The purpose of this site is to teach artists and authors the lessons I’ve been learning from internet entrepreneurs: things like how to make a brand image, how to build a platform, and how to increase engagement with fans.
Most internet entreps, however, are light on service and heavy on inspiration. The thing that they’re ultimately selling is your own success, or the idea that you can also be successful.
And this is, perhaps, truly the fundamental key to everything – how to believe in yourself and your message, and then how to get the skills you need to promote your own creative products, so that you can make more money.
But internet entreps keep multiplying – and are more or less invoking the same principles (that you CAN quit your job, and you SHOULD) without bridging the gap between the real challenge facing authors and writers – how to make people want to buy your product.
Artists and authors are uniquely challenged in this respect, because, while it’s relatively easy to build a platform, ask what people want, and give it to them, it’s much harder to tap into your own untainted creativity, follow your passion, listen to your muse, produce the things that you enjoy creating… and then find someone to buy them.
Ultimately I believe in a compromise: using your creative talents to sell a service so that you can be profitable enough to invest in your own work.
There are no rules, of course, because ultimately everything depends on whether or not people like your paintings/books.
Skill or quality is not really the most important thing anymore. Making money depends on perceived value and smart business; which means how you dress, position, display, describe and promote your work (and yourself!) is vitally important. And these are things that you have a lot of control over; you can either learn them, or you can pay to have someone help you with them.
Personally, I used to try to do everything myself… then I realized I was wasting a ton of time stumbling over things when I could have done everything better, and faster, by outsourcing to an expert.
These days, I routinely pay for coaches, programmers, designers, and editors to improve the quality of everything I work on.
What I can help you with…
At the same time, I learned awhile ago in a course with Dave Navarro of “The Launch Coach” that you don’t have to be an expert to offer value; you just have to be a little bit ahead of the people you want to help.
And I realized that I have enough skills and knowledge to be very, very helpful.
Editing. This was my first online business. I’m a sharp, careful editor of proposals, full length novels or non-fiction, scholarship essays and more. But now that I’m running several businesses (and trying to finish my PhD in Literature), I’ve hired a handful of amazing editors. That website is here: www.paper-perfect-editing.com
Book Design and Formatting. In 2012 I got into book cover design – I had an insane amount of demand and had to shut down my site for a couple months to catch up. I’m learning a great deal about how to offer extra value to clients, and have added a big range of book promotion and marketing services as well. That website is www.bookcovers.creativindie.com
WordPress and Website Customization. Although not my first love, I’m pretty good at websites and WordPress. If you don’t have your own website yet and are thinking of setting one up, I can probably help; I have a pretty good grasp of what makes a meaningful author website or online portfolio.
Branding and Creative Marketing. Personal branding has become a catchphrase easily thrown around, but what it basically comes down to is, “What’s your story, and why should anyone care?” Authors are artists need to develop a persona that attracts the people that would like their work. Ideally, this is about being transparent and natural, letting yourself “shine”. But most people, when they try to write about themselves or their own lives, get stuck… they focus on the wrong things, make little jokes that aren’t funny, or come across the wrong way (as unprofessional, insincere or lacking confidence).
Though not an expert, I’m gifted with a quick ability to recognize strengths, a sharp and critical eye towards weaknesses, and a creative imagination for dreaming up novel and daring marketing angles that will help you stand out.
Update: I’m going to be unhirable for the forseeable future.
I’m developing a ton of products, websites and companies. No time for client work or 1 on 1, because I know I can help a lot more people making something they can use to solve some of the challenges they’re facing. Coming this year, DIY book covers and DIY book formatting.
Next year, BlurbTrade.com and some even bigger ambitions.