The New Math for Authors: CwF + RtB
The publishing business is undergoing major (if not catastrophic) changes. The days of authors being “pure” creatives who write books, and then leave the selling of their books to others is long gone. The new business model for authors and many other creative artists is CwF + RtB; which means find ways to connect with fans, and give them reasons to buy your work. A number of independent musicians have already been using this business model to create an audience for their work. In the writing context, creating connections with potential readers is called a building a “platform.”
I’ll discuss this more in future posts, but as a starting point, I would strongly urge all aspiring authors to take heed of the following warning from a literary agent.
These are exciting times filled with many amazing opportunities for those African-American women who understand and apply several basic concepts:
(1) Always asking “What’s in it for me? What does will this do in terms of MY long-term interests?”
(2) Always keeping in mind and applying the normal human ordering of priorities: self, family, clan, ethnic group. [I mean this in the sense of the reciprocating folks within these categories. For me, a non-reciprocating biological relative is the same as a non-reciprocating total stranger in terms of my priorities.]
(3) Always take advantage of opportunities to cooperate with like-minded African-American women who understand points #1 and #2.
Ladies, you don’t need “the masses” of anybody to understand or do anything in order for you to make amazing progress in living out your wildest dreams. All you need is your own determination, your own willingness to take action, and God’s help (He helps those who help themselves).
Elijah Muhammad was quite correct when he said, “Start with the believers.” In other words, start with the people who “get it.” And don’t worry about the rest who don’t get it. The ones who don’t get it don’t matter. Bestselling self-help author Robert Ringer (author of “Looking Out For #1”) also stressed this simple rule of only working with what he calls “qualified prospects.” Meaning people who are “qualified” to be worthy of interacting with you because they “get it,” and want to work with you.
When I speak of encouraging more African-American women to form publishing and production companies, I’m not talking about this in the traditional sense of “Oh, come join this holy and noble crusade.”
Instead, I’m saying this because—in addition to being a good thing in terms of promoting healthier visions of sane living for Black women and girls—these are opportunities for you to make large sums of money doing things that you enjoy (for the aspiring writers among us)! I’ve never been interested in taking vows of poverty. For any reason. It’s quite possible and doable to “do well by doing good.” This has always been my motto and practice.
If you’re savvy and you work it right, the writing biz can solve many of your financial worries while also being a lot of fun. The folks who are most adept at working the angles of the writing biz have found financial freedom! This could be you!
As I mentioned in the sample blog post about the 5 elements of money-making nonfiction, there are a lot of people making good money with their writing without being on a bestsellers list. There are ways of doing this. Now, that’s what I’m talking about here. LOL! I’m not talking about the old, played-out “crusade” model of failed, idealistic African-American businesses.
The other interesting pattern I’ve noticed is that when you make your move, you’ll often be surprised by the unexpected support that you’ll get from like-minded people. I’ve been humbled by the outpouring of active support that so many of you have given me with this latest project. And I can’t THANK YOU enough for that!
There’s no need to worship other people in other places. Hidden between the deranged masses of African-Americans, we have our own deep pockets of talent, industriousness, and intelligence within our own African-American collective. Ladies, that would be YOU. *Smile* The problem is that right now, most otherwise-sensible African-American women are directing their energies and talents toward NON-reciprocating people, places and ideas.
With all the modern tools available at our fingertips (the new technology, an opening of social and business opportunities in the wider world, and so on), those African-American women who understand and apply the above-mentioned basic principles will make HUGE strides forward in this new decade!
Onward and forward to full-spectrum abundant life!