Monday, September 17, 2018

Diversifying as an Author

Many write to produce a book (or many) that others will enjoy. That and maybe a little extra money is often reward enough. But what if you want to make it a career and quit your day job? What if you want to reach a lot more people?

Authors who have made it big or at least made enough to write full time started where every author begins - with that first book. But they didn’t launch ahead with great sales alone. They realized they needed to expand and give their fans more than just books.

There’s a saying - don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You want many baskets. You want an arsenal of weapons at your disposal to conquer success. Think of it as planting many seeds and a variety of them.

How do you plant different seeds or acquire many baskets? You diversify yourself and what you offer.

How do you do that?

Write different genres:
Step outside your normal genre with or without a pen name

Offer more formats:
Serials in magazines
Foreign translations
Audio books
Games - card game, board game, video game, game app for tablet
Audio/visual - stage, radio, TV, or movie

Speaking:
As an author about your book or the publishing process - book clubs, writing groups, writing or book conferences
As an expert on a topic - conferences & conventions or seminars
Teach a subject - seminars, workshops, conferences, teleseminars, or online programs

Offer tie-ins:
Products or swag that connects with your book, the characters, or the setting. The possibilities are endless - pens, jewelry, mugs, bags, artwork, clothing, figures, etc.

Offer non tie-ins:
Other products you create, collect/sell. Again, the possibilities are endless - crafts, jewelry, knitted or sewn items, stock photos, artwork, candles, figures, comics, etc.

Authors and writers are creative people. Take that creativity and look beyond your first book. Offering more will give your author platform a firmer foundation and a better chance for success.

In what ways could you diversify?

36 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Thank you Diane for some useful tips which I'm sure will come in useful to many people.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dragon of the Stars board game - find the Dragon!

Christine Rains said...

These are some great ideas! Definitely diversify. I'm always impressed with all the multi-talented writers out there who do so many creative things.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great ideas. I am also a non-fiction contract writer. While not as creative as writing a book, I do get a paycheck each month that sort of supports me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane - yes ... and learn about moving forward in all areas you want to move into - study the people who are great in that 'new' field ... so you can ease in comfortably ... makes sense to diversify, as well as be prepared for that new role. Cheers Hilary

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

You have some great ideas here, Diane. I've been thinking about submitting articles/stories to children's magazines. I used to when I first started writing and most of them pay pretty good. It's fun also to write stories (true) for the Chicken Soup books. They pay okay and it's another published story.

Will try some of your other suggestions.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Beverly, those all add up.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

It always amazes me how creative authors can be in finding ways to get their work out and to support themselves. I'm never that clever.

Chrys Fey said...

I only do swag for giveaways or book events. Selling those things sounds a little bit too much for me to keep up with and set up.

Sandra Cox said...

Lots of great ideas here, Di.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

We do tend to stay in our comfort zones, don't we? This is great advice. Gotta stretch ourselves to expand our readership.
Thanks, Diane.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great tips! I've been thinking about how to do this for one of the non-fiction topics I have in the works. Thanks for the brain boost :)

Pat Hatt said...

A boardgame for the cat, how about that lol Sure are many ways. We have the many genres down.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Chrys, if it's a niche item, it works. We're selling art prints of our book covers and more at sci-fi cons and selling well.

Pat, you and Alex can do a cat and dragon board game.

Denise Covey said...

Useful tips, L Diane. I think writing more books is the most important thing for sure.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've done better with some of these things than others!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Diane, Love this article. My takeaways are that we should keep writing, but also step out of our boxes, trying genres of writing. I think this honestly keeps our minds clearer--doing different writing than we're used to.

Teresa

Lynda Dietz said...

It's never a bad idea to diversify. I see it as no different than using a variety of social media platforms—one might work where another doesn't, and in the meantime, your name is out there in a different place.

Great creative ideas!

Rhonda Gilmour said...

Well, I write in three genres, but lately I'm putting all my eggs into the basket that's--damn, my metaphor is crumbling. I'm writing romance because that's what I was able to sell. The rest is simmering on the back burner.

I hope one day to accumulate enough writerly wisdom to be able to teach creative writing as well.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

T, step out of the box and do more.

Lynda, that's it. And when one income stream is low, another surges.

Rhonda, that would be a great option for you.

emaginette said...

I don't usually stick to one genre. Okay, I write mysteries with elements from several genres. It depends on the story at the time. But other than that, I've not thought about it.

But maybe I should. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Juneta Key said...

Great information. Bookmarking page. Thank you.

Loni Townsend said...

The deck of cards is a want of mine. Maybe someday! Great list of suggestions. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, L. Diane,


Hope you made it through the hurricane all right~

What a terrific topic. I agree. It is a good way to get your name out there if you diversify.

Kim Lajevardi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Lajevardi said...

I love that you recommend writing in different genres. I cannot commit, and many agents preach to build an audience in one genre. But I love so many genres. Can you hear the whine in my voice? :)

Elsie Amata said...

It's so funny you mention this, Diane. "This" being audio. I had a thought pop into my head yesterday about doing a podcast in the future. Not sure it will pan out because I have no idea what's involved and what the cost of it will be, but yeah...cool stuff. Thank you for this!

Elsie

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Loni, I can tell you where to get them.

Elsie, you should try it.

Sherry Ellis said...

Good tips. Writers don't always make their money by selling their books, either. A lot of us make more with speaking engagements.

Julie Flanders said...

I've done some speaking events and was surprised how much I enjoyed them. I've always hated public speaking - until I could talk about writing! Then it was almost fun.
Thanks for all these suggestions - you give great advice.

Karen Lange said...

Excellent advice, Diane. Thanks so much. You've already got me brainstorming...:)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Thanks for all the great advice. And, I love the swag!! Tick Tock playing cards. Brilliant.

DMS said...

Great tips! Would love to do audio books of my books. Have looked into it- but really just need to get started. :) I love listening to audio books!

Thanks for sharing.
~Jess

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sherry and Julie, I love doing speaking engagements and they probably pay the best.

Mary, you can order those on the site.

Jess, ACX is a great resource for making audio books.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great advice. I try to have at least a few speaking opportunities per year, but most of them don't pay. Still trying to write in different genres.

Yolanda Renée said...

I really want to teach, maybe to a library group, or seniors. I'll be looking into that soon, I hope!