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HOT TOPIC Fastlane Opportunities for Writers

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MJ DeMarco

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I really think the industry is really crying for some alternative solutions to Amazon's dominance.

Moreover, authors really need help on finding readers at an affordable price.

Everything, right now, has to go through Amazon's ecosystem which makes everything expensive and unfriendly to authors who are authors first, and marketers second.

At the moment, a friend and I are experimenting with a SAAS offering in the space right now. It's too early to see if we will make any impact or traction, but I think it is worth a diligent attempt.
 

MTF

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What are in your opinion the best Fastlane opportunities for writers? Which opportunities are exhausted and which ones may still have a bright future? Is writing still a lucrative skill or should writers consider it more of a supplemental skill?

I've been in the self-publishing industry for the past seven years. It's no longer such a gold mine as it was in the past. With no strong competition for Amazon on the horizon, it's becoming more and more of a business dependent on just one company, with thousands of competitors both corporate (traditional publishers) as well as individuals (who often flood the market with cheap, low quality ghostwritten books and manage to game the Amazon's system).

I'm wondering if writers today should still first consider going into book writing/publishing or perhaps try something else and stay away from books.

What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?

The way I see it there are three main paths:
  • book publishing - crowded, Amazon-dependent, you can sometimes spend months working on a book only for it to fail miserably (there's no easy way to test a product before creating it),
  • copywriting - may become a career instead of a business, though some copywriters earn incredible amounts of money (like Jay Abraham who's technically more of a consultant),
  • blogging/courses/other digital products not sold as books - this requires a personal brand and narrowing your expertise to one main topic. Also, writing seems to be more of a side skill here, with marketing experience and personal branding being the primary skills needed.
Any other thoughts you have, feel free to post them here. I'd like this thread to become a regular discussion for writers on the forum.

Tagging @ChickenHawk, @MJ DeMarco, @Bekit.
 

MJ DeMarco

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But the ironic thing about it is that he's not writing to be Fastlane, he's writing because he enjoys it. He can't re-wire himself and stop thinking Fastlane and the result is his books become a Fastlane for him once again.

I don't think a lot of people understand this, so thank you for recognizing it.

My publishing and writing is a "passion project" which has paid Fastlane returns. I offer no upsells, no coaching, no big-ticket mentorships, no courses, nothing.

If I was starting over and looking for Fastlane opps, I wouldn't be writing. I write because I can afford to write.

The only thing "Fastlane" about publishing is SCALE and TIME. It lacks Control and Entry, and even some Need.

To be honest, my publishing company is a rare Fastlane that I didn't expect, which means I defied the odds and yes, even had a bit of luck.
 

Bekit

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What are in your opinion the best Fastlane opportunities for writers? Which opportunities are exhausted and which ones may still have a bright future? Is writing still a lucrative skill or should writers consider it more of a supplemental skill?

I've been in the self-publishing industry for the past seven years. It's no longer such a gold mine as it was in the past. With no strong competition for Amazon on the horizon, it's becoming more and more of a business dependent on just one company, with thousands of competitors both corporate (traditional publishers) as well as individuals (who often flood the market with cheap, low quality ghostwritten books and manage to game the Amazon's system).

I'm wondering if writers today should still first consider going into book writing/publishing or perhaps try something else and stay away from books.

What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?

The way I see it there are three main paths:
  • book publishing - crowded, Amazon-dependent, you can sometimes spend months working on a book only for it to fail miserably (there's no easy way to test a product before creating it),
  • copywriting - may become a career instead of a business, though some copywriters earn incredible amounts of money (like Jay Abraham who's technically more of a consultant),
  • blogging/courses/other digital products not sold as books - this requires a personal brand and narrowing your expertise to one main topic. Also, writing seems to be more of a side skill here, with marketing experience and personal branding being the primary skills needed.
Any other thoughts you have, feel free to post them here. I'd like this thread to become a regular discussion for writers on the forum.

