By C. Hope Clark –
I have a mantra I preach at conferences, where writers are looking to me for advice on making a dollar at this writing thing. The fact is there isn’t one path to writing, there isn’t one income stream (unless you take a full-time job as a writer), and whatever path you’re on will unexpectedly twist, turn and fork.
Any assignment, contest, publication credit or gig can alter your direction, giving you options you never imagined. And if you’re so set on a given journey you just might overlook opportunity, because sometimes it subtly taps your shoulder as it’s whisking past. The shrewd writer stays tuned for chances. Others sit back, waiting for opportunity to knock on the door, show its business card, and dump buckets of money at their feet.
This business is as much about staying keen and open to opportunity as it is about writing.
A contest, even with an entry fee of $25, might give the finalists publication on top of the prize money. That publishing credit might grab the attention of another publication, editor or agent. But if you fear contests, how will you know? Whoosh….there goes opportunity.
Your grant application might not achieve the $2,000 you seek, but a panelist judge could remember your name for a different opportunity down the road.
The magazine feature you wrote just to put a few bucks in your pocket while you hammer your novel could add several hundred people to your platform, newsletter or Facebook page. As I’m fond of preaching, more people read your magazine article in a weekend than will read your book in a year.
Your crowdfunding project can open doors to agents and publishers, build platform, and add oomph to your resume as you’re pitching for gigs.
A speaking engagement can land you three others, freelance writing gigs, an opportunity to sell your books, even acquire more reviews on Amazon that could raise your rankings.
All of the funding opportunities out there are easily entangled – tangled in a good way. But if you keep seeing your profession as a straight and narrow path to success, you’ll wake up one day lost, with your missed opportunities in someone else’s pocket.
Eyes open, people. Study all your writing options. If I hadn’t entered contests, my agent would not have signed me. If I hadn’t spoken to a small town radio station one cold morning, I would not have landed the three other speaking events, and a request to stock my books in an indie bookstore.
You get the picture.
BIO: C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series. www.chopeclark.com