Attending the Birth of a Book

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I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.
Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust, Coraline, and The Sandman

This year, I have decided to practice what I preach and make a few changes. The last two years I have been immobilised by the frequent need for eye surgery. This year, even though there is more surgery in the pipeline, I intend to challenge myself to change myself and change my world. Starting with my writing. This year I want to write regularly again, both blog posts and books. I want to market my writing properly and earn some money from it. I am sure I will make several mistakes along the way (I am very good at that!) but I will no doubt learn a lot too that I can share here and in future books.

I have already learned quite a lot in January. One night, while I was fluttering from blog post to blog post online, as you do at three o’clock in the morning, I came across a website where enterprising bloggers publish blog posts, once or more a month, and get paid a monthly fee by people who want to read their posts.

My brain imploded. There are people out there who are willing to PAY to read blog posts – the very same blog posts hundreds of bloggers are turning out in their thousands every year, entirely free of change? What a discomfiting surprise! Especially at three o’clock in the morning, when you are awake because you are fretting about not earning enough to feed your hungry herd…

I know that several of the readers of my blog are bloggers too and that many of the 12 000 people who follow me on Twitter are writers – many just as keen to increase their income as I am, so I am going to share with you what I have discovered during the first month of the year. My first challenge of 2019.

About these blog posts. I wondered if the blog posts that people are willing to pay for are exactly the same as those that people like me publish four or more times per month, without ever charging a single penny per post? I shouldn’t think so. Reading a bit deeper, I discover that I am right, in part. You can make money sharing your blog posts on this website, but you have to produce high-quality, in-depth, well-researched blog posts, regularly. I also discover that not a lot of bloggers use this website yet, but a lot of writers do and at least 200 writers on this site earn more than $1000 per month at this website. Fancy that.

I am hooked, on the spot. I spend the next two hours discovering how writers earn money by sharing their work. It turns out that there are people who are actually interested in attending the birth of a book. They find the whole process fascinating. Really? I mean, REALLY? Writing a book is such a messy, tiresome and rambling business – in any case, it is when I write a book – I can just not imagine why anyone would want to be part of this process. Apparently, there are people out there who enjoy watching a book take shape and even assisting in its creation, offering advice in comments and making their opinions known in polls.

Well, I never.

Not quite sure how I feel about this. Do I really want to expose my worst writing weaknesses, my frequent indecision, my unquenchable self-doubt, my ever-worsening self-criticism and my numbing-but-luckily-intermittent writer’s block to the public at large? My reading public? Of course, I am interested in my readers’ opinions. I am after all writing for one reason and one reason only, to make a difference in as many peoples’ lives as possible…for the better. If they could tell me which of my strategies work for them and which of my strategies are entirely useless, as I am writing… that could indeed be incredibly useful.

The idea starts to grow on and in me.

I have 5 horses to feed, water and generally keep in the manner they consider appropriate to their exceptional talent, beauty and intelligence. $1000 per month will come in very handy. I have to admit that many of the strategies that go into my books, I developed from what I learned while facilitating equine-assisted experiential learning sessions during our Connect with Horses personal empowerment workshops. Without the horses, there would have been no books anyway. So I guess it is fitting that they get the lion’s share of whatever I earn by sharing what they taught me.

Should I give it a go? What do you think? I will be a fair amount of work, firstly to set it up and then to keep it going and there will be the ever-present fear of failure to contend with. I write every day in any case, though, because I am quite thoroughly convinced that I want to try and help people become more confident, communicate better, manage their emotions and handle stress better – and even though I feel somewhat intimidated to share my convoluted and confused writing process, if I don’t try, I’ll never know if I can actually make it work.

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.
But above all, try something.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, author of Looking Forward

Right, I’ll take this advice, so here goes. I am going to investigate this website and read up around it and then I will share with you what I found out. If it works for me, if I manage to increase my earnings using this website, I will let you know, fellow-writers and bloggers, so that you can use it too.

 

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