Tagging @ChickenHawk, @MJ DeMarco, @Bekit.
This post has prompted a lot of thought for me.

Been chewing on it for a couple of hours with the tab open in my browser.

Fastlane opportunities for writers.

My honest thoughts?

1. Most fastlane opportunities that involve writers are ones where people use the labor of OTHER writers. But those writers are not the ones who are rewarded.

- The business owner who hires excellent copywriters to sell a product.
- The agency owner who hires content writers and copywriters to write blogs and ads and so forth
- The copywriter who steps up from writing the copy themselves to being more of a strategist and outsourcing the copy to other writers.

2. You can probably only get to the fastlane through publishing books and copywriting if you are an outlier.

- For bestselling authors like James Clear, Malcolm Gladwell, or J. K. Rowling, being a writer is a great fastlane.
- For A-list copywriters like Clayton Makepeace, Parris Lampropoulous, or Jay Abraham, being a writer is also an excellent fastlane.
- What are the chances of "regular people" like you or me breaking through to that level? It seems that the chances are smaller than the chances of succeeding at any other random fastlane biz. This could just be my perception. But doesn't it seem like for general business, 1 out of 10 might succeed, while for wannabe authors, maybe 1 out of 100 or 1,000 succeeds?

Basically, I see it like this:
(C) - You're basically handicapped in the area of Control, so you need to make up for it in all the other areas.
(E) - Barrier to Entry is high because of the excellence and skill and command of language that you need to possess.
(N) - Does anyone NEED to read that book (or that sales letter)? You're somewhat handicapped here, too, but provided that your topic coincides with an itch that the public wants to scratch, you can obey the commandment of Need.
(T) - It takes Time to write the book, but it doesn't take that much additional time to sell the second copy, or the millionth.
(S) - Scale depends on your niche. What's the maximum number of people in the market who could possibly buy your book? Trying to write a book that appeals to the mainstream interest is great, as long as you realize that you've probably just ratcheted up Entry by a level of magnitude.

OK, but I'm a writer, and I will always be a writer, and I can't NOT be a writer, and I will continue to write for the rest of my life, whether or not I ever get paid for it. So what about me? What should I do?

I mean...

There's all the general advice that we tell people, right?

- Just take action. Do something.
- Niche down.
- Build an email list.
- Cultivate a group of raving mad fans.
- etc.

But is that enough?

Or when it comes to copywriting...
- Just help someone.
- Raise your rates.
- Niche down.
- Negotiate royalty deals so that you can stop exclusively trading time for money.
- Target better clients
- Market yourself effectively
- etc.

I feel like all this is a way to make a living, but not a fastlane business.

Unless you're an outlier, publishing books and copywriting are going to pay your bills and put food on the table... but to go from the slowlane to the fastlane, there needs to be something more.
 

Lex DeVille

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On the copywriting side, the value is in leveraging the skill. A good copywriter can reach six-figures writing copy. They can do it with a single client if they work with the right client. Since they can only write so much, they have to scale into an agency and leverage other writers, strike a different kind of deal with the client, or expand into different kinds of business models to go beyond.

Some business models that are viable for copywriters to reach the fastlane:

Agency
Requires building a team, and expanding your skillset beyond copywriting. Also requires taking on a leadership role, so it isn't a solo-person business model.

Courses/Coaching
If your copywriting is good, then you can sell your own courses, coaching, and training even to people who have never heard of you. This includes courses and coaching that are not about copywriting. This can potentially reach the millionaire mark before you have to scale into a team of copywriters, VAs and salespeople. You can also team up with companies that need to offer writer training. That way they can sell your training for you as an affiliate. This path requires taking on additional leadership/coaching roles (usually).

External Business Model
A copywriter can build a solo business that is unrelated to copywriting, but is fueled with their own good copy and that can become a huge business without hiring a bunch of people depending on the model. This is the only path where I think a copywriter can "do what they love" while building a big business and not having to go deep into other roles beyond general entrepreneurship skills. They will still probably need to work with a team of freelancers at some point.

