A Personal Journey Disguised as “Doing Research” III: Boost Your Income

Welcome back to this month’s class on getting more out of research. If you missed the first two classes, here are the links:

And now we’re going to talk about a topic near-and-dear to us all (money) and how your necessary novel research can help you in that department, as well.

Get Published More

So you spent the past six months doing research for your current novel. You toiled. You sweat. You learned. You memorized. And as soon as your novel came out, you forgot everything you learned. (Just like the day you graduated from high school.)

What a pity. Because all that research could be working double-duty for you and earning you some extra income.

Did you know a lot of magazines and blogs pay their writers? And did you know that there’s a magazine and a blog for every topic under the sun?

So here’s a for-instance. One of the topics in my work-in-progress is the importance of the father-daughter relationship. Based on my research (and my personal experiences), there’s no reason I can’t pitch a few magazines and blogs with some article ideas. There’s no end to psychology magazines, parenting magazines, family magazines, and Christian magazines that might be interested in publishing an article on the father-daughter relationship.

Another topic in my novel is foster kids and foster care. To the above list, I can add magazines and blogs produced specifically for foster parents and parents of adopted children.

Pitching magazines is its own art. The first step is to find a magazine that looks like a good fit for your topic. The second step is to find the editor in charge of submissions (this may involve calling the magazine to find out). The third step is to send that editor a pitch he or she can’t resist. To make it easy for you, here’s the best article I’ve ever read on the art of writing a pitch: A Compelling Query. Plus, my writing partner Carrie published an article about How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer.

Promote Your Book More

Here’s where everything comes full-circle and ties up in a tidy little bow.

Authors who submit to magazines and blogs often get a bio line. You can say anything about yourself in your bio line. I don’t know. Like, “Danielle Hanna writes from her own personal experiences of father loss and has a novel on the topic coming out in January, 2015. You can find her at www.DanielleHanna.com.”

Neat, huh? So on top of the money you made off the blog post or magazine article, you also alert an interested readership to your novel.

Not to mention, the fact that you wrote or are writing a book on (insert your topic here) will help you win that magazine article in the first place. Editors are impressed by book writers. It lets them know you’re a serious author and gives them more confidence to put you in print.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Why stop there? If you’re really having fun with this, you could go all-out.

Publish a Non-Fiction Title. Do you have a topic you write about a lot? Why not publish a non-fiction book? It could compliment your fiction work quite nicely. Then you can add a line to the back cover blurbs on your novels: “Danielle Hanna is also the author of Looking for Daddy, a personal memoir and in-depth study on the effects of fatherloss on young girls.” Now that’ll make your fiction look even more impressive! (FYI, don’t bother looking for that book on Amazon. I haven’t written it yet.)

And don’t forget to mention your fiction titles in your non-fiction book(s). Your non-fiction reader will get done with your amazing volume, then say, “Wow! And she writes novels about this, too?” Ah, the beauties of cross-promotion!

Line up Some Speaking Engagements. You may or may not get paid for these, but they’re a great way to get both your name and your face in front of potential readers. Not all writers enjoy public speaking, but for those of you who feel right at home behind a podium, eat your heart out. Look up organizations, associations, and clubs that share your topic and ask if they’d like a knowledgeable speaker to do a presentation sometime. And yes, just like magazines and blogs, there is an association for every topic under the sun.

Important: Don’t forget to bring your business cards and any promotional materials you may be allowed to hand out, like bookmarks. And copies of your book. Let’s not forget copies of your book. (If it’s available in physical format.)

Homework Assignment

I was extremely tempted to tell you to go pitch a blog or magazine. But since most writers take six months to a year to overcome the fear of pitching a publication (totally unfounded, by the way), I’ll give you an easier assignment.

  • Choose a topic you’ve been researching for your novel. Now get on Google and look up “[your topic] magazine” or “[your topic] blog.” (Hint: If a blog lists multiple writers, it’s more likely to be a paying blog.) Now just sit back and soak up all those beautiful publications and let them tempt you until you’re determined to see your name in print in one of them.
  • Then go pitch them.

Let me know how it goes, okay?

Next week wraps up this clinic on getting more out of your research. We’re going to talk about what might possibly be the single most overlooked topic when it comes to research.

What it means to be human.

And on that mysterious note, I’ll see you next time.

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