Last week, a writer we’ll call Kevin asked me for some advice. He wanted to quit his day job, and write full-time. He had one regular client. He needs more clients.
Kevin’s a new writer, so we chatted for a couple of minutes, and I asked him what he was selling. He said: “My writing.”
You’re a writer too. You’re “selling your writing”, aren’t you?
You’re not. You’re selling a solution to something or other. If you sell a novel, you’re selling a solution: entertainment. Your reader wants a specific form of entertainment, and you supply it.
If you accept a writing gig, you’re selling a solution to your client’s problem: perhaps he wants to get more traffic, so you write blog posts. Or he wants to sell a widget and you write marketing materials which sells the widget. Or he needs to make a speech at a friend’s wedding, and wants to do a good job because he can’t let his friend down; you write the speech.
We think of what we sell as “writing”: no one else does
We’re writers, so we’re always talking about writing. Take this to heart: no one who’s not a writer cares about writing. They may care in an intellectual sense: the story of JK Rowling’s start as a single mom writing the first Harry Potter in a coffee shop is interesting, but only because readers care about Harry Potter.
Are YOU “selling your writing”? If you are, stop it
If you can accept that you’re not selling your writing, ask yourself what you’re selling.
Once you do that, you’re immediately ahead of at least 75% of the writing population who will never ask. They’ll never even think about it. This means that they’re at the mercy of outsourcing websites, and any half-way competent business person or editor. These people will get those writers to write for nothing, or almost nothing.
The result? The writers imagine that the most they’ll ever get paid for a blog post is $25.
Everyone knows what they want. It’s your job as a writer to give it to them.
Here’s the simplest copywriting formula ever, PFA:
Once you learn it, you can manage any copywriting task:
You can apply the same formula to selling your writing, too. Ask yourself: what’s the pain this prospective client has? How can I help him to fix the pain? Then, ASK — point out the problem, and offer the solution.
Kevin applied the formula. He identified pains his target audience (small companies) have, that he can solve. He contacted 25 prospects. He wrote itemized quotes for five of them, and he itemized according to the PAIN they have, and the fix he offers. To date, he’s got two new clients. Both are paying him more than his original client pays. Since our chat, Kevin isn’t shy about asking for more money, because he knows that he’s offering solutions, not just “writing”.
What about you? Can you stop thinking about “selling your writing” and apply PFA today? If you can, you’ll leave your days of $25 blog posts far behind. 🙂
Want more? The Six-Figure Writer’s Toolbox gives you everything you need to make real money from your writing…. You’ll know exactly what you’re selling, and how to sell it.