All of these leverage the skill of copywriting, but with the exception of direct client work, they're mostly leveraging the skill for other purposes.

As for books/ebooks, I think there's room for niche competition with Amazon. To me, it would be valuable to see platforms focused on specific genres where books are vetted for quality, and authors have opportunities to earn and grow. Can't beat Amazon's name directly, but you might take up the "Erotic Romance Store" position in the market mind.
 

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@MTF I opened this because your posts are always excellent.

Writing is a skill. Like basketball or music (think a piano player). You can become top 0.01% and earn enough to then just write for fun. But in general, it is still a skill. Recording music and sharing it is just as hard for musicians. What changed is that everyone can become a writer or a musician. But that's not all bad news. Much like @Lex DeVille mentioned, because of internet there are now more people (your customer base) able to access the most niche offerings than ever before. This is probably why you've had a few golden years of earnings in this space.

But is it and has it ever been a true Fastlane? My opinion, no.

Could you ever turn it into Fastlane under CENTS framework? *Sigh* - not without major difficulty. One way is creating a platform, same as @Bekit said, have other writers do the work and create leverage. But you don't want to do that.

The other way is building a single writer platform (you), same as how @MJ DeMarco build this forum and his social media following to then announce his book and instantly have people like me pre-order. But the ironic thing about it is that he's not writing to be Fastlane, he's writing because he enjoys it. He can't re-wire himself and stop thinking Fastlane and the result is his books become a Fastlane for him once again. It's also helpful to sceptical readers like me to see him do what he preaches. Lastly, you have to appreciate just how niche he made his books. He's anti rat race established dogma.

While almost any business has a way to pivot into Fastlane, not all paths there are equally easy, some are harder and I see writing as one of the harder paths.

To sum up, one possible way to Fastlane for you as a solo-writer-entrepreneur is to build a very niche platform and sell there. Otherwise you aren't creating enough leverage and the math is bad.
 

Metz

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What are in your opinion the best Fastlane opportunities for writers? Which opportunities are exhausted and which ones may still have a bright future? Is writing still a lucrative skill or should writers consider it more of a supplemental skill?

[...]

What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?
Going back to the original questions, I just wanted to weigh in having worked in this area for almost ten years now. I think there a lot of Fastlane opportunities for writers BUT it requires one to think a bit outside the box for it to be a lucrative business. A lot of people who want to make money often think solely in terms of themselves doing the writing but copywriting, in and of itself, is hard to turn into a Fastlane opportunity for a few reasons:
  • Market saturation. Whether you're trying to sell B2B content or ebooks, there are hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of people you're competing against. Especially when you're starting out and decide to focus on job boards like Upwork, most jobs within your reach are fractions of a penny per word (I've seen too many $10/1000 word articles) with quite a handful of people fighting over them. If you try self-publishing a book on Amazon, the barrier is so low that if you don't know how to market your book, it'll maximally make you $200 in profit. This brings me to the next point:
  • Time investment. Good copywriting takes time. Especially on your own, you have to research, outline, draft, proofread, edit, and format your work. For me, most 1000ish word articles take about 3-4 hours start to finish depending on the topic but I don't sit down and write it all in one go. It's a good practice to outline and draft your article and let it sit for at least a day so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes; otherwise you're too used to the copy and can't catch certain errors like duplication or transposition. If you're providing B2B copywriting, you're also competing with a lot of content mills that specialize in pumping out mountains of low-quality copy and unfortunately a lot of clients in this area have a...
  • Quantity > Quality Mentality. A lot of these content mills exist because many businesses erroneously believe that quantity is the sole factor for success. B2B content is produced not just for sales but for SEO and funneling to a specific call-to-action. A lot of non-tech people don't understand what SEO is let alone how it can impact their business; they just know they need things like blog posts because that's the baseline of what they might hear. The problem is they'll go with a content mill who fills their pages with inferior content that's keyword-packed and ends up dragging SEO down while inflating performance with paid PPC/CPC campaigns but then not explaining this to their client. So the client sees improvement in site performance but not real improvement in their business goals. A lot of legitimate copywriters fail to recognize this as an issue and, even if they do understand it, don't know how to explain to clients why their SEO-rich copy is better than the content mill without sounding like you're just putting down the competition.
Most of my time as a copywriter was spent working with one, maybe two clients, but getting paid decently. The only way for me to scale my income was charging more for my services or finding bigger clients with larger budgets that the money I charged was still small compared to competitors. However good writing takes up a lot of time and no matter how efficient I become with my process, doing all this alone has a lot of limiting factors, the biggest one is the 24 hours a day we all have to work within. I've also self-published a book on Amazon (mostly to learn how to not only write a full book but how to create a physical product and sell it online) and despite any marketing efforts or value (when it was first released, I was #21 most popular in my primary category but that dipped quickly after), I don't have much control of it -- at least what I'd like.

