Writers’ success stories are abundant in both online and print publications everywhere.
And for good reason.
Success stories inspire and empower us. They nudge us to reach for our dreams and ascend greater heights.
Whether they're based on “rags to riches” tales, or how-to blueprints that help us emulate others’ actions, break out of our shell, and overcome perceived or real obstacles.
They’re the ultimate win/win deal for readers and writers of all levels.
Yet with all the feel-good potential they possess, they are often overlooked as a way to establish our expertise, elevate our visibility, and enhance our bottom lines as writers.
It’s time for a paradigm shift in 2015.
Accordingly, here are a few common “roadblocks” many writers encounter in sharing their “road to success” stories. Don‘t be one of them.
Many writers mistakenly equate “success” solely with making money.
They don’t recognize that success can be defined in numerous ways. Like writing a blog post that goes viral. Or winning a writers’ contest. Or landing an interview with a celebrity. Or being asked to speak at their kid’s school for career day. Here’s an example. In August of 2014, acclaimed writer, Warren Adler, author of the hit movie, “War of the Roses” contacted me (through a representative) by email to let me know he was a fan of my blog, and wanted to submit a guest post. Of course I said yes, and it went live shortly thereafter. I was on “cloud nine” for weeks after that!
Writers are sometimes uncomfortable when it comes to “tooting their own horn.”
They think of sharing their success stories as bragging or boasting; which most of us have been taught is in poor taste or egotistical.
They don’t maintain a “success journal” or file.
Without one, it becomes difficult to chronicle our creative victories, or the various ways we’ve helped our clients to enhance their businesses. Journals and files help provide an ongoing historical account of noteworthy things accomplished, from which to later draw upon and share.
Now that we’ve addressed a few things to avoid, let’s cover the steps to telling and selling your story.
TELLING YOUR STORY
- When possible, align your story with a common challenge, problem, or situation that writers face: time management, tapping into new markets, dealing with rejection, breaking the feast or famine cycle, social media. To get others to “invest” in your story, it needs to be relevant and relatable.
- Provide take-away value. What did you learn about yourself? How did your “success” impact your writing approach? What advice would you share so that others can have less trial and error?
- Appeal to their emotions. Make the reader laugh, cry, or empathize and you're half way there. Remember to tap into the five senses for optimal results.
- Your story should have an identifiable beginning, middle, and end--with smooth, easy to follow transitions.
SELLING YOUR STORY
- Depending upon the subject area of your story, it can be submitted as a guest post to a blog in the writing niche. Many are now beginning to offer compensation for your efforts.
- Success stories can also be successfully submitted to anthologies for writers.
- Writersweekly.com pays $40.00 for short success stories of around 300 words. Check out their guidelines for specific details.
The next time you're searching for marketable ideas to make money, don't forget to consider your writing successes. After all, "Everybody loves a winner."
Thoughts? Have you ever sold a success story?