I’m getting a late start on writing today because I spent a solid 30 minutes laughing at this adorable/hilarious collage I made of Patrick and Mia and their evening greeting when he gets home from work.

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So, I know that while it feels like a total miracle that there is a picture on the internet of a westie in a Dino costume, it’s actually not—the reason Dino exists is because lots of dogs greet their masters this way. But for whatever reason, it feels like such serendipity that all these images matched up.

Also, I really want Patrick to dress up like Fred Flintstone this Halloween. Petition? He is so not the dressing up type, but I am! I think I could rock a Wilma wig, though things would be even more serendipitous if Fred was married to Betty, whom I’ve always been more partial to.

I was looking back at yesterday’s post a few minutes ago and realized how freaking long it was. Most posts will not be that long. But I think that means I should limit myself to two big topics, which is very difficult, since I have so much to share.

I’m thinking that the first several posts (maybe several weeks of posts) will be a bit more foundational, so you can see my thought process behind how I set up my company, how I earn money, and how I make decisions about what to focus on. That might put them on the long side, but eventually these will get shorter and focus more on daily happenings and less on strategy, introductions, and business philosophies.

In today’s post, I cover:

  • early progress on Emma + Elsie, warts and all—you can read outlines, beats, skeletons, and first drafts below
  • another foundational section, this time about my business values and how I run my marketing strategy around them

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Progress, Wins, and Misses

In today’s words, which you can download in PDF at the end of this section, you’ll probably notice something interesting—primarily the fact that there’s not much actual draft done. More on that in a minute.

First, I want to talk about something I noticed since launching The Create Diary (which literally just happened yesterday, spur of the moment, no planning involved).

If you’re trying to build a creative business, know this: launching one thing often generates interest in other things that you’re offering. I first noticed this when Johnny, Sean, and Dave of the Self-Publishing Podcast launched a project called Fiction Unboxed, which is all about peeking behind the curtain at their process for writing a book in 30 days. Because of that one project, they’ve elevated all their other projects’ visibility—from their fiction, to their Write. Publish. Repeat. book, to their podcast(s), to their websites…

In other words, they’ve filled up their store and it’s now open for business. And they have a lot of product to purchase.

I’m seeing the same thing happen with my work on this blog and through fiction. It started slowly when I began posting regular updates to my blog a few weeks ago. Then, I launched The Create Diary, which is basically a behind-the-scenes of my business. Now, I’m seeing upticks in my email signups, my fiction sales/downloads (for both pen names—why?), increased traffic on my site, and more inquiries about my Naked Noveling ecourse, which I haven’t even announced yet. The two going in tandem creates momentum and draws people in, ultimately giving visibility to both parts of the website.

This isn’t just with my blog content, of course. I see the same thing happen with my fiction—having two series out creates a sort of cross-promotion between them. Rising tides lift all boats.

I was talking to my friend and writing partner Susan the other day and we came to the conclusion that the only business model for creatives, right now, is having a large body of related work. I think this is a good lesson whether you are writing fiction, building a blog, producing music, selling stuff on Etsy, or chasing another creative endeavor. There simply aren’t a ton of one-hit wonders anymore, because media is so fragmented compared to before—but that opens up an opportunity for people who are willing to produce a lot of work in a short time period.

That’s certainly part of my business model, which I’ll talk about later in this entry.

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Notable Trends and Results

One piece of advice I’d give to anyone who is starting a creative business is to come up with a short list of values you’re going to follow when making difficult decisions.

For example, one of my values as a fiction writer is to Be Everywhere (stolen from Pat Flynn). This helped steer me away from KDP Select, which is an Amazon program that offers cool features to their indie authors… as long as they are exclusive to Amazon. It also helped me decide to pursue foreign and audiobook sales for my work.

The truth is, you’ll be faced with a lot of decisions in your business, and it’ll be easy to follow the crowd to the latest tactic rather than implementing a long-term strategy. I got caught up in tactics when I first started, but it was only when I started aligning with a long-term strategy that I began to see real results.

The rest of my business values are below.

Also…

Normally, sales numbers and word count statistics are included at the end of this section, but I won’t be sharing those for at least a few more posts while I get my bearings. Look forward to seeing these soon!

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The Final Word

A few months ago, Patrick and I got matching fortunes in our cookies, and we took it as a sign of something greater. Since then, we’ve implemented a ton of little things that have made our relationship much stronger, the most important of which has been to talk for 30 minutes every day with no cell phones, television, or other distractions.

If I was to guess what our daring adventure would be, I would guess that it’s building a life and family together. But frankly, that takes a lot of communication and preparation that I haven’t felt ready for until very recently.

I feel the same way about my business. For a long time I was pushing and pushing, trying to make things happen. This year, things started falling into place on their own, and it’s an entirely different kind of energy. I’m really grateful to feel this way; I’m grateful for everything I’m gaining through my blog and my fiction, as well as some of the non-fiction projects I’m starting up.

I’m looking forward to my daring business adventure… for the first time in a long time, I feel like something big is going to happen.

Until next time! Website-Signature

 

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