Turning Ideas into Prosperity

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.

Ideas come at the oddest moments. Or not so odd. Sometimes the Universe has to wave a great, big scarlet flag to get my attention.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

As my mentor has reminded me, the work I do has value.

I’m still stewing over exactly how to establish various “streams of income” for my career transition and exactly what might be included in launching this new career with- out all the necessary  (I think) certifications when it hap- pens. Someone at work saw Dark Revelations on the book- shelves and told his wife who told her cousin who wants to write a non-fiction book that she can sell as part of her real estate  business.  Somehow  the  connection  is  made that I’m a writer in my spare time and she wants to write a book on something that has nothing to do with what I write or publish, but that doesn’t stop her.

The woman approaches me with questions and wants me  to  spend—no  kidding—every  Friday  for  the  next three months meeting her at lunch (not her treat, either). She  wants  me  to  tell  her  how  to  get  it  published  by Christmas, and she’s happy with publishing it herself  so she can get the max book sales. She has oodles of funding and several businesses, and expects some nice extra cash flow from publishing her tips in paperback. She does not want to pay for my time but she tries to  make me feel better by letting me know she’s come to me as the expert.

I suddenly  realize  how  often  this  happens.  I  don’t mind the  occasional aspiring author trying to figure out how to submit to a publisher, but more often than not, I get out-of-the-blue  calls from  businessmen  and women who want to publish  a book and want explicit  instructions. This happens also with writers’ groups putting together anthologies of their members’ work, fundraisers by  charity and religious  groups,  physicians  wanting  to memorialize their new approach to health, and communities wishing to put together a history. It’s anything from a single lunch meeting to “pick Lorna’s brain”  to months of phone calls late at night and desperate emails with a quick question that demands pages of response. I’ve done this many times for a good cause and never received a penny, much less a complimentary copy of the book.

I’ve been a selling writer for over a decade and a small publisher since 1998. I know how to write a non-fiction book very quickly, with a decent first draft in a weekend, provided the author knows his stuff. I know how to turn non-fiction material that’s already been  produced by the author into a selling book, within a few months. I know how to set up a book format, which fonts are more attractive than  others  or easier  on the readers’  eyes, and how to choose a cover that  will look like top quality (I shudder  at  the  first  black  cover  I  did!).  I  know  these things because  I learned  them  the hard way,  by doing them.  I know how to get ISBNs,  how the distributors work (and don’t), and how to set up an online shopping cart to sell books from your own site.  I know because I’ve done them. I still do them. Some more successfully than others, true, but it depends on the book. The easiest books I ever  wrote sold the best and I put virtually no effort into them. They still sell, even though they’re woefully out of date and I admit upfront that they’re out of date and I have no interest in updating them.

But this is all valuable information. For all those professionals who want a steady stream of income from their non-fiction books  sold  through their  offices,  practices, and websites, I can easily advise them on how to write the material quickly, set up their books,  and publish  them. The same for non-profit groups and professional organizations. I can save them a lot of money by showing them the pitfalls before they invest. It’s not the only prong in my new career’s trident of prosperity!

It’s  no  different  from  what  I’ve  been  doing  for years…for free. And it fits within my life purpose, too.