If you want to become a full-time writer, or even just author a book in your spare time, you need to know the four pillars of a writing career: Writing, Publishing, Branding, and Selling.
In this episode, Chris and Gena talk about each one and how you can launch your career or book with these pillars.
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Episode 1 Transcript
Episode 1: The Four Pillars of Writing Momentum [00:00:13].710] - Chris Hello, Accelerators, and welcome to Writing Momentum, the podcast where we talk about writing. My name is Christopher Maselli, and I'm here with Gena Maselli, my wife. [00:00:23].550] - Gena Hello. [00:00:24].380] - Chris How are you doing today, Gena? [00:00:25].790] - Gena I'm doing well. I'm having fun. [00:00:27].760] - Chris Yeah, we're having fun because we enjoy talking about writing all the time. That's pretty much all we do on this podcast. Talk about writing. So we're going to be doing this is episode number one. It's our inaugural episode. And so today it's going to be a really good topic. Do you know what we're talking about today, Gena? [00:00:42].930] - Gena We are talking about the four pillars of Writing Momentum. And I have to say, this is something that Chris and I have kind of been on a journey with for this last year, and we'll talk more about it in another podcast, just the journey of what 2021 has been for us. But through this, we've really tried to boil down what is Writing Momentum. Who are we? What are we about? What do we offer people and what are we passionate about? And it's come down to these. It took us a while to just really boil it down to the four pillars of Writing Momentum. [00:01:22].900] - Gena What makes these so powerful or so important is because these are the pillars of any writing career. But especially if you are an independent writer. If you are wanting to build an independent publishing career, this is something that's so important. But of course, it works for traditionally published writers as well. [00:01:47].340] - Chris Yeah, for anyone who wants to get into writing, there are four things that you really need to think about for writing. We call them the four pillars of Writing Momentum. It is writing, right? You got to write. You can be a writer. Publishing. That encompasses publishing, self publishing, traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, that sort of thing. Building your author brand is number three. That's essentially how you present yourself to the world. And then, of course, selling your book, or what you might call marketing, right? [00:02:21].900] - Chris Those are the four things writing, publishing, branding and selling that you've got to work on for your writing career. So, Gena, let's just talk about each one of these briefly and why we think that they're one of the four cornerstones of having momentum. So how about writing? Do you want to take that one? [00:02:41].880] - Gena Sure. I'll talk about writing. We are very passionate about writing. We're very passionate about good writing, about learning more about writing. I don't think that anybody, Chris, I think we both would say this, no one has ever arrived as a writer. There is always more to learn. And yet this is so important when you're wanting to produce the book or an article or a blog or whatever you're wanting to write., you want to have something that is of quality. You want to have it written well. You want to know who your readers are. Who are you speaking to. And even in that writing well, that is not something that anybody just jumps out of bed and does without putting some effort into it. [00:03:33].730] - Chris You certainly have to spend time learning, educating yourself. Right. The two things that we always say to authors—let's say to writers who want to be authors, who have their name on that book—is that the things that can set you apart from most of the pack is that 1) you've got to start your book, you've got to start writing. There are so many writers out there who have great ideas, but they never start writing. And so you've got to do that. If you want to become successful, you've got to start writing. [00:04:10].240] - Chris The second thing is, you probably already guessed it, you've got to finish writing your book. That really sets apart a lot of writers that will put you at the top of the top of the cream of the crop. Right? If you are someone who finishes what you write. There are so many writers that we've met over the years who have a manuscript, three-quarters done, two-thirds done, maybe just one chapter done, maybe almost all done, but they haven't gone through and edited it. Because of that, they can't get the book published because it's not done. You have to both start and finish your book. [00:04:47].080] - Gena I think you touched on it there, Chris, when you were talking about the editing, too. Writing is about more than just getting that initial thing down. And of course, we tell people all the time that when you're writing, you don't want to be self editing as you're writing, you just want to write. And Chris tells me this all the time. He says, "Just get it out there. You can always fix it. Just get it out there." [00:05:08].930] - Chris It is way easier to edit yourself than to write from nothing. To edit something is easier than writing from nothing. So make the writing from nothing easier just by getting it out there. It doesn't matter how bad it is. Just get it down. [00:05:25].480] - Gena Yeah. And then learning how to edit. And I am also, in addition to being a writer, I'm also a homeschool mom, so a lot of what I do is I spend a large amount of time with my kids teaching them how to write, and I also help out with teaching other people's kids how to write in homeschool co-ops. It is a process. It is something that takes effort to be able to do it well. And all it takes is reading someone who is really a master at that to find out that there's always more to learn. [00:06:06].670] - Chris The next pillar is publishing your book. So when it comes to publishing, there are so many more options aren't there today than there used to be? And that is you can get published traditionally. That means you see your book on a Barnes and Nova bookshelf. [00:06:21].900] - Gena And you go through a publisher and an agent, usually. [00:06:26].200] - Chris Then there's also hybrid publishing, where you may pay a company to publish your book for you. There's self-publishing, which a lot of people are familiar with now where you take your book and format it and upload it to Amazon, and they turn it into a book like a print-on-demand book and an ebook for you. Then there's also when it comes to publishing, it's not just about publishing your book, but it's also publishing articles or anything else you might do for your freelance career. [00:06:51].080] - Chris There's a lot to that. There's a lot to making sure what you've got is publishable and ready to be published. And so we're going to talk about that a lot on this podcast, too, because that is a pillar. You can be a great writer. But if you don't know how to get that book published and out there to the world, who's going to read the writing? In order to communicate, you've got to also publish. [00:07:16].980] - Gena There's a steep learning curve with publishing. There's a steep learning curve with whether you decide to be traditionally published. You need to learn how to put together that proposal. You