Write, publish – easy isn’t it?
Not quite! One of my favourite sayings is that the only place that success comes before work is in a dictionary.
If the title above caught your attention, then it indicates to me that you have ambitions as a writer or a publisher – these things are not the same!
I know some very successful publishers who couldn’t string two words together unless they are preparing an invoice? – okay, I’m joking a bit but the value of someone who can organise a writer’s work shouldn’t be undervalued.
If you do have ambitions in this area, I hope to encourage you in this direction and hopefully see some readers of this edition one day successfully publishing in their own niche and adding to the knowledge and skill base of your readers in turn!
First things first, writing IS WORK! A lot of people have sat down and tried to write, found it difficult, struggled for a while and gave up. Yet the itch to be scratched remains, the urge to get back in front of the keyboard hovering about in the subconscious and every now and again forming the thought; “if only”!
Like any skill, writing can be learned or honed. There is something that it is imperative to understand and it’s something that I harp about at every opportunity.
It is very difficult to write successfully and produce winning content on your own.
Grab a few books and look at a page that most people barely notice much less read. The acknowledgements!
The author thanks their editor, volunteer readers, fact checkers, copywriters, advisors, experts and so on. In short, the author did do a lot of the work, but they certainly didn’t do all of it. In fact, without the other people to help that book would most likely still be waiting completion, with a planned publication date being constantly pushed back.
I wrote and published distance learning training courses for over 2 decades. I worked with someone else, an established author and writer, and subcontracted out certain aspects of the writing and publishing process. On my own nothing would ever have been completed. Pooling talent and working with the right people is key!
At best I’m a mediocre writer. But I am an experienced researcher, a voracious reader and have lots of ideas and with practice, backed up with experience in the industry learned how to ask pertinent questions.
My former colleague that I worked on the training courses with complemented my skillset and together we were much more effective as a team than we would have been if we had tried to work on our own. For the years that we worked together it was a case of ‘working with the right person’.
The ‘right person’ for me may not be the ‘right person’ for you. When you were reading the paragraph above you may have found yourself thinking about a certain person or people? That’s your subconscious giving you a nudge!
There are burned out scribes all over the planet. My personal belief is that they tried to do it all on their own and boom. Writers who can do everything on their own are the exception to the rule, I can’t emphasise that enough.
So, how to start?
The TPSO business plan was written at our first meeting on the back of a napkin in a café along the Strand not far from Charing Cross Station in Central London. I had a draft penned before the meeting and it developed from into what you see today thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of my esteemed colleague Rollo.
Above I mention niche. Why is that important? If you try and be all things to all people you generally end up being no thing to anyone. Its counterintuitive but the smaller and more targeted your audience, the more likely you are to succeed.
I’ve known plenty of writers sit down and expend a lot of blood, sweat and tears producing work that they wanted to produce with little or no thought to their prospective readership. This is a waste of talent as these writers often produce a hefty volume of work.
The myth of the lonely writer is just that, a myth. Some writers do indeed go to an isolated country cottage and isolate themselves while they tap away at the next bestseller. The stereotype is reinforced in numerous films and books but it’s a false image. Successful writers surround themselves with their business partners and support team. Don’t set yourself up for failure because you misunderstand the process.
I remember working with a colleague many years ago who was writing a ‘best seller’ while on night shifts during his downtime. At the end of a year, and a drawer full of rejection slips later he finally gave up and was about to bin the lot in frustration. He finally let me read the book. I suggested that he self-publish and target a specific niche. It wasn’t the kind of publication that mainstream publishers would have been interested in.
Over the course of the next year he sold about 500 copies at 19.95 each plus P&P. That’s a turnover of just under £10k on top of his wages.
I don’t know what he is doing today but if he is still writing he is probably doing quite well.
One of the reasons for this themed edition of the newsletter is to reach out to those of you who aspire to writing and being published. If we generate enough interest one suggestion is to set up a support group where we pool ideas, research and provide mutual support.
Do you have an idea for an article for TPSO? Have you already written but not published? If you would like feedback from the TPSO team then, in complete confidence, send in your work and start the process!
It will be interesting to see where this goes but there is one thing certain. Security professionals possess a huge amount of knowledge and information that would benefit a wider readership.
Contributing an article to the TPSO website, newsletter or website might be a good start to a writing career.
I hope you will find the ideas in this edition useful…