Now, I've pivoted my model away from branding myself as a copywriter, but a content strategist. I still write and edit, work on SEO, and solve the problems my clients have always come to me for help, but I've delegated the majority of research, outlining, and drafting to a team of writer-contractors. I still make good margins AND pay the writers better than anything they'd find on their own at their skill level (instead of them negotiating with clients on their own, they now have the weight of an agency behind them and get to focus solely on writing) AND I can help more clients simultaneously and scale much easier. If we get overwhelmed, we find more writers which because of how many low-quality opportunities there are, I always have multiple high-quality applicants.

Where maximally I was making $5k on my own on a good month, I'm closing on deals (they're mostly done but I don't celebrate until the ink's dry and that first invoice comes in) worth almost $12k this month alone; this isn't including the quasi-warm leads who approached me and are interested and I still need to give them proposals, nor does it include my two current clients. Wrapped up together, this could be around the $15k-20k neighborhood and I'm just getting started on scaling.

To sum up though, if you want to make Fastlane money copywriting you:
  • Need to augment copywriting with other skills. For me, it was organic SEO strategies and solving problems for businesses they care about ("generate more leads and sales revenue" is much more enticing than "more blog articles for customers to read").
  • Need to duplicate yourself by delegating work in your production process. Assuming I sleep (duh) and have time to eat and recharge a bit as well as giving copy time to rest between drafts so my editing is more effective, I can only dedicate 12 hours maximally to writing alone (this doesn't include marketing, meeting with clients, doing research and prepping reports, accounting, etc.). Finding three writers to start (with another three in the wings), I go from 12 hours of labor a day to 72 hours. I might not be writing a lot myself, but now I can focus on activities that bring in more money.
  • Need to distinguish yourself from the competition. There's a lot of people who take projects for extremely low pay; there are a lot of *really good writers* who, given how passionate they are for writing, also competing for these low fruit because they don't know how to market themselves. One of the reasons I'm okay with sharing all this is that I've developed a niche not just for who I work with (i.e. me writing in a certain industry) but that people are impressed with my writing, voice, and style. I won over the head of marketing for a major tech company using samples from my site on gamified entrepreneurialism not to mention the strategies I pitched to him and their value. There are soooooooo many people who need this kind of stuff, but different clients look for different writers because they need different tones, styles, and expertise. The same can be said as to why multimillionaire novelists become so popular; you have access to tons of books in the thriller and horror genres, but Stephen King has the name recognition, a distinct voice, and years upon years of experience compared to the handful of those books by unknown amateurs that have been self-published on Amazon since you started reading this post.
And mind you, take my advice with a grain of salt because the system I've built is just starting up and I'm still testing it. BUT never have I seen my business take off as it has in such a short amount of time, nor finding a way to get people to clamor for my writing (and strategy) specifically.