need to learn how to connect with either agents or editors. If you're going to be hybrid published, there's a steep learning curve with figuring out who's the reputable hybrid publisher. What can they bring you? What can they do for you that you can't do for yourself? And then if you're an independent publisher, or independent author, you may decide you may be a do-it-yourselfer. [00:07:52].570] - Gena I heard that phrase given to a friend of ours, and she said, I'm a DIYer. I like to get in and I like to learn. So she really tackles these different areas, not just with getting her books published, but also getting them marketed and getting them out there. And she's just done a fantastic job with that. So there's a lot with publishing to learn. It's not just about "Oh, I'm going to stick my book on KDP." There's just a lot to it. By learning you can set yourself up for success. [00:08:27].840] - Chris Yeah. We kind of liken it to publishing a website. A lot of people think, "Oh, if I get a website out there, people will come to it." Then you put your website out there and no one even knows it exists. Right? Because you haven't let people know about it. Well, it's the same thing with your book. You have to find a way to let people know about it. And one of the ways that you do that best is by the third pillar, which is building your author brand. [00:08:49].790] - Chris That is how you present yourself to the world, how you present your writing to the world. Historically, I think a lot of publishers kind of helped you do that before the age of the internet. They would help kind of get a persona out there for you. Well, now it is entirely, no matter how you're published, it is entirely up to you. And so that's something else we're going to talk about: how your website should look, some of the key components of that, what kind of voice you might want to have, what you need to think about when it comes to a line of books you might create, whether you should have a pen name or not for different kinds of books. There's a lot of topics that get into branding. [00:09:31].850] - Chris And a lot of times, as authors, we don't think about branding. We just think about writing and publishing and selling. But branding is a huge part of what we do. And it's, I think, one of the more difficult parts, but it's super, super important. [00:09:46].220] - Gena There's just so many different options for it in the ways you go. I would even say, and it's subjective, and it really depends on knowing your audience. And Chris and I have been in this business for so many years, and yet we still went through a whole branding exercise in 2021 where we really had to boil down what is our brand? What is our mission? What are we doing? Where are we going? That just opens up a lot of questions. So we look forward to tackling that in depth with everyone as we publish this podcast. [00:10:23].650] - Chris And then the fourth pillar is selling your book. This is marketing. [00:10:28].790] - Gena This rubber meets the road. [00:10:30].460] - Chris Yeah. And this is probably the pillar that we get asked questions about the most. Because the truth is, most people feel like they can write, they feel like they might be able to find a publisher. They feel like they know how they want to brand themselves, but they do not know how to get the book sold. And really, those first three things are a little more important, because if you can get those things down, the book sales are going to become a lot easier. But it's still not completely easy, right? [00:10:56].250] - Chris Selling your book involves a lot of things in the digital space today. It involves a lot of marketing components. It involves social media, building an online audience, and that can all seem a little bit overwhelming, but it doesn't have to. That's something that we look forward to speaking into, too. [00:11:15].850] - Gena Absolutely. And I think a lot of people when they think about selling, they just think I want to write my book and then I want to sell my book and they want to skip these other pieces of the puzzle. They think, "Well, I don't care about publishing. I'm just going to get it out there. I'm going to put it on Amazon." Some of the questions you need to ask yourself about publishing is going to affect your sales, how you brand yourself, how you build that author branding? [00:11:41].820] - Gena Sometimes people refer to it as their author platform. How do you build that is going to affect your sales. So selling comes, like Chris said, if you've got the other three components there, the selling is going to come. It's not going to come overnight. It's going to take building and building your audience and building your brand and finding your readers. But it can come. So this is not a get rich quick scheme, by any means, but it is possible. [00:12:10].690] - Chris Marketing is one of those things that I talk a lot about at writers' conferences, and the sessions are usually well attended because there's not a lot of people talking about marketing at writers' conferences, but ultimately, it's about building relationships. And I think you'll see that time and again on this podcast as we talk about how do you build a relationship with your audience and how that can turn into book sales. I really look forward to that. I think you're going to really enjoy it. So anyway, those are the four pillars. [00:12:40].430] - Chris Gena, do you want to walk us through real briefly, those four pillars again? Then we'll wrap up. [00:12:43].710] - Gena Well, sure, the first pillar is writing your book, making sure that what you produce is well written so that your readers enjoy it. And next is publishing your book. How do you get it out there? Are you going to go the traditional publishing route? Are you going to be independently published, or are you going to go through a hybrid publisher? And what does that mean? And what can you expect from each of those? And what is your responsibility with those? [00:13:08].470] And next is building your author brand, building your face to your readership, to the world. And through that, you help people find you. You help find those readers that would be drawn to your work, and that would enjoy it. And then fourth, selling your book, getting it sold, getting it to the right people, getting it marketed in the right stream so it gets to those right people. So those are the four pillars of Writing Momentum. That's what we're going to be talking about in this podcast. And we hope that resonates with you. If that's something that does, please let us know. [00:13:47].320] - Gena And if you have an idea that you'd like us to cover on this podcast, send it to us. Put it in the comments we want to hear about it. [00:13:55].220] - Chris Yeah. We love answering questions. [00:13:56].940] - Gena Definitely. [00:13:57].320] - Chris So if you enjoyed this, please go ahead and subscribe. That's one of the best things you can do for us and helping other people find this podcast because let's face it, there's a lot of podcasts out there, and we're just hoping people can find it. Please subscribe. Please go ahead and rate it, i you like it. Leave a review. We would so much appreciate that. And we'd love to hear more from you. We are going to have show notes for every podcast that you'll find at Writing Momentum. [00:14:21].020] - Chris So check those out. Meanwhile, we hope that all your writing has momentum.