Friday, January 29, 2016

Diversify Revenue Streams #AmWriting #Freelance

Writers more than any other creative professional seem to buy into the illusion that we need to work for free to gain exposure or build a portfolio. This sometimes leads to exclusive arrangements that don't benefit the writer at all--not in the long term.

Painters and sculptors, for instance, don't commit to exclusivity with a gallery unless they are receiving a substantial amount of commission in return. However, writers will jump on exclusive contracts (or self-publish exclusively with a major distributor) with only the vague promise of more exposure or "you can showcase your work for free" so people can "try you out" deals.

This must stop. As professionals, we collectively need to start respecting our work enough to set a fair price on it for the amount of work involved, our own costs of production, and because no one should be exclusive to any one entity without a substantial upfront payout. That's business.

There is a strong business argument for diversifying your income streams. Warren Buffet said, "never rely on a single source of income." Wise words, yet a lot of authors aren't understanding the benefits of being with multiple distributors and having more than one thing or service you're trying to market. If you were investing in the stock market, would you put everything you have into one company? What if it went bankrupt tomorrow? If you were in a casino, would you play roulette and put your entire life savings on the line for one spin of the wheel? Are both scenarios to risky for you? Then why would you as a business owner put all of your faith in one distributor or one client? It's not a sound business decision.

If you're a freelance writer, spread your talents around to multiple magazines or advertising agencies seeking content marketers. Layer that with writing books (and vice versa--authors, freelance your skills in other arenas.) Become multi-faceted with various streams of revenue to keep you afloat should one of those streams dry up. It happens.

Authors can also create e-courses to teach aspiring writers how to craft a novel or, depending on your book's topic, become a professional speaker. Many companies look to sponsor blogs that are doing well--are you honing your content marketing skills? There are so many options if you only choose to hustle and give yourself the credit you deserve for the talent you possess.

We live in the age of the independent contractor where a lot of companies prefer hiring freelancers for project work. Beware the exclusivity or 'non-compete' clause because you never want to limit your opportunities.

Value your work. Price it accordingly. Diversify not only your revenue streams, but also your marketable skill sets. Present yourself as the expert you are and do not settle for deals--ever--that simply promise "exposure."

I read an article recently about a musician being asked to perform at a local restaurant for free with the promise of "exposure so people could try the band out." He asked the restaurant owner to come to his house and cook for him and his buddies for free for a week just so they could try him out, see if they liked his food. Guess how well that over?

The key to long term success in this industry is to create diverse revenue streams and to continue to layer upon your skill set to branch out. If you're exclusive to one entity now, I ask you...think about how your revenue could grow if you were in multiple platforms or if you had a diverse clientele.

If you're not diversifying because that sounds like too much work, then maybe you don't want success bad enough. Because guess what? Someone else does and they're going to manage their energy, create more, network more, and diversify their way to a growing income.

Never settle for less than you deserve.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to


  1. Great tips. I will admit I don't really understand the appeal of being exclusively with one distributor although it's easier. I assume most don't want to take the time and effort to get their work distributed elsewhere?