At the same time though, if you're cool just with writing because you like it, by all means go for it. But if you're trying to make a Fastlane income stream from it, you're gonna have to get creative and write with purpose beyond "more words good."
 

The_MoBiz

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What are in your opinion the best Fastlane opportunities for writers? Which opportunities are exhausted and which ones may still have a bright future? Is writing still a lucrative skill or should writers consider it more of a supplemental skill?

I've been in the self-publishing industry for the past seven years. It's no longer such a gold mine as it was in the past. With no strong competition for Amazon on the horizon, it's becoming more and more of a business dependent on just one company, with thousands of competitors both corporate (traditional publishers) as well as individuals (who often flood the market with cheap, low quality ghostwritten books and manage to game the Amazon's system).

I'm wondering if writers today should still first consider going into book writing/publishing or perhaps try something else and stay away from books.

What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?

The way I see it there are three main paths:
  • book publishing - crowded, Amazon-dependent, you can sometimes spend months working on a book only for it to fail miserably (there's no easy way to test a product before creating it),
  • copywriting - may become a career instead of a business, though some copywriters earn incredible amounts of money (like Jay Abraham who's technically more of a consultant),
  • blogging/courses/other digital products not sold as books - this requires a personal brand and narrowing your expertise to one main topic. Also, writing seems to be more of a side skill here, with marketing experience and personal branding being the primary skills needed.
Any other thoughts you have, feel free to post them here. I'd like this thread to become a regular discussion for writers on the forum.

Tagging @ChickenHawk, @MJ DeMarco, @Bekit.

Writing is a lucrative skill. Copywriters can make big money once they get established. I'm a Marketing Consultant, recently just got my foot in the door with my first client doing Technical Writing/Developer Relations (Marketing for Software Developers) blog posts for them. They're nice and paying me well! This may lead to me doing other Marketing work for them too. They're already talking about having me write e-mail Marketing material which is cool!

I've got a couple of projects under my belt now, and am starting to look around for additional clients. With my rate I could be making 6 figures if I can get full time hours. It is a self-employed career, but I'm planning on saving up capital and starting other businesses. I don't know if I'll be doing coding/writing/marketing forever, but it's a good field to be in.
 

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I'm not sure how relevant this is, but this thread reminded me of my favorite example of a successful businessman-writer—Shakespeare! He owned a 12.5-7% stake in his theater company, sold grain, made multiple investments, and bought several properties he was able to rent out. When he came to London, he was probably quite poor (seeing as his father was in debt), but when he left, he was rich enough to buy himself a coat of arms and become a gentleman. From the evidence we have, it seems like he was always looking for ways to turn a profit and was very shrewd about it.

I think to turn writing into a Fastlane business you'd have to be universally appealing, unique, and well-regarded enough to gain significant name recognition, and then you can create your own way of publishing/distributing what you write—something you have ownership over. You'd have to be the kind of writer people would buy a book from simply because you wrote it. For example, I buy almost all of Anne Carson's works, just because no one else writes like her, and I've bought all of MJ's books because I get so much value from them. But even then, there are so many ways people can read books for free on the Internet now—it'd probably be better to create some other, true Fastlane business, and then focus on writing once you're rich enough to not have to rely on it for a living.
 

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James Clear?
No, but very close :) And he's definitely in the group of authors I'm talking about.

It'll probably come out at some point, so I'll just tell you guys who I work for now: it's Mark Manson.

I had to laugh at the part in TGRRE about all the books with "f*ck" in the title trying to grab attention because The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has been such a huge success.

You're absolutely right though, it's overdone now and it's lost its edge as a marketing gimmick.

That's a very good point and thank you for pointing that out. I've built a lot of this list through a few free books I distribute online. I assume that's what destroyed its quality. People joined it to get more free stuff, and among them, a lot are from very poor countries. I often get emails from people who say they can't afford my stuff or people who are begging me to send them more free stuff (even though I offer a lot for free).



