Time can lend life a larger, more interesting aspect when you step back and take a good gander at it. I often mention I’ve been on my “writing” journey for 17 years from the moment I was conscious after a near-death surgery in 1999. The truth, and for me the more interesting aspect of my life, is that my writing journey truly identifies itself in 1979 when Professor Pat Urbas told me, “Mike, you should consider writing as a vocation.”
I’ve tended to dismiss this “beginning point” simply because I did not pursue the “business” side of writing until I almost died. Yet, those 20 years leading up to the operating table taught me many wonderful things, like self-expression without the intrusion of critics. Yes, I was a closet writer.
I truly own nearly 40 years of writing experience. That number boggles my mind. I’ve been paid for my writing for nearly 15 years. I’ve been in publishing for over a decade. That’s a lot of knowledge!
I discovered what I love and I love helping people get their books from their mind/heart to the page. That’s what I do. With this comes the struggle.
My mentor got to a point in the mid-2000’s where he got irked at people sitting with him and picking his brain for hours … for free. I’ve come to a place where I understand his frustration. I spent the largest portion of my life in love with writing. I’ve actually taken writing on as a vocation as Ms. Urbas suggested.
There’s a threshold at which you arrive when you take on the business of “intellectual property.” I own a knowledge that others appear to believe I can give away for free. I would love to be able to do so but I am as yet not independently wealthy. I teach what I’ve learned to others to feed, clothe, and house myself and my family. If I sit for hours answering question after question after question of what I’ve learned in 38 years with no compensation, my family and I would be homeless, ragged, and starving.
Charging people for intellectual property is tough, especially if you’re a giving soul. Pricing is also tough. But the most strenuous hurdle to overcome is, without a doubt, explaining to someone who does not know anything about the business. I want to explain about the hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades I’ve put into acquiring this knowledge. The thousands upon thousand of dollars going to conferences, classes, paid consulting (yes, I’ve had to do what they’re doing).
What I’ve found is that people don’t want your sob story. They don’t possess an experience level to even understand what I’m talking about much of the time.
I’m left with the uncomfortable transition to charging for what I once gave away for free. I have decided that I will schedule a half-hour interview with prospective clients so they may get a sense of who I am and what I do. I want to educate and assist. This way, they may decide to work with me or not, and I them.
Most people today are accustomed to someone working in a building trading hours for dollars. They do not understand the value of intellectual property, that is, until they need it. Then, far too often. people want it for free.
I’ve been a sucker many times, sitting for hours teaching people things they need to know. But did I truly help them? My assessment is no. They only nabbed a snippet of a large and complex industry which eats writers up and spits them out as discarded refuse at an alarming rate. There was no structure. No plan. No milestones set. No follow-up. In essence, we wasted their time and mine.
I’ve made my peace with my consulting transition. I’ve had people get mildly indignant about me charging for consulting fees, but they would only have wasted their time and mine. I’m interested in helping those who truly intend to invest themselves into writing as a vocation. Everyone who writes does not necessarily do this. Many people simply want to write for themselves. Nothing wrong with that at all. I desire to work with writers who aspire to get their work out into the world. That’s my happy place. It’s my passion. It’s what I do.
If you or someone you know needs help getting their book written, contact me at: Author@MichaelRayKing.com. My consulting page on my website is located at: MichaelRayKing
I help people get their books written…and I love doing it! 🙂