Are You a Writer?

(so start ACTING like one)

I don’t have the words to properly describe awesomeness of this book. I don’t read much about writing. As a proper published author I think I’m perfect and nobody will tell me how should I write. Or do my business. It’s not their business to poke their noses into my business.

I’m so glad I decided to read You Are a Writer I was drawn straight into it from the Why Listen To Me? section at the beginning of the book. Once Jeff stopped covering theoretic pitiful creatures (wannabe writers) and started talking about himself, the book suddenly become deadly serious and deep.

Writers don’t write for the money.

I’m past my own struggles with my writer’s identity. I have nine books published and six more in various stages of completion. I’ve been writing every day since 23rd of September 2013. I passed the 1 million words mark in 2016.

But when Jeff took me to the beginnings of his career it was so raw and real I felt it in my bones. 
I thought: “Wow, I was in the same spot.” 
I was back in my own skin at the end of 2012 when I put my words ‘out there’ for the first time. I was back there when my short story was criticized on the big Science Fiction forum; I was once again rejected by a huge site in the last possible moment, literally a few days before publishing the article I had worked on for months.

I put the time in and showed up — and I saw results.

I was also back on the path which took me out of that miserable start. I kept writing and everything had passed away. I was again surprised that my writing was praised, that my book sold thousands of copies, and that my readers were reaching out to me and telling that I’ve changed their lives for better.

It all materialized because I was consistently writing. Exactly as Jeff said in his book.

Without patrons, you won’t reach your potential.

I’m even more grateful that I’ve read this book as one of the first on my new Kindle device. I could highlight. It’s hard to find a page of You Are a Writer on my Kindle without at least a single highlight or a note. The ’empty’ pages are compensated by those with multiple (2–4) highlights.

Jeff said that you should write your content in a manner making your readers willing to share it. This crazy number of highlights is another proof that he practices what he preaches.

A brand will happen whether you like it or not.

If the first part was great and synchronized with my feelings, the second one was like the kick in my balls. I theoretically have known that an author needs a platform. My mentor hammered it into me a long time ago. But my platform is a mishmash of things I did or had been chasing.

Jeff’s meticulous arguments detailing why I need a platform was like a knife in my guts — painfully obvious. His advice on how to build a platform was like twisting the knife in the wound — conveying the point without a grain of doubt.

I have some partly success in creating my online presence. I’m also past the initial struggle of starving indies. My books are selling in hundreds of copies in the stale months and over thousand when I release a new title. I have over 1,000 subscribers (and in January 2014 I had 27). I cultivate relationships with bloggers, influencers and other authors.

But I do it all in “by the way” manner. As a result my publishing is more of a job than a business. I have to constantly produce fresh content to stay afloat and when I don’t, I sink. I work hard, not smart.

Content is not king. Relationship is.

And I found Jeff’s marketing advice right on the spot. It’s so far away from the common approach (sell, build funnels, draw them into your web) and so close to my heart. Be genuine. Connect. Serve. Reach out. Do favors. Follow up. Ask. Answer.

That kind of marketing I can do in my sleep. No sleaziness, no hard selling, no lies.

Because freelance writing is (…) marketing.

I found especially worthwhile the part about creating the relationships with editors. I was playing with the thought of doing that for at least several months, but I have never felt it was urgent or important. Just one more avenue to probe. You Are a Writer convinced me that this is the right path and showed me how to do it in Jeff’s non-sleazy way.

I shouldn’t have written this review. Without going back to his book this lesson had a chance to be forgotten. “Unfortunately” I refreshed this knowledge going through the notes once again. Time to design a course of action and follow it.

You will see things start to happen.

Hopefully so.

I highly recommend You Are a Writer to anyone overwhelmed by the thought of writing professionally. In the combo with “Writer’s Doubt” those two books will make writing even a dead man.