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.
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 happens. Someone at work saw Dark Revelations on the bookshelves 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.