writer manifesto

A Writer’s Manifesto—Daniel Soule

1. Write because you love it. If you do it for that reason, no one can touch you because the reward is intrinsic to the act itself.

2. Write for yourself – not yourself the writer, but yourself the reader. Write to blow yourself away. Write like that because you are not special and therefore there will be plenty of other schmucks like you. To that end write what you love, not what you think other people want you to write.

3. Writing is a skill. Work to be better than your previous self. This current work is not an end in itself but part of the excellences of what you will produce tomorrow. To that end, mistakes are victories and moments of true learning that improve your work.

4. Be truthful in all things and to all people, including yourself.

5. When you publish, you are a business and your books are products: act accordingly.

6. Build a platform which you own – i.e. a mailing list first, everything else second. Funnel people from other platforms to your platform.

7. Never sign away 80-90% of your intellectual property because you are not prepared to learn how to sell books, or because you crave the recognition of gate keepers. The first is laziness; the second contradicts points 1 and 4 in the manifesto. There are conditions under which a traditional contract could be signed: access to print distribution networks at scale, but separate from digital and audio rights; or when financial compensation exceeds the demonstrable earning potential you could achieve by yourself; access to multimedia deals – games, tv and movies – likely to exceed self marketing potential. If these conditions are met, then such a contract can be considered.

8. Pay to play – social media is a blight whose only benefit is access to unfettered data which enables targeted paid for advertising. Don’t try to sell books for free on social media – there is little to no evidence that it scales. Cases that appear to are examples of content marketing whose financial costs are hidden in the time used to create the content. Full economic costing demonstrates pay to play is the only thing that scales reliably. To this point: no risk, no reward.

9. Invest in your skills and your business either in time or money.

10. Money is not the only measure of success, but it is a really good one that is empirically verifiable and correlates with selling books to more readers. To that end and to points 6 and 7 when you publish seek to make money. Hope is not a strategy for selling.

11. Do the work. No one cares about your work in progress. Why should they? It doesn’t yet exist. They will care once you’ve written it – if it’s any good – so shut up and write. It’s not hard manual work. It is a privilege. If done well, it matters. So do the work.

12. Do not procrastinate. Beware of procrastination that looks like work.

13. Create a bookshelf of work to be proud of and remember point 1.

14. Remember to replenish the well. Take a break … sometimes. When you do, do it properly.

15. Writing is a long game, play it as such. Play today and every day you can with that in mind. You my lose today, but you can’t win if you don’t play tomorrow. And remember, while it can be a serious game, it is still a game, so have fun and get playing.

Daniel Soule

Once Dan is a horror author who was an academic, but the sentences proved too long and the words too obscure. Northern Ireland is where he now lives. But he was born in England and raised in Byron’s hometown, which the bard hated but Dan does not. They named every other road after Byron. As yet no roads are named after Dan but several children are. Dan’s literary fiction has featured in Number Eleven, Storgy, and the Dime Show Review. His science fiction is available in Shoreline of Infinity and Phantaxis. And his horror can be found in Devolution Z, Sanitarium Magazine, Disturbed Digest and Into the Ruins.

Dan’s website is at dansoule.com where there is an exclusive ebook of short stories available, plus a classic horror novel.

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This month in the Writers’ Mastermind we are working on the Ultimate Author Planning Workshop.

The cornerstone of this masterclass is developing a Writer Manifesto.

Create your Writer Manifesto and reverse-engineer an exact path to your career as a successful author. Join us in the Writers’ Mastermind.