Great observations, particularly that a highly engaged list is a barrier to entry. I'm now considering a new non-fiction series in a new niche (in addition to fiction but that's more in the future). I'll follow your advice and approach it from the asset point of view first.

Can you recommend any resources that focus on how to build an engaged list?

By the way, I have a great example of someone who's doing exactly what you're saying even though he's traditionally published: Brandon Sanderson.

He has many platforms where he has a highly engaged audience: his website Home | Brandon Sanderson (including a newsletter), conventions where he appears (he tells people where he'll be via his website), social media (with huge followings considering a topic that isn't really that super social media friendly), and his podcast for writers www.writingexcuses.com (pretty much all writers are readers so audiences overlap).

It's not necessarily that you gave something away for free, but yeah, if your target audience doesn't have much disposable income, that makes it more difficult.

And yes, Sanderson is a great example here. He uses a lot of channels to engage his audience now that he's more established, but I would pick just one, maybe two when starting out (more on this below).

As for resources on building an engaged list, nothing really stands out in my mind at the moment. Effective tactics come and go as the market changes, and as I'm sure you're aware, it changes fast.

The one thing I'll say that has worked for us across all channels is consistency. Regular posting, regular emails, regular engagement with your readers. Nothing fancy, just grinding while delivering the highest quality content you can muster.

In your experience, if someone is just starting out, has books to publish, and wants to do it right, what are some of the highest-leverage actions that person should take?

Obviously, build an engaged email list.

What else do you recommend?

Get your work in front of as many people as possible, gauge the reaction, adjust and repeat. The method you pursue to do this depends a little on your niche, I suppose, but you have to start testing channels and see what works and what doesn't.

Take a narrow subtopic of what you write on and create content for that, then put it on as many channels as you can. Pitch publications in your niche, make a YouTube video, post it to Medium, share it on social platforms—just test everything. Hell, start even simpler and just send it to your friends. Ask them for honest feedback and if they know anyone who might find it useful too.

In every case, have a lead magnet that you push people to and get their email.

Pay close attention to the reaction you get, then adjust, rinse, and repeat. It's a numbers game to some extent. You'll have a lot of flops, but eventually you'll stumble on something that works for you.

One example that comes to mind: Jordan Peterson spent a lot of time answering questions on Quora. Most of them got a few upvotes and likes, but nothing spectacular. Then he answered a question about "rules for life" and it got thousands of upvotes, likes, comments, etc. This later became the basis for his best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life.

At the same time, he was publishing his class lectures on YouTube, and one of those ended up breaking through too.

In short, start grinding and testing different distribution channels and double down on the one or two that gets you the most reach and engagement. These are your early adopters upon which you'll build your audience.
 

MTF

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Moreover, authors really need help on finding readers at an affordable price.

Yes, and the worst part is that even if they can find new readers, as you pointed out, usually you still have to direct them to Amazon as there's no better alternative for a seamless e-book reading experience (same with audiobooks and Audible).

Non-fiction is a little better in this aspect as people are more open to the idea of PDFs/other methods of delivery. Theoretically you can ship the print books yourself but many people don't want to buy physical books (me included).

At the moment, a friend and I are experimenting with a SAAS offering in the space right now. It's too early to see if we will make any impact or traction, but I think it is worth a diligent attempt.

Sounds interesting! If you need any help/feedback on it, please let me know.
 

MTF

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1. Most fastlane opportunities that involve writers are ones where people use the labor of OTHER writers. But those writers are not the ones who are rewarded.

That's true, though the same could be said about many other skills like graphic design, coding, etc. In theory it's always better to hire others to do the job for you since there are more people with skills than people with vision and leadership willing to hire them. But if you absolutely don't want to deal with employees (like me, and I assume most writers, too), then this is not an option.

