I've been banging on about this, as you might have noticed, and my comments were noticed by screen-writer and coach, Adrian Mead. Actually, we'd met each other at a conference where we were both speaking a while ago, and had both meant to get in touch, but Adrian beat me to it. So, I asked him to write something for you. He had two suggestions, which I decided would make two separate guest posts, and he kindly agreed.
Today's post is about treating your writing life like a business. When I'd been in Adrian's event, he'd begun by testing the audience with some questions about their business-skills - he mentions it in his article below - and I'm and relieved to say that I was in the last group standing!
Later, I'm getting Adrian back to talk about screen-writing opportunities for writers.
Let me tell you about him. He formerly worked as a night club bouncer and a hairdresser before stumbling upon the world of film and Television. He has since directed six short films and has developed a career as a writer of television drama. His credits include ITV's "The Last Detective", "Blue Dove", "Where The Heart Is", BBC's "Paradise Heights","The Eustace Brothers", "Waking The Dead".
In 2005 Adrian wrote and directed his first feature film "Night People", winner of the BAFTA Scotland and Cineworld Audience Award and also nominated for Best screenplay. Screenings at numerous international festivals followed with a UK theatrical release in 2006/7. He is currently developing a number of Film and TV projects with UK and International production companies and broadcasters.
His book Making It As A Screenwriter launched in September 2008 and was hailed by leading industry professionals as the definitive career guide for aspiring screenwriters. "Every aspiring writer should be forced to read this, at gunpoint." - James Moran, Screenwriter: Severance, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Spooks Code 9, Crusoe. Adrian is represented by Cathy King at Independent Talent Group (formerly known as ICM London)
GUEST POST BY ADRIAN MEADNovelist, journalist, screenwriter, biographer...it's all writing. But how do you get paid for it? Well, one thing is certain, whatever field you hope to break into you must be prepared to take yourself seriously and plan a career strategy.
The following article isn't meant to be a downer, quite the opposite in fact. I hope to offer some very practical steps to help you achieve your dream of making a living as a writer. If you don't need the money and are writing purely for the joy of it, look away now. This article is definitely not for you. If you want money read on.
I make my living as a writer and director of film and TV and love my job. I have to be able to deal with constant rejections, deliver to strict deadlines, cope with numerous rewrites and still keep smiling. That's why it pays very well. I had no formal training and no connections to the industry when I started out. What I did have was a plan which enabled me to change career. I went from from bouncer and hairdresser, yes I know, very odd combination, to award winning writer and director.
As a result of my unusual route into the business I often get asked to speak to novelists and screenwriters. I don't teach them how to write, I teach them how to get a job and I've worked with hundreds of aspiring writers who claim they are passionate about pursuing their dream.
It usually takes less than two minutes for them to prove to me they are doomed to fail.
How can I say this with such certainty? Well, at most events where say 100 aspiring writers are gathered, I get them to stand up whilst I test their career strategy. Let's try it. Imagine you are stood with the audience. If you answer no to any question you sit down. Ready?
Remain standing if...
a) You believe you have the talent and tenacity to become a professional writer. (Lost a couple already)
Remain standing if...
b) You have brought business cards with you today. (Shockingly I have lost whole audiences with this one question. How are you going to promote yourself?)
Remain standing if...
c) You know exactly what your monthly financial outgoings are. (They are tumbling like skittles now! How can you run a business if you don't know what your overheads are?)
At this point usually 97 of the 100 are sitting down and the questions that follow reveal the few that are left standing are well organised, proactive and have set goals for what they want to achieve. At this point I usually discover at least one of them is another speaker at the event. [That was me! NM] So, out of 100 "passionate and committed writers" no more than one 1 or 2 of them will ever go on to make a full time living from their work....and I'm probably being very generous in my estimation. Don't believe me? Ask those who teach or run courses for an honest opinion and I'm sure they will agree, off the record of course. The vast majority who have passed through their classes have given up or failed to achieve their goal.
Now, I'm not criticizing the teachers, there are some great courses and events taught by very smart, passionate individuals. However, when it comes to passing on knowledge the old saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" is never truer. Knowledge is useless until it becomes an action and if I lost you with the first few questions you are wasting your time and money simply by failing to take the necessary and appropriate action.
