If a word in the dictionary was misspelled, how would we know?
You don’t have to worry about the word contentrepreneur, it’s too new to be in dictionaries. But to build a career in a digital culture, you have to marry content and entrepreneuring by being a contentrepreneur: a novelist or nonfiction writer who makes a business out of creating content. Here are six keys to doing it well:
1. Look at the potential of your ideas in the largest possible way.
- Don’t think about one book but a series of books that sell each other.
- Don’t think about one kind of writing but about every kind of writing that you can use to express and develop your ideas, and, whether for free or fee, use to build awareness of you and your work.
* If you’re writing a series of related novels, consider all the possibilities for developing your story, setting, and characters in all forms and media from short stories to novels.
* If you’re writing nonfiction books, think about all of the ways you can communicate your ideas from a blog post to a multi-book series and can use your content for income or promotion.
The next two keys come from a New York Times interview with Dan Rosensweig (7/11), president of Chegg, which rents textbooks. He had worked with the founders of Yahoo and publisher Ziff-Davis, from whom he learned the importance of two things:
2. Have an “unbridled passion” for focusing on opportunities not obstacles. Passion will enable you to transcend obstacles.
3. Look for ways to improve. Stasis is history. (The American Heritage Dictionary used the word motionlessness to help define it, following the word with this quote: “’Language is a primary element of culture, and stasis in the arts is tantamount to death’ (Charles Marsh).” Fewer things than ever are impossible, but stasis is one of them. Integrate the inevitability of change into your life and do what you can to control your writing and your career. Better you than someone else or a force or institution beyond your control. When things change, they either get better or worse. The question to keep asking yourself is: “How can I do this better?”
5. Grow. Find the spot in the constellation of authors in your field that will enable you to realize your goals and devise a plan to get there. Prices rise. So must your income. Think far ahead.
6. Steve Jobs likes to quote Henry Ford: “If I’d have asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” More of the same is relatively easy. Creating ideas for books that readers can’t imagine is always a possibility for visionary writers. Coming up with an idea for a story or a better way to live that people couldn’t know they’d be thrilled to read is an opportunity that’s always waiting for you.
May being a contentrepreneur bring you contentment (but not enough to keep you from staying one!).