Brand Your Writing Career with Products

gregorywotr_002.gifWriter-preneur: Building Your Writing Career Using Technology
By Gregory A. Kompes

Freelance writers rarely earn enough cash from a single source to finance their lives. We require multiple income streams. Creating multiple writing gigs is one way to accomplish that. Another way to add a stream, while building your writer’s brand, is developing a product line. Journals, greeting cards, mugs, playing cards, and T-shirts are all popular options.

Having a product line serves two main purposes. The first is to generate income. When I speak at conferences, high schools, and speaker associations, in addition to having my books for sale, I also offer my products. The second is to help build brand awareness.

You can start simply by putting your logo or Web site URL on giveaway items like pens, mugs, or mouse pads. That’s one way to keep your brand and contact information at client’s fingertips. Or, consider something like this. I love taking pictures. I take them when I travel and when I interview people for articles and books. I snap away around town, too. I took advantage of this side interest by creating a line of art cards and gifts featuring my own photos. I use my photo journals, cards, and other products as giveaways, prizes, and for back of room (BOR) sales when I speak.

A company that can help you easily get started with your own product line is CafePress (CP: http://www.cafepress.com/). CP is a print on demand (POD) product company so there’s no initial investment, no overhead, and no warehousing of products. And using the service is simple. Just create a free account, upload an image or photo, choose the products you’d like to sell, add the uploaded picture, and set the price.

CP also allows you to purchase your own products below sales price so you can sell them BOR when you speak and present. For sample CaféPress shops, visit Writer’s on the Rise Online Store (http://www.cafepress.com/writersontheris) and my own shop of art cards and gifts (http://www.cafepress.com/gregorykompes). If you choose to create a CP shop, you’ll help out Writer’s on the Rise if you use “writersontheris” as your referrer!

For a larger personal investment, you can create logo and promotional products even cheaper by using one of the many imprint companies around the world. My two favorites are 4Imprint (http://www.4imprint.com) and Monarch Promotions (http://www.monarchpromotions.com).

As you build your writer brand, adding promotion and logo products will keep you and your company in the minds of existing and potential clients.

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.

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