Be honest. How long have you been trying to become a pro and how successful have your efforts been? Not happy with your results? Then the following 100% accurate prediction should scare the hell out of you -
If you keep on doing what you're doing, you will keep on getting what you're getting.Sure, you've probably heard me say it before, but it's true! Every time you get frustrated or disappointed you need to remind yourself of this and take action. Here's just a couple of simple things you can do to boost your career prospects.
1. WHY IS ANYONE GOING TO PAY ME?
Ask yourself that question. Why pay for your opinion, because ultimately that's what all writing is.
You keep hearing there's no money to be earned as a writer unless you learn to diversify. We are all going to have to work with a splintered income stream, gained from writing articles, games, novels, screenplays, plays, multi platform projects, the range of potential income is vast and daunting. Where do you start? Easy.
Make it so people come to you.
For that you need a Unique Selling Point, (USP). For example my USP for a long time was that weird job combination I mentioned earlier, bouncer by night and hairdresser by day. I was an authority on a very male, sometimes funny and often violent world. In contrast I was also able to talk about the kind of intimate secrets woman shared in the salon chair.
So what's your USP? What are you going to use to sell you? It's not enough just to be talented, we all want the truth, the genuine article that speaks with authority and that's what you need to be selling. It may be an experience you had, a former career, someone you have cared for...or hurt. Become the "go to guy or gal" for a certain area of stories.
Haven't got a USP? Then get one. Controversy always gets people's attention. Do your research into a highly controversial area and become the expert in your chosen field. Volunteer for an organization and gain an insight into another world that people want to know about. Be able to speak a truth and publicize the fact via your blog, website etc. Not only will your writing be better but you will be the voice of authority that people seek out.
2. DON'T SEND E MAILS CHASING WORK. Speculative emails are the equivalent of throwing out a message in a bottle.
Write a phone script.
Practice what you are going to say.
Get a name and make sure you know who you are sending your ideas to.
Then follow up. Be polite but tenacious.
3. LEARN THE BUSINESS you want to write for. Nuff said.
4. WANT VERSUS NEED. Okay, remember we are here to make money and as all the idealists, hobby writers and folk with fat pensions have turned their eyes away for the moment we can get down to the dirty basics. Before you start writing you need to ask yourself the question "Who will want this?" Seems obvious doesn't it? But is that what you do, or do you mix it up with "people need this". Most of us need to live a healthier lifestyle, but we don't want it enough to make the extra effort. If you are going to pour your efforts into any project give yourself a fighting chance of making money by at least writing to an existing market, one that wants that product.
For example. Selling original drama scripts to producers and financiers is becoming impossible. Relationship dramas, Coming Of Age stories etc are the kiss of death to raising money from investors and studios. They want a clear and simple concept they can market to an established and accessible audience demographic. That means genre projects - thrillers, comedies, horror, action. If your idea can't be marketed with that simple, clear label the money men get twitchy. Getting a film, book or play noticed is easier if it's got a hook that grabs people's attention. That means genre, stars, major controversy or based on a well known and already successful property, such as graphic novels. These are more popular than ever as a source for screen adaptation and below is an extreme, but excellent example of what I've been talking about.
Logline: After the remains of Pinocchio are discovered, Red Riding Hood, now a noted wolf hunter, and Jack the Giant Killer partner to discover who is murdering the creatures of folklore all of whom are supposed to be protected by a charm that renders them almost immortal. Along the way, they are assisted by Goldilocks, a mercenary, and Hansel & Gretel, now psychic exterminators.
Writer: Nick Percival (creator)
Prod. Co: Imagine Entertainment Radical Pictures
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Graphic novel published by Radical Comics. Imagine's Ron Howard an& Brian Grazer and Radical's Barry Levine will produce.
You can see the poster already! Well known characters given an intriguing twist, with a clearly defined and exciting goal. Just wish I'd pitched it first.
Okay, next article I'll be talking about why novelists and short story writers need to be considering screenwriting as an income source and how to approach the industry.
* * *
Hard-hitting, eh? Now, of course, if you are a poet or you are genuinely writing purely for the pleasure it gives you and for the art, and happy to find just a few dedicated readers, and if you really don't mind not having any more than a handful of paying readers, that's fine, ignore what Adrian and I are saying. But, if you're a professional writer, you simply have to think along these lines. Don't be depressed - either be inspired, or walk away and continue to enjoy writing as a hobby.
