his new career of writing horror and dark science fiction stories. When not creating new worlds and plotting their destruction, Greg reviews indie books for Live the Story. He lives his story in Central New York, with his wife and three small canine overlords, who he faithfully serves by trying to educate people about the horrors of puppy mills, and the joys of adopting the dogs rescued from them. You can read about Charlee, the Bichon Frise who came from a puppy mill in Texas, all the way to New York, twice, to rescue Greg, here.
Greg is also a superfab WG2E Street Team Member and a big part of our Beach Book Blast Team too!