Give it Away
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Give it away -- a concept that eludes the young, anal retentive, greedy and unsure. Trust me, there is no end to creativity, new toys or techniques. "Giving it away" enriches you, frees up the flow. It takes a lot of energy to hold on, to protect, to hide. Generosity enhances reputation and credibility, too.
Exactly what and how much to give away is unknown. It depends partly on what you otherwise offer for sale. Give it away until you're uncomfortable. Then give some more. Breaking through barriers brings pleasant release and satisfaction--what a paradox! The nature of the media are such that you can effectively provide only small bits of information at a time.
Let's get specific. I sell editing services to help others write well and get published. You want to sell a novel (establish a platform, sell books, connect with readers). He is a temporarily unemployed writer for print publications seeking a new job or assignments. We can all provide free information in our blogs and other social media, on our websites, in seminars and conferences and online communities without jeopardizing our incomes.
No one is not going to hire, buy or assign work because we shared our talents. I can tell others the elements of editing, but that won't enable someone to compete with my service or not need it. My abilities include years of experience and more knowledge than I could cram into, say, six years of blog posts. I give away articles on a single topic, not everything I know about how to write well. And many people just don't want to do the editing themselves. They'd rather write.
Fiction writers have unique voices that add value to their work. Discussing their writing processes, plot points, characterization or a story's background will not dampen interest from an agent, publisher or readers. Even if you give away a whole novel, you have more to write, right?
Similarly for nonfiction writers, explaining the finer points of interviewing, for example, won't enable others to instantly become crack reporters and snatch away jobs. You can also demonstrate your abilities to write well and to craft articles.
While you digest all this, think about the urgent need for writers to show mastery of electronic media. Old school is out. Open hands are in.