Comments, anyone? Remember, this is a practical article, not about the craft of writing but about how to make a living from it. (Actually, I believe that the attempt to make a living also hones your writing and develops you as a versatile writer.) We have to take all this on board, not to follow it slavishly but to understand it as reality and to adapt it wherever possible to our own situation, needs and wishes.
* * *MEANWHILE.....Want to know how to get work in the best paying area of writing? Grab your place now at REWRITE: An insider's guide to working with script editors and producers. This one day course will introduce you to producers, screenwriters and script editors who will provide you with the practical information you need to build a career in screenwriting. These classes always sell out early so don't miss out. For more details go to www.meadkerr.com
"Adrian Mead's classes are brilliant - exciting, informative and inspirational. Nobody does it better!"
Alanna Knight Edinburgh / "Attending one of his classes gives you all the tools you need to succeed. The rest is up to you!" Katherine Edgar / "There are two things you need to break into the industry as a new writer - talent ........... and a day with Adrian Mead." Afua Naa-Lamle Viana
Hmmm...the tenacity is fine but the talent? Questions 2 & 3 were not a problem - all I have to do is convince myself of the second half of the first!
Great post. And very timely for me as I have been thinking for a while that I need to be more business like about my writing if I'm ever going to make more than a small amount of money from it.
I need to decide on the next step and Adrian's words are definitely an inspiration to do that.
Mmmm. I failed the test very early on because although I ticked all the other boxes I do not have business cards to throw around. (And I have a reason for that--basically I hate the horrid little things.) Am I a hobbyist or an idealist? No. I take my writing very seriously and understand that one has to be professional, pro-active and seek out the right markets with tenacity. I know what my outgoings are and I keep accounts.
So, although he says he's talking to all writers and not specifically screenwriters, I feel his is a slightly different--and more cut-throat--world. But then again, perhaps I should go back to my ivory tower.
Sally - it doesn't have to be, literally, a "business" card. I have business-card-sized cards with the cover of my latest book on one side and a quote + my website address on the other. What anything like this does is that when you meet someone and they ask what you do, and you say you're a writer and they say "How interesting", you hand them the card and then when they wake up next morning, or whatever, they've got that thing to remind them of your name, which they've probably forgotten. It is really useful and not at all icky, even for us creative types in ivory towers. Even in those towers, we'd like to sell more books, wouldn't we? We need to, or our publishers won't renew our contracts. It's really about making new friends, readers and contacts. A little card is a pretty, visual reminder of your book - and makes a great bookmark!
Ah. Bookmarks. I have those with my email address on and have flashed those about a bit--not that I'm convinced they actually sell books. And it's those 'Joanna Bloggs--Writer' type that really make me cringe.
Great post and very helpful advice. I could answer yes to only a few quetions though - oh dear!
I have hundreds of business cards - not really being used for their purpose though (being used to take notes on) I've got some with mixed different pictures on them - got a bit picture happy on Moo.com one day - not really relevant though lol.
Hi, Adrian here. One of the reasons I agree to occasionally speak at events (besides the money!) is that I see so many creative people made miserable by a lack of success. Yet so often it is because they are failing to make a plan and fully commit. In many cases you assume you lack the talent, when in fact it is because you lack a clear, focused career building strategy.
Of course you need talent, however there is no point half trying at being a professional creative. That way lies rejections and misery.
Writing as a hobby is great therapy and a way to meet other creative folk. I heartily recommend it. However, you are a baby duck on a motorway if you think you can "have a go" at turning pro.
There is an ancient, not so secret formula for success -
TALENT + STRATEGY + EFFORT = Success
So, which areas are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Yeah, so I completely agree, but to be honest I cannot do 2, because I want to cater to English speaking markets, while I am situated in a non-English country.
I am most likely to mess up whatever finances I am to calculate [so not math oriented, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?]
I have seen some fantastic writing-type business cards - some people even have a CD with their contact details and a recording of them reading from their book. I have two - one is a very simple A6 flyer with an awful pic (but it serves the purpose of reminding people who that guy with the beard they couldn't get away form at the bar actually was) and contact details on one sied, and a poem of mine on t'other. The other is a foldy thing rather like those origami jobs we we used to make at school, with a different one of my (see I'm diversifying!) hats on each bit.
A few little points back at Adrian (little points - very interesting and as ever useful post - we need to be reminded about being professional)
1. " How long have you been trying to become a pro and how successful have your efforts been? Not happy with your results? Then the following 100% accurate prediction should scare the hell out of you - If you keep on doing what you're doing, you will keep on getting what you're getting."
