Disaster struck him again and again.
I just finished watching a presentation given by Kevin J. Anderson. He’s a huge author. If you’re into speculative fiction, you’ve likely at least run across some of his books. He did scads of Star Wars, Dune, various comics, and original novels. In fact, he’s written well over 100 books.
And the talk was about the need to be able to be flexible and diversify. See, his Star Wars books dried up when he asked for more than a 2% royalty. Suddenly these books he’d been writing for years… well, he got no more contracts after that. He wrote media tie-ins… but when’s the last time you saw the novelization of a current movie? Over and over again he had to change what he was doing.
And then I look at what I do… as a writer, I need to diversify. If my writing is going to support my family, I need to do more than just write. I need to use my writing and skills to find numerous ways to support us.
One way to diversify is to write in multiple genres. For example, Madelyn of the Sky is middle grade fantasy adventure. Meanwhile, Keeper of Tales is epic fantasy. Both are speculative fiction, sure, but they have different target audiences. The difficult part of this is that if someone enjoys Keeper of Tales, they might look up my other books! And then… they’ll be disappointed. There’s only the one epic fantasy! If you’re going to write multiple genres, you need to continue writing in all of them. And… I haven’t done that. (Yet?)
Another way to diversify is to simply produce the same content in different media. We already publish in both ebook and paperback. What about hardcover? Maybe eventually. What about audiobook? I’d really like that. It really is a different market, reaching different people. Audiobooks are also insanely expensive to produce. That’ll likely have to wait for another day.
Another way to diversify is to start up a Patreon or something similar. The nice thing about Patreon is that it would provide a relatively predictable income stream. Patrons would support a certain amount every month. I’ve already been looking into ways to give patrons the perks that they should get, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that… yet…
Of course, you could diversify by offering swag. How about a shirt with Madelyn on it? Or special bookmarks or pins? I think that’s something we could offer in the next year or two.
Many authors provide author-related services. For instance, I know a number of authors that will consult with lesser-experienced writers to help them improve their manuscripts. I may be able to get to that point, but at least right now, I don’t think I could give someone enough time to actually help in a way that would make paying me worth it for them.
Which means we’re looking at diversifying our income streams. We’re trying a bunch of things and preparing to try a bunch of things. And we didn’t touch on other ways to diversify, either, like selling directly from a website (rather than through Amazon, etc.) or selling at cons. But… we’re exploring and trying to set ourselves up for success!
2 thoughts on “Prepping for Writing Disasters”
Hardbacks are more expensive than paperbacks and take up too much space. I used to wait for the paperbacks to come out. These days I collect ebooks. Had to look up Patreon.
Oh, yeah, we all like different formats. I’ve found I jump around between physical and digital myself, depending my mood. I’ve not sought out hardcovers for quite a while, though…
But other people sure do!