Q: Can I Write Fiction For A Living?

googleimages2A: It’s possible. But it’s a lot of hard work and you have to have the right people in your corner.

Here’s how you can make writing a career:

1. The Right Team

You need the right people around you to make it work. You need an agent that you trust and connect with. And your agent needs a team that can support you: contracts expert, sub rights manager, film and TV agent, publicity contacts, editorial contacts and much more. You are not alone when you have an agent that is well connected, has their finger on the pulse of your career and is aware of what’s going on in the industry.

2. Sub Rights

This is the #1 way that authors can make writing a full-time job. Sub rights include selling film and TV rights, audio rights, dramatic rights, translation and foreign rights, and many more. When you have multiple books earning money from multiple sources in multiple countries you are on the road to financial sustainability. One good advance isn’t enough; making money year after year is based on revenue earned in sub rights and royalties. The more hands you have pots in the bigger your success will be.

3. Understanding the business

When writers start out in the business they shy away from asking questions that they really should. Continue reading

Platform Building Links

characterOne of the questions that plagues writers is the dreaded PLATFORM. It’s something that I’ve covered before, but is constantly a topic to be discussed.

I’ve put together a list of the newest and best links on writers building platforms.


Fiction writers, this should be last on your ‘to do’ list. Write an amazing book first.

Non fiction writers, this should be the first thing on your list. Build your platform, then write your proposal.

Best Platform Building Links For Authors:

50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes A Day

100 Things For Authors to Tweet About

Personal Branding Is A Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign

3 Apps to Help You Write a Marketing Plan

The Five Essential Ingredients of a Great Online Portfolio

Why Authors Should Embrace Twitter

A CEO’s Guide To Pinterest

64 Amazing Twitter Tips

Why Writers Should Be On Pinterest

How To Conduct An Author Blog Tour

Does Social Media Sell Books? Gillian Flynn’s Agent Gives Her Perspective

And my top platform posts:

Platform Is A Two-Way Street

Author Blog and Website Must-Haves

How Writers Build Successful Online Communities

Did you know you’re already an author brand?

Are you an author brand?

The minute you publish to Twitter, write your first blog post, or call yourself a writer on Facebook–you’ve started to establish your author brand. As soon as you layer your online identity with posts, pictures and anecdotes they craft a persona in the minds of readers and visitors that you can never fully shake. Your brand should be fluid across your social media sites, website and author bio showing your writing style, genre choice, and personal flair. However, the most difficult thing in marketing is not building a brand (though it’s a close second) but changing people’s opinions about a brand identity that they already know. And repositioning a brand can only come from a place of authenticity.

So how is brand positioning important to writers?

Once you’ve finished your manuscript and decided what your brand is–i.e. what makes you unique–you start to think about how your author brand would position itself with a partner: an agent. This agent already has a brand–the type of authors they represent, their representation style, their reputation with the deals they’ve done–and your best chance at success is pairing yourself with an agent whose brand umbrella you fit under.

Just like a publisher has a brand and their imprints fit snuggly, but uniquely, within it, agents manage their authors based on the brand of their agency and what fits within the areas of what they represent. An agent only takes authors on that they a) want to work with for a career and b) think they can sell, two things that are defined by their existing brand and for which information is available. Continue reading

Digital strategy, do you have one?

An agent’s job is changing as rapidly as the publishing industry itself. We’re carving out new territory for our authors and ourselves. The support we give our authors is more complex in recent times and if you didn’t think you needed an agent before you certainly need one now to help you with your online presence, digital strategy for ebooks and otherwise, negotiate tumultuous and evolving contracts, and all the traditional publishing problem solving.

With the limitless abilities to upload content and provide your readers with entertainment I caution against thoughtlessly self publishing. Even while you are pursing a traditional publishing deal and think that will be your main market your self published works reflect on your author brand more than you know.

It is all too easy, and unintentional, to confuse readers and the marketplace with a website that is ineffective as a platform, and self published work that doesn’t support your growing brand. Things like consistent visual identifiers between your blog, social media, website and cover images are the easiest way to create a brand. This being colour, logos, cover images, tag lines and more.

Think of your website as a hub for the spokes of your brand. Continue reading