As a writer, there is always pressure to create. Sometimes, that pressure is a wonderful thing. As a freelancer, the words you make are your lifeblood. They are what puts food on the table. But, just making them isn’t enough. You have to look at your resources and your ideas beyond the intended goals of the work in progress. Whether you’re an author or are freelancing, you don’t always have to create new pieces to make an impact in the market. Sometimes, success comes from selling the same materials in different places.
Freelancer Troy Lambert recalls a story from his early career days. “I write a report for the EPA, right? And the Idaho Department of Environment Equality comes along and says, ‘We want that report too!’ And, I said sure, why not? I change some images, change the title and a few words and I sell the exact same report for the same money. I didn’t create a new report. I just used the same materials I already had.”
Reselling materials you’ve already created is a great way to keep earning a living with your words. You’ve already spent the time creating the words or the presentation that brought those things to life. If you can sell them again, why not?
The quote from Lambert above, as well as the ones that follow, are from a podcast I regularly produce called Just Joshing, in which I interview creatives, and talk about anything and everything. I used these materials to craft a pitch that WritersWeekly liked, and bought. The research and work that I’m using in this article? It’s already happened. All I’ve done is focus the material to tell this particular story. I can take this same interview, and tell a different story using different quotes from the same conversation. I haven’t created anything brand new. I’ve just sold different pieces of my own creations to people that value them.
This doesn’t just apply to freelancing. Publishers resell books all the time.
Kat Flannery, author of Lakota Honor, agrees. “I know several friends, they are indies who have sold different translations all over the place. They have signed with German publishers to translate their works. You can resell your book more than once. I think this is something people forget.”
There are many more rights that can make a manuscript more profitable. Audio rights, foreign language rights, movie rights, you name it, are all about reselling a completed work over and over again. Good agents do that all the time for their clients and smart indie authors do the same thing.
Lambert reiterates this point. “We do this all the time as authors. We create great content and do so little with it. We need to think beyond the book.”
As writers, we have to not only think beyond the book, but beyond the sale. All of us create amazing content on a daily basis, but more often than not, we don’t look at the markets out there. The fact is, you can get lost looking for all the places you can sell your stuff at.
The demand for words is there. Recognizing that, and taking the next step to find places where your work can be appreciated not only relieves the pressure of creating new content all the time, but also saves work, and creates it for you as well. Looking at my podcasts, I now have a wealth of content that may be more lucrative than I ever thought possible. I can’t forget about these words I’m writing right now either. I wonder if there is another way to take these words and create even more value – for readers and for myself?
- Recycle Your Clients! – Angie Papple Johnston
- How to Re-sell Non-fiction Articles to Foreign Markets – by Cathal Coyle
- Re-Work It; Re-Write It…Re-Sell It! By Christina Spence-Maharajh
- Revise, Re-write, Re-sell THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE’S EYES! By Diane Stark
Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff, podcasts and dabbles in illustration. He has written 5 books and articles for places like Anime Herald and First Comics News. His next book, Lights Out is coming out April or May this year. He does a podcast called Just Joshing and it airs 5 days a week in which he interviews creatives about life, the universe and everything. He lives in Canada and is working on drawing a comic. His website is: https://jpantalleresco.wordpress.com
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At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
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