Sunday, March 13, 2011

Writing for a Living? Cutting Out the Middlemen

Making money while doing what you love is sometimes difficult.  If you love doing something it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that other people love it as well.  I love to read and write.  Making a living reading and writing, however, looks like a minefield to navigate.

What is the price of content, and can it be sold for enough to make a living?  Reading this quote from Mayhill Fowler, who wrote for the Huffington Post, makes it seem hopeless:

“I really don’t care that Arianna made all that money,” said Mayhill Fowler. “More power to her. The original premise was not that we would get paid, so I didn’t expect to. But after the election and the fact that they nominated my work for a Pulitzer, I thought that might change. I talked to Arianna about getting paid for my work, and she strung me along for two years and then it never happened.”
So Arianna Huffington made a lot of money off the content given to her by others.  Not a crime but certainly not honorable.  Her Wikipedia article makes it seem like a theme of hers.   How can someone beat a greedy middleman?  Don't get me wrong, I think there is always a function for some middlemen, but thankfully there are clever people out there who can overcome the market power of these people.

I have recently stumbled across an article about a girl who is making a lot of money publishing.  In fact, this girl has netted more than a million dollars doing what she loves.  Her writing appeals to a lot of stay-at-home mothers and teenagers.  I must admit that I do not enjoy her writing at all but how can you argue with such success?  Here is a link to her book "Switched."

Is there a silver bullet?  She claims there is not.  Her pricing scheme, her self-publishing status combined with the fact that e-books are getting popular, together with her strategic decision to choose the genre she did, makes her both lucky and very strategic.  However, there could be hundreds of thousands of authors who have not succeeded but have tried identical strategies.

Amanda had quite a few novels already written when she started selling them on Amazon.  She has written quite a few trilogies (at least two that I know of), pricing the first book in the series at 99 cents and the others and 2.99.  According to this detailed article on Amanda, she makes about 70% of everything she sells.  According to the same article she has netted over a million dollars, very successful for even the best of authors.

So, I don't think all hope is lost for those who want to make a living writing.  The best advice seems to be to work hard, be strategic, and get lucky.... and maybe write in popular genre's, strategically price your books, and network with other authors.  It's not the end of the world if your books get rejected by the middle.

What if you don't want to write novels?  What e-readers and computers have done for self-publishers, google and amazon have done for blogs.  It is still really difficult to gain a following and revenue with a blog but if you have a lot of hard work and consistency you can cut out the middle-men.  I have no examples of bloggers who have become millionaires with their own content.  If any of you guys do I would love for a link in the comments.  Things like this are really interesting to me... hence the title of this new blog and the reason I need a new blog (my other being which has too specific of a mission to have content like this).

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