- to be taken with EXTREME caution. I used to be a powerlifter (no, really, I DID. For 4 years. I even threw discus for my university), and our training regimes could shed a lot of light on this. 90% of the time it IS a question of carrying on doing what you're doing, but every once in a while that will start getting you nowhere. you've hit a plateau. Much of what's written about powerlifting is about "plateau-busting", but much of what a powerlifter does is about getting to those plateaus by the same old same old. With powerlifting it's very easy to spot the plateaus, because you are dealing in easy measurables. With writing it's less easy - much less easy. Because the measurables aren't measurable. Sometimes the same old same old that seems to be getting you nowhere will be building up unseen to a tipping point (anyone who hasn't read Gladwell, it's as essential reading as any how-to book). Sometimes it will be a sign of genuine stagnation. It may be impossible to distinguish. A powerlifter who's going to get to the top will probably hit around 4 genuine plateaus on the way. My guess is that the writer will do the same - and when you do, Adrian's advice is key. But what you need first is some really good advice on spotting the REAL plateaus.
2. It used to be that how-to gurus would have a good laugh at their audience when they talked about a "unique selling point" before shaking their head smugly and saying "it's proposition". Now it's the how-to people who say "point". When did that change?
3. "TALENT + STRATEGY + EFFORT = Success" Any regular readers know why I think this is bad science but good advice
4. Nicola, people are always saying that about poetry, but really, live performance is getting to be quite a hot ticket now, and it's poets who are in the fore
Just a quick one, for those of you who don't already have/haven't clicked on the link, for Making it as a Screenwriter, this book is sold in aid of Childline, so worth supporting if you have any interest in this topic.
Good points from Dan.
Spotting your plateau is part of the process - and of course I have a system for doing that, it's outlined in the MAKING IT AS A SCREENWRITER e book. Download a copy from www.meadkerr.com
Live performance can be a way of making money - if you are paid to appear or can run the event with a decent profit margin.
Personally...and this one's going to get me lynched, I think that what we are currently seeing is a bit of Darwinism at work. There have been far too many courses producing legions of people all expecting to get paid to write but lacking any sort of drive or business sense. Artists have always had to hussle and adapt or get another job.
It seems like the rest of the writing world is finally catching up with the way screenwriters have always had to operate, dealing with the real world of showBUSINESS!
For example. I once asked a film financier how he gauged if he should invest in a project?
He replied - I always ask the producer, "If you are so 100% certain this is bound to be a hit, are you willing to invest your granny's life savings in it?"
It's become a measurement for how much energy and time I invest in a project..."Would I risk granny's life savings on it?"
So, how do you decide when to commit everything to your idea or walk away?
I'm all for being professional but I have to say I'm with Sally on the business cards thing. Every writer I've ever known who has handed me a business card has been an unpublished writer. Possibly because they are focussing more on self-promotion than on writing.
Bookmarks are OK - but they cost a lot, compared to how much most writers earn. I'm considering having some made up, but dithering over the cost, and whether they will actually do anything but be lost in the bottom of some child's school bag.
But I'm a writer of children's novels and Adrian is a screen writer - very different fields. If I were a screenwriter, I'd get business cards!
Thanks for the reminder about the e book Juliet. It's been a real pleasure watching the download figures and so far the book has raised over £4300 pounds.
The much needed funds are greatly appreciated as Childline counselors still only manage to answer two thirds of the calls they receive from children and young people in need of help.
Interesting and accurate article. Writing is more a business now than it's ever been. Some great writers of the past kept the day jobs, but that doesn't seem to be the case today - you either treat it like a business and make it your livelihood or you never see the light of day.
I love this article. Loads of brilliant, sensible, down-to-earth advice.
Um, I'm a professional writer. With business cards. And reasonably successful. At least so far.
A very good post by Adrian Mead, making the important point that one must develop a professional attitude to one's writing. It's a job, a process, the creation of a product, which someone else might be able to sell at the end, I realise.
This is absolutely correct, although a couple of things crossed my mind:
Talent + Strategy + Effort = Success is a great thing to bear in mind all of the time but, for an unpublished author, the only strategy available - the only "elbow room" you have - is in sending stuff to agents and/or publishers, really, in the most professional way you can, the strategy being precise choices of who to send to. I can't think of much else to do outside of that, without making yourself a nuisance, or without appearing unprofessional.
