Kern Carter: 4 Takeaways from Craft Your Pen - Nia Centre for the Arts

Kern Carter: 4 Takeaways from Craft Your Pen

By Nia Centre, p
Posted on December 14, 2020

By Kern Carter

Making a living as a writer is a tough thing to do, but it’s possible. Very possible. That’s the main message I hoped to communicate in each Craft Your Pen workshop, along with information on how to generate income from your writing. 

With that said, here are some guidelines as you begin or continue your journey as a writer. 

1) Branding Yourself as a Blogger

This is your opportunity to build an authentic voice. Blogging is how people connect to your brand, and although you may not directly earn income off of your blogging, there are ways to leverage your posts and turn them into opportunities. One way is to find a niche and stick with it. It’s tough for most writers to focus on one general topic, but in order for you to gain an audience, they must understand what kind of content to consistently expect. 

Another habit you want to develop is consistency. No matter what you blog about, you MUST be consistent. If you are super disciplined, you can pick specific days of the week to release your content. Consistency builds familiarity with your audience and it also helps improve your searchability. Consider building a platform on Medium, one of the largest blogging communities on the internet. It’s a great place to start building an audience.

2) Branding Yourself as an Author

The one thing to keep in mind about branding yourself as an author is that you need to play the long game. Both your preparation and execution will require you to be patient, but don’t get discouraged. It’s important to think about your audience before you launch your book. 

When thinking of ways to capture the attention of readers, consider these suggestions: 

  • Which theme in my story would be most appealing to leverage?
  • Which group of readers would that theme most appeal to?

Remember, you’re playing the long game. That means that your focus should be on building readership more so than selling books. Do giveaways, share pdf versions of your book with your network. Remember, having one reader is like having two because if they like your book, they will always tell someone else.

3) Branding Yourself as a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is how I’ve made my living for a decade. It involves being a versatile writer who is willing to take on different types of work. Think of all the possibilities as a freelance writer: You can write copy on websites, you can write ads that show up on Facebook or Instagram, you can write emails, you can even help Influencers write their posts or CEOs write speeches. There really are no limits as a freelance writer. 

When branding yourself as a freelance writer, stay open-minded. As you start out, you might write about things outside of your comfort zone, but as you progress in your career, you’ll earn the right to be more selective about your projects. It’s all about putting yourself out there, and getting your feet wet with new and unfamiliar topics. Treat every platform as an opportunity to show off. That includes your Facebook and Instagram feed.

4) Becoming a Ghostwriter

A ghostwriter is a person who writes material for someone else who is the named author. It's one of the most difficult areas of writing to get into. It requires a lot of research and the ability to build relationships. But if you’re patient, the payoff is huge. You’re looking at five-figure payouts every single time.

When you’re just starting out, it’s important to decide what industry you want to write for. This can grow and change and it doesn’t mean that you ignore other industries, but you need a starting point and narrowing it down helps you stay focused.

Sports and real estate are on my list, along with a few others. Once you’ve narrowed down the industry, find the players in that industry that you would consider ghostwriting for, and create a strategy for communication. For instance, I'll start my search by looking for people in Toronto who are achieving at a high level in the sports world. I’ll make a list of all those individuals first and then reach out.

Even if you’re able to find a verified email address, reaching out over email may not always be the best strategy. Sometimes it’s best to follow these people on social media, comment on their posts or @ them with your own commentary. If they’re local, show up at their events and try to get in their ear. Maybe they have an assistant or PR person you can get in touch with first. The point is, they’re likely a cold contact and you need to warm them up before making a move. There will be some instances where this just isn’t possible. If that’s the case, send that email. But that really should be your last resort.

I can keep writing about this stuff forever, but let’s stop here. These are the major points that you need to take your writing to the next level. Remember, these are simply guidelines. Take it and make it your own. No one else is travelling your path so only you know which of these suggestions will make sense in your world. 

About Kern Carter

Kern Carter is a writer and author who has written and published two novels — Thoughts of a Fractured Soul and Beauty Scars. Kern is also a ghostwriter with credits in Forbes, the New York Times, Global Citizen and, along with having ghostwritten several books. When he’s not penning novels or ghostwriting, Kern creates and curates stories through CRY Magazine, his online magazine that aims to help writers and artists navigate the emotions of their creative journey.

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