- What are the chances of "regular people" like you or me breaking through to that level? It seems that the chances are smaller than the chances of succeeding at any other random fastlane biz. This could just be my perception. But doesn't it seem like for general business, 1 out of 10 might succeed, while for wannabe authors, maybe 1 out of 100 or 1,000 succeeds?

I guess it depends on the niche/genre.

I see a lot of fiction writers writing some terribly niche stories nobody would ever look for (and then they complain they can't make any money).

In non-fiction, a similar problem exists only instead of publishing a $4.99 book on a highly-specialized topic you can theoretically sell it on your site as an exclusive "guide" for $99 (but then your job is marketing, not writing).

There are some big genres where I think it's close to impossible to win as a regular person. They include genres like thrillers, mysteries, and crime stories, all of which are dominated by a handful of names who have been in the business for decades.

And the worst thing is that Amazon is pushing their own authors more and more, making it even harder for independent authors to climb the bestseller charts. For example, at the time of writing this, in the category of technothrillers, the first 11 spots ALL belong to Dean Koontz (he has a deal with Amazon).

(C) - You're basically handicapped in the area of Control, so you need to make up for it in all the other areas.

You can possibly reduce this risk is by going international. In some markets Amazon doesn't exist or it's the go-to bookstore. There, most of your income would come from a different, local bookseller. But of course, the translation costs are very high.

Fiction writers are extremely handicapped here as very few readers would buy a fiction book directly from an author instead of from a bookstore. Non-fiction writers have it easier.

(N) - Does anyone NEED to read that book (or that sales letter)? You're somewhat handicapped here, too, but provided that your topic coincides with an itch that the public wants to scratch, you can obey the commandment of Need.

Fiction is definitely not as strong in this as non-fiction, though at the same time many people seem to "need" entertainment more than they need education. As in, they NEED their Netflix subscription but would never spend money on a course that would teach them new skills.

As for fiction, I'm wondering if ubiquitous TV shows and movies aren't slowly killing novels. Roughly a few decades ago, reading fiction used to be one of the primary ways to entertain yourself. These days, very few people regularly read fiction, including those who used to do it in their teenage years or early twenties.

Unless you're an outlier, publishing books and copywriting are going to pay your bills and put food on the table... but to go from the slowlane to the fastlane, there needs to be something more.

I was lucky to be that outlier and go Fastlane with this, taking advantage of the golden years of self-publishing. These days, I'm not sure if it's still possible to go as big as I did a few years ago (my income is 5-6x lower now than in those great years).
 

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The only thing "Fastlane" about publishing is SCALE and TIME. It lacks Control and Entry, and even some Need.

To be honest, my publishing company is a rare Fastlane that I didn't expect, which means I defied the odds and yes, even had a bit of luck.
I think the opportunities in publishing have been declining with the rise of the internet.

In the past, the barrier used to be lack of knowledge. Nowadays knowledge is overabundant, it is everywhere, a lot more knowledge than we’ll ever hope to consume. So selling knowledge when it’s overabundant isn’t smart anymore.

So the barrier to a better life is no longer lack of knowledge. Much more difficult to publish today something about weight loss that will take the market by storm than 40-50 years ago.

Same with publishing about entrepreneurship/getting rich. Guys like Joe Karbo, Ben Suarez, or even Gary Halbert/Dan Kennedy could create an info product and sell it to make millions. Those days are over, especially with the rise of the internet.

Now the market is FLOODED with info products. Everyone KNOWS what to do. But they still don’t do it.

In this environment, the only way to get rich by selling an info product is to OWN the audience. If you get a large number of people to trust you, they’ll buy whatever shit you put out. Some influencers have taken this route.

However, this doesn’t mean that info marketing is dead. But selling a PDF or even a video course, imo, unless you’re an influencer and you own an audience, that’s dead.

What is missing instead is getting people results. There are a LOT of opportunities in that. Basically instead of info marketing, you have coaching, where people get immersed in the activity, learn by doing and are guided. It’s a surer path to RESULTS, which is what is missing.
 