And I would say that belief in one's own talent isn't enough; it's the needle in the haystack search for someone else - the agent/publisher - who believes in your talent, who will open the door to you towards success.
As for effort, that can never be underestimated, I know; thank you for the reminder!
Hope you don't think I'm being picky or whatever; it could be a catch-22 situation in as much as you can't really apply Talent + Strategy + Effort = Success fully until you've at least some small success, i.e the publication of a first novel.
But you've never given me one, Mary :).
But someone like you or Nicola needs them, because people pay you to speak and so forth. For that kind of work, sure, it makes sense.
Spider Griffin comments that -
"...it could be a catch-22 situation in as much as you can't really apply Talent + Strategy + Effort = Success fully until you've at least some small success, i.e the publication of a first novel."
Thanks for commenting Spider but to be honest you are missing the point of the original article.
Let's talk dirty again.
Truth. Authors don't make a living from their writing. Nicola says it yet most are embarrassed to talk about it. It's only money, one of many different income streams and not a value of who you are.
This means you need to diversify and as my original piece points out the easiest way to do this is to attract the work to you. Build your USP and they shall come.
That means always working to raise your profile. For example. How many prestigious annual competitions are there? Do you have them all listed? Are you currently polishing your 2011 and 2012 entries already?
If not why not? You need to give people a reason to pay you, not the other writers. Being an award winner is just one excellent reason.
In fact whilst we're chatting about competitions, how many did you enter this year? Be interesting to hear from folk.
I see what you're saying now Adrian, thank you. Take every opportunity there is – if appropriate to your writing style - with the chance that one's "cage rattling" could attract people who want to rattle your cage, as it were.
Personally speaking though, I've only every written two short stories in my life; and, as you know, short story writing takes a different set of disciplines than novel writing (or screenwriting, for that matter). And writing my novel takes all of my creative energy and time that I give to it, as it has the ones before it. Perhaps one day I'll write short stories but at the moment I'd like to concentrate on novels. I find that more than difficult enough as it is; the more I learn, the more I can see that there's so much more to be learned.
Perhaps I'm doomed, not able to or be willing to diversify…but, I guess all I can do is keep a passion for writing, and keep trying agents/publishers the most professional way that I can. I realise that I've less arrows for my bow than there is, but unfortunately I can only try my best, this one way. But I do appreciate you showing other routes.
Great post Nicola & Adrian.
Nicola you've extracted me from my wip AGAIN!
You already know my opinions on being reader/customer focused.
Right, back to the grindstone.
I'm now signing as my pen name btw. (In case you were thinking, who the hell is this?)
Christine, formerly mindmap1
I'm currently seeking out ways to learn more about screenwriting - definitely want to earn some money and expand my skills/ways of seeing/thinking about writing.
Thank you for a great post Adrian, and to Nicola for posting it.
To answer your question, Adrian, at the moment I'm more concerned with promoting the world of amazing writers who are squeezed out of the mainstream by commerciality, and celebrating the spirit of collaboration and brilliance in the arts, so as well as setting up an alternative press
I have, instead of entering competitions, set one up
The Chris Al-Aswad Prize for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in the arts is awarded in honour of the selfless, brilliant young man behind www.escapeintolife.com which is one of the most amazing art/literature sites on the web. The prize to be awarded, in the spirit of Chris' work, cosists of a collection of tiny practical donations from people in the arts - in just three days since launching the prize, people have offered web hosting, help with graphics, magazine articles, even Jane Friedman has offered an interview about the work of the recipient. Obviously any and all contributions to the prize itself are welcome, but most important are nominations.
Sorry if that sounds pluggy - but you mentioned competitions, and diversification, so it felt relevant - it also felt like the tenor of the thread could do with a little pay it forward.
Great that you are being pro active, but your comment -
..."it also felt like the tenor of the thread could do with a little pay it forward."
- has me shouting at the screen in frustration.
This article and resulting thread states VERY clearly it is about making money from your writing.
At the same time I can see that many lovely folk who have read it have now gone to my website www.meadkerr.com and downloaded the Making It As A Screenwriter e book - clearly part of the reason for doing this posting in the first place and mentioned throughout the thread and the article!
