Last year, I stopped playing by the rules.
I know what you’re thinking. “Mridu, when have you ever played by the rules?”
I’ve played by some of them. I believed I had to talk to literary agents in a certain way to be represented by them. I believed there was a way to run a profitable online business and the reason I couldn’t get the traction I wanted was because I wasn’t playing by all those rules. I believed that I would ruin my relationship with big-name publications if I repeatedly turned down work from them.
But, as I said, last year I stopped playing by the rules.
I emailed a top NYC agent who represents authors I’m sure pretty much everyone on this list has heard of and told her that even though I was flattered that she had requested my manuscript, I was hoping she hadn’t had time to read it because I had decided to sign on with someone else.
This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I’d already agreed to sign with the agent I’d decided on. But we hadn’t signed any papers. I’d only had one conversation with her and she had felt right. I proceeded to email the dozen or so agents who had requested my full manuscript and withdrew it.
Then I asked this agent, who I had decided was going to be my agent, if she’d be open to representing my fiction only. Because I was already self publishing my nonfiction and I had no intention of changing that.
That she didn’t even blink before agreeing told me everything I needed to know about the incredible woman who is now my agent.
I’ve done something similar for this business, The International Freelancer. I’m supposed to send you multiple emails about every course I launch, I’m supposed to close the doors to my programs so that the fear of missing out will convince you to buy right now. I’m supposed to pretend like there’s some limited number available so that you’ll jump on my offers. Nope, I don’t work like that. I write these emails to share my life with you, to show you what’s working in a successful writer’s career and more importantly, what’s not. I tell you the truth. You know why? Because I’m a writer, not an Internet marketer. And even better, I have no intention of becoming one.
So I talk to you writer to writer. And if you feel like any of my courses or coaching might help you, then you’re welcome to take advantage of that when it’s convenient FOR YOU. Every business “guru” I have ever listened to tells me this is a mistake. So now I ignore all of them and do what I want.
And of course, I’ve always done this with my freelancing, too. I turned down a blog for The New York Times many years ago because they were offering $100 a post and I was too far advanced in my career to put up with that kind of pay. Did it stop me from writing for them again? Nope. In fact, that editor is still a friend.
Is this news to you? That you can negotiate agency contracts to suit your needs? That you can turn down assignments from the likes of The New York Times?
If so, it’s time you looked at the why.
There are far too many rules sold to writers and most of them are either outrageously outdated or massively take away a writer’s power.
Don’t simultaneously submit. Don’t express your political opinions or you’ll turn off your readers. Don’t negotiate too hard or you’ll upset your editors.
Seriously? How are you expected to make an income if you don’t simultaneously submit? Why on earth are you a writer if you’re afraid of expressing your opinion, political or otherwise? And negotiate—please, for your own sake—negotiate! It’s expected. And anyone who gets offended by that is clueless about the industry and shouldn’t be on your client list anyway.
You don’t have to play by the rules. You don’t have to break them either.
You have to do what feels right to you, by doing what is the right fit for you and your goals and your ambitions.
Success to a creative person never comes by following a formula or following a plan. That is the very opposite of a creative life.
Learn the best practices, by all means. Learn how others are doing it. Study all the methods and techniques available to you. But don’t be limited by them.
Writing for you, I hope, isn’t just about paying the bills. It’s not just about sending pitches and marketing and making six figures (all the things I teach and swear by), but also about living a creative life, finding joy in what you create, and sharing your truth.
Is it risky? Yes.
Is it worth it?
My agent agreed to my terms. My op-ed is being looked at by a dream publication that I haven’t yet broken into. My business has doubled in revenue in the last few months.
Is it worth it? For me, a creative risk is always worth it.
But for you? Only you can decide.
P.S. Having tried a number of different coaching models, I’m now dropping everything except the one that I feel works best for both me and my clients. The 1:1 six-week coaching I’m now offering is extremely personal, extremely focused, and has had the best results for my clients.
Of the three people who took this coaching in January, one was able to quit her job to go full-time as a freelancer and another doubled her income.
I do not believe in long-term coaching. I believe in setting goals, going hard at them, and creating a new level of normal for yourself. That is exactly what this coaching is designed to do. You decide on a goal that you want to hit in six weeks and I will work with you one-on-one to get you there.
We’ll be looking at (amongst other things):
– Your true goals and vision as a writer
– Where you most sabotage/limit yourself
– What you’re already doing right to reach your set goal and what you need to change
– How to love what you’re doing AND make great money doing it
– Empowerment, empowerment, empowerment – working from a place of confidence, not desperation
There will be a weekly coaching call, a 10-minute check-in session five times a week so that we can iron out details and fix problems as and when they arise, and you’ll also have access to me pretty much through the coaching period to look at your marketing, help you fine-tune details, and generally provide whatever you need in order to hit that goal.
I’m opening up 4 spots only and I’ll be starting this round on April 17. If you want in, you need to hit reply on this email by April 10 so that I can send you a further breakdown and more details of what this entails, financially and otherwise.
I believe in being true to who I am and I’m looking to work with people who want to create their writing career on their own terms, with their own vision intact. I don’t believe in the starving writer myth, so any work we do together will be centered around both the creative as well as the financial aspect of your writing career.
Want to know more? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your goals and we can talk.