I’ve been busy for the past week. Learning, reading, coding, and writing/fiddling with a very specific project.
I usually post some kind of writing tips or motivational stuff every week on Thursdays. Even as I started website work on the Gecko Print Publishing pages, I thought about jotting something down, but I decided to pass, and concentrate my efforts on getting the new site up and operational, which is kind of important in this moment.
What is it that I’m up to?
As you might guess, I didn’t suddenly decide to code a page for my publishing company without cause. The domain has been parked for quite a while now, filed under “when I get to it.” I woke up one morning last week though with a new insight, and nothing, not even the day-job, has been able to shatter my focus on that project. I’ve been running around and busting ass to get the site up and my first of it’s kind product launched, so much so that I didn’t realize I was skirting with dehydration. I’ve felt dead for the last three days until I finally figured out what was going on with my body this morning. Quite literally running myself into the ground.
I won’t leave you in suspense. During my freelancing deal, I worked on a lot of projects. One of them was in the B2B (business to business) space, developing PLR reports and Lead Magnets. It finally occurred to me that if these guys were willing to shell out what I was getting paid to write these things, they must have been making a decent amount of cash from the final product. It always seemed like a long-shot before, though, and I stuck with the writing part, which included scripts for videos, cheat-sheet content, and marketing stuff that would end up on the landing page.
What the hell is a PLR report? It’s basically the content portion of a very short ebook, without any formatting or special fonts. If you look them up, you’ll likely find packets of a hundred of them for a fairly cheap price. It’s better for business guys to grab the scripts for cheap and use them to generate content (like blog posts and ebooks, etc). They’re designed to be super helpful, or super informative, so that content marketers can keep the good stuff coming to their fan base without having to write it themselves or pay someone like me 5-10 cents per word.
As a natural evolution of this, several top-notch PLR reports can be packaged up and rewritten into a more compelling and substantial ebook, which can be given away as a sign-up gift by webpages. A whole, cut-and-paste sales funnel can be attached to this for a more complete strategic product, known as a Lead Magnet.
So, what are you actually up to?
The market is saturated with old data files that trace all the way back to the early days of the world wide web, after HTML sort of revolutionized everything, and before the first dot-com bubble. While there are people making good money in this space, there are plenty of niches open for the taking. My client had several points going for his business which allowed him to make money, but the underpinning note was his reputation. The people who purchased from him knew that he was paying a writer to develop content focused on delivering the best possible product to the end user (the one who actually downloads the “free gift”). Since I was focused solely on making the best products, he could devote his energy to distribution and advertising without concern that the final product would be a flop.
I’m shortcutting this method. I want to build my own B2B collaboration. While this could pay the bills for me (my first target goal) over time, it also allows me to grow Gecko Print. Having business leads available from people who crave good writing and are willing to pay for it means that perhaps someday I’ll be able to help a few promising content creators find steady work that can pay their own bills, while working on their creative works (which I’ll be interested in from the publishing side).
Books, reputation, author back-lists, etc take time to build. I don’t want my little company to ever be the “bestseller or bust” philosophy. I’d prefer to build up a small house and distribution network that is sustainable for my authors. Until I have that in place, I’m not going to be accepting submissions for new work.
The Big Picture
I wouldn’t normally be so excited about writing projects that are going to eat up tons of my time, but my new perspective on all of this links every part of my business goals together into a tight framework. To promote authors and sell books, you need a distribution plan. A customer base needs to be established. Hopefully some of my own readers will like books that I pick up from other authors, but that isn’t enough. Authors have bills like everyone else, there’s zero chance of any small publisher hitting the NYT bestseller list (even if they are #1 on the WSJ). I know that if my authors are anything like me, they want to make money on their keyboard, and I want to help provide an avenue for that, till their fiction audience grows and matures.
As a side note, the connections that I establish through building sales funnels will provide opportunities for promotion and distribution that simply aren’t available to the big six, but could prove to be more beneficial. I can’t belabor all the details, but I can say that my end goal is to start disrupting the publishing industry from the outside, using unconventional tactics to open up new markets that weren’t there before.
Get more people reading, and you’ll have a bigger audience to market to.
Don’t focus on unit sales, focus on true fans and growth.
Don’t be a cog or a bolt, be the power source driving the engine.
Sorry for not putting up a writing tip this week. I’m still going to be working on this through the weekend, and the moment I get some products out in the marketplace, it’ll be cool enough to do some more cedar clearing at the property. The fun never stops. And of course the book launch and the NaNo party in October. I have a lot on my plate.