So.....deep breath...I wish you the very best with your competition and initiative. However, this discussion about making money is not lacking a sense of "paying it forward" as you state. Money isn't bad. It is a thing. You can choose what you want to do with it.
I suspect many other readers of this thread have their own ways of supporting charities through their writing?
Christine - you get everywhere!
Adrian - so many points to pick up but thank you so much for coming back and taking time to answer people. I am afraid I had to watch from afar as i got roped into doing another book festival event at short notice.
I want to highlight your "It's only money, one of many different income streams and not a value of who you are." Exactly. We're nowadays both too nervous to talk about it in the same breath as art and yet also too ready to measure someone's artistic success by how of it (money) they have.
Dan - I am cautious about analogies. They can illsutrate a point but they rarely, if ever, prove anything. I'm sure you're right about powerlifting, but I'm not so sure it applies to writing. I knew you would disagree with the Talent+Strategy+Effort=Success thing (!) - we've discussed this before - but I think the crucial word is strategy, there. Usually people talk about perseverance and you and I agree that that isn't enough. But perseverance with startegy will bring success - but that does NOT mean necessarily success in being published...
The other thing from Adrian's comments that I want to highlight is this: "think that what we are currently seeing is a bit of Darwinism at work. There have been far too many courses producing legions of people all expecting to get paid to write but lacking any sort of drive or business sense. Artists have always had to hussle and adapt or get another job." Especially the last bit. We have to adapt or not be heard.
And now I'm going to have to look up the meaning of "paying it forward", because I don't know that phrase. *is embarrassed*
Ha ha! Don't Nicola - it refers to a very cringy Kevin Spacey film. And yes, strategy is THE key word there
Adrian, yes, I may well have gone OTT on the anti-money approach. I realise the thread is about how to make money at writing, and I shall most decidedly be reading what you have to say because whatever our approach we should read everything we can get our hands on that might help us. I do wonder whether the commenters who have mentioned the screenwriting vs book world have a point about the cultural difference, and that's where I would stand my ground I think, and say that there is a genuine difference between hard sell and soft sell, and that platform-building requires much more of the latter (and I can completely see that for screenwriting platform-building is less important than networking, and they ARE different), and will actually be much more effective in pay-off terms if one does it because one is genuinely interested in one's readers and interlocutors. So "pay it forward" is very much not just the hippy in me speaking (though tehre is one) - it's the business person who believes that prose-writing fits Kevin Kelly's 1000 true fan model and believes that true fans are forged through true engagement.
This is a brilliantly useful article and really should be common sense.
For the last twenty years the film and TV industry has been grappling with the accelerating impact of new technology, splintered audiences, an over supply of product, pirating and falling pre sales prices.
The book world has just begun experiencing the same and writers need to adapt. Screenwriters do not do "hard sell", they are organised and pro active - just like all the most successful authors. Our world's are converging.
As for passing out business cards? They are about making life easier for people, nothing more than that.
Re the 1000 true fans model that Dan mentions? Of course all income generating models are worth exploring. Targeting and developing a relationship with your niche market is something independent film makers have been doing for DECADES....and we are genuinely interested in our fans and interlocutors.
I will post another piece about the opportunities for authors to cross into screenwriting. Having your words brought to life and seen by millions is very rewarding.
Thanks for reading and responding, get in touch. You can get lots more practical info by going to www.meadkerr.com and downloading the e book. This will guarantee you a place in the perfect afterlife of your choosing for supporting Childline.
Great article, thank you to both Adrian and Nicola.
Ref 'paying it forward' - well that's exactly what Nicola does by running this blog with all its wonderful free advice, and is what Adrian has now done by contributing to the blog.
Adrian, in case you're still checking in here - I'm trying to get on your website and can't :-( I'm not having any other connection problems today, so I think there might be a problem at your end. Will keep trying, though, and thanks for such an interesting and useful article and comments.
There's nothing wrong with business cards. They are a great tool to help people remember you, and a good way for them to get in touch with you if they want to work with you. If writing is a business, why WOULDN'T you have them?
This was an extremely informative and timely post for me. I'm currently struggling with this very issue (novelist, no actual income from that yet, wants to do some additional writing for that purpose).
As far as contests are concerned, it would be nice if they didn't have entry fees, or they were less. I care less about a monetary prize than the prestige. Right now, I can't afford to do them at all. They seem like such a crapshoot and I'm literally scraping by!
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