So Long Starving Artist − Part 1

The Hot Sheet

Digital Media Strategist Jane Friedman

Writers love what they do. But when it comes to making a living, how can they get paid?

Digital marketing expert Jane Friedman addressed this head-on in a fascinating talk Nov. 12 with the Toronto Romance Writers.

Friedman used examples from history and her own career to tackle the ‘starving artist’ myth from a refreshingly informed perspective. She quoted Alan Watts saying ‘A myth helps us make sense of the world.’ Writers need a new ‘myth’ to govern their careers.

For too long creatives have been sandbagged with the expectation that  musicians, writers, painters and other creatives should be grateful they have talent and willing to display it for free. Friedman prefers her own myth. Art and Business can live together. The trick is using the tools available and analyzing all the factors that help people to find and want your work.

Traditional publishers may be losing market share but there is opportunity for self-publishers and small publishers. Since major publishers as well as other creative talents all use the web, what should small publishers or self-publishers do to stand out?

Distribution versus Discoverability

Friedman notes that big information companies Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, are dukeing it out for dominance. The biggies have a lot of reach. Authors must harness the information these four have on each of us in order to be ‘discoverable.’ Distribution has been solved. Everyone has access to the internet. Now the important thing is discoverability.

Savvy small publishers or self-publishers can learn how to control what she calls ‘distribution amplification’ in order to be discoverable.

1. Use your web site to its fullest capacity  

For example, when someone googles you they should get your web site first not someone with a similar name. They should see a one hundred word description that you craft about you. Your site platform can allow you to craft that description for your main page making it easier to get your message across. You can also have separate pages for each book release and use different hundred word descriptions for each of them. These can increase your reach and help drive readers to your site.

2. Re-purpose content for multiple channels 

To be visible, authors should be present on different social media sites, email, blog sites etc. How to do that and not go crazy? Re-use your content, versions of the same material can be on a tweet, a Facebook post and audio podcast, a webinar, a blog tour. Bonus: You reach different audiences while reinforcing your own messaging.
NEXT:  So Long Starving Artist – Part 2. Why authors should talk about money.

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