October 01, 2003
Increase your Marketability by Getting Published in your Area of Expertise By Doug Schmidt | printable version
Marketability = Market Value
Perhaps it's more accurate to say…marketability = perceived market value.
Take a house for instance. Its "base" market value is established by several factors — the condition of the home and land that it’s on, what other homes are selling for in the area, and proximity to schools, stores, libraries, etc.
There are also a lot of intangible factors that affect a house’s perceived market value. These are things that would be unique to individual potential buyers — nearness to extended family, the neighborhood’s "culture," commuting distance, and proximity to the special places that the individual, couple, or family will visit frequently.
Of course, this not only applies to houses, but to anything that can be bought or sold...cars, stocks, books, and more. They all have a perceived market value...and quite often, they are perceived quite differently by the various potential buyers in a particular market.
As crass as it may sound, every person has a "market value" in his or her area of proficiency — and his or her "marketability" hinges upon how that value is perceived by those who want, or need, to benefit from this person’s knowledge and experience.
But please keep in mind, a person’s "perceived market value" has nothing to do with a person's significance as a human being. The weighty virtues of kindness and compassion are often found in people who have little "market value" in the work-a-day world, and, though it’s rare, sometimes those who have the highest market value in the world’s eyes are best described as soulless.
So, let's keep this straight upfront. This short article is about increasing your marketability in the marketplace by getting published in your area of expertise. While your enhanced marketability will enable you to increase your net worth, it will not necessarily make you a better person. That type of ultimate question is better addressed in other types of books (like the one described at http://www.dougschmidt.com).
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There are many ways to increase your "base" marketability in the work-a-day world — college degrees, skill sets, types of work, training, past job performance, years of experience, etc.
However, one of the quickest and most effective ways to increase your perceived marketability is to get an article or book published in your particular area of expertise.
The accelerated nature of this enhanced marketability comes from two factors.
#1 - Most of your readers will immediately perceive you as an accomplished expert because some publisher considered your words of counsel as "worthy of publication."
And this is no small feat — thousands and thousands of people attempt to get published and fail (for reasons described in How to Land High-Paying Assignments)
#2 - Once published, your "worthy words" become reproduced thousands of times for tens of thousands of readers, and so your sphere of influence and notoriety can expand significantly in a very short amount of time.
So whether you're an accountant, engineer, waiter, business-owner, clerk, or work-at-home mom, getting published in a magazine, trade journal, or the right book will significantly increase your marketability.
All things equal, the person who has a publications list on their profile (only if it's just one relevant piece) will immediately have the advantage over his or her unpublished peers. Likewise, the small-business owner who writes a column for the local paper is going to bring in a lot more business that the same type business owner who simply pays the newspaper to advertise in it.
Another thing that getting published will do is get your name in front of thousands of potential employers, customers, or vendors (depending on your goals). With the right contact information in the bio-section of your publication (most importantly, a personalized website), you'd be amazed by who will start calling you for interviews, additional business, or to do another article or book!
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The process of writing can itself become a networking tool that will compel your marketability to grow. Once you’ve landed the assignment, (which is the focus of the book described below), send portions of the manuscript to the appropriate people in your industry for feedback. Don’t send them the whole thing, just two or three paragraphs so there’s not a huge time commitment involved (on their part).
Again, don’t do this unless you have the assignment. This sounds so much better than "I’m working on an article that I’m going to try to sell to a couple magazines. What do you think of this paragraph?"
Better to be able to say " I’ve just landed a contract with [name of the publisher], and I’ve got a two-week deadline. Can you tell me what you think of this paragraph. Does it ring true for you? Am I on the right track here?"
Using the writing process as a form of networking can have magnificent snowball effect.
For example, while I was working on my first book (The Prayer of Revenge: Forgiveness in the Face of Injustice - http://www.dougschmidt.com), I sent the first chapter to a professor who was known worldwide as a "guru" in the area of personal forgiveness. He graciously wrote back and encouraged me to take the manuscript in a certain direction. Of course, I followed his advice because he was right on target.
When the manuscript was finished, he offered a sterling endorsement. His supportive words stimulated other "thumbs-up" from several well-known counselors. I used those endorsements to land a high-paying feature article assignment with a popular trade magazine for counselors (with a circulation of over 100,000), and that article help me land my first radio interview that played over 22 stations on the east coast on the second anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
This "avalanche" started with a "snowflake" — simply a humble request for feedback.
But this was just one of many "snowflakes" I had to shovel through. I didn’t hear from a lot of people, and a few just politely turned me down flat (because we had completely different approaches to the topic). So there’s safety in numbers. The more people you contact in this process, the more likely you will succeed.
Persistence is key . Again, you're looking for a few "snowflakes" which, given enough time, passion, and persistence, can turn into a manageable avalanche of promising offers and opportunities.
Doug Schmidt is currently an editorial manager and author. Doug’s first book, The Prayer of Revenge: Forgiveness in the Face of Injustice, is available in bookstores and from all the major online booksellers. For more information, visit: http://www.dougschmidt.com
Of course, Doug used the principles in How to Land High-Paying Writing Assignments to win his first book contract. To learn more about this innovative way of getting published at: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1144.html
This article may be freely reprinted/redistributed as long as the entire article and bio are included.