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What would you do if you hit your original "humble" financial independence goals through writing? Still keep writing even if you aren't sure if it can take you to the next level?

Great question.

Guess it really depends on how I felt about the process.

If it was no longer challenging, plus enjoyable, I might seek other things.

For example, I'm really getting burned out in the business/entrepreneur/finance space as the niche is filled with posers and "trailer millionaires".

I sold my business when I was tired of the process. The challenge was gone and I went from enduring and honing the work, to hating it. That is usually when I get off the horse. <-- That is in TGRRE in the final chapters.
 

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I have one and it never worked as well as promised by Internet gurus. I now have almost 30,000 people on my list. I emailed an offer yesterday for a product that cost $27. I made 5 sales. Granted, it's a product many of my subscribers already know about but still... The conversion rate is close to 0.

I send my subscribers tons of free stuff, respond to every email and in general try offer a lot of value. Even back in the day when I emailed my list regularly, it never had any real impact on my earnings (except for its impact on my Amazon earnings through helping me with reviews and initial traction).

In total, since I launched the product three years ago, I've made merely $10k on it. It was sold entirely through my list, is very relevant to my audience, and I consider it a very good value. As for ALL the products I sold to my list, I've made $30k since April 2016. So yeah, email marketing isn't always the solution to everything.

As someone with nearly a decade of first hand experience in the book publishing world who's helped people sell literally millions of books, I'm telling you, you need an engaged list if you want to make big money.

You have a list. You don't have an engaged audience in that list though.

If you only made $27 with a list of 30k people, you don't have product market fit. You're selling to the wrong audience. It doesn't matter if you consider it to be a good value—it's obviously not to them (or they're just cheap). Change your product or find a different audience.

Now, you're right, email marketing doesn't solve everything. But that might just mean it's not an email list for you—you need some asset that you control though.

MJ uses this forum. All the authors in the space I operate in focus on their email lists as their bread and butter sales channel. They diversify with other products, yes, but that's also derived from the list. I'm talking best-selling authors who've sold millions of books each. They're all multi millionaires at this point.

The reason an engaged list—or some other asset like it that you control—is so important in this space is, as I said, to get around weak control, entry, and need.

If you control the platform, you're not as dependent on Amazon and other retailers (you still are to a large degree, just not as much). It's hard and takes time to build a highly engaged list—there's your barrier to entry. If your list is engaged, that means they're hungry for what you're putting out, which solves need to some degree.

Alternatively, you can leverage your big, highly engaged list into a book deal.

I know you're all about self-publishing, but the big publishers are not going anywhere anytime soon. The smart ones leverage the internet by filtering for people who already have engaged audiences to sell to. They mitigate their risk better that way.
 

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Get your work in front of as many people as possible, gauge the reaction, adjust and repeat. The method you pursue to do this depends a little on your niche, I suppose, but you have to start testing channels and see what works and what doesn't.

I think the challenge he has with this is a bit like myself ... we have ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE to become a personal brand with some level of notoriety. We want to write, we don't want to be some figurehead on stage.
 

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Been playing with Jarvis.ai for less than an hour and my mind is completely, utterly BLOWN.

They have various templates (or you can start a blank document) for many different types of writing, including copywriting templates, product descriptions, blog posts, headlines, social media posts, captions, ideas, and even creative stories. The latter is absolutely bonkers.

Check this out:

I gave Jarvis this prompt (@MJ DeMarco, sorry for borrowing a little bit of your plot for the purposes of this demonstration lol):

Jeff and Samantha are dead broke. They hate their jobs and want to start a business but have no idea how to do it. To make matters worse, Samantha is pregnant and they have no idea how they're going to pay the bills.

Check out some of the best outputs. Here's one written in a witty tone (you can tell the AI what tone of voice to use):

Jeff and Samantha were driving around the city, trying to find a new business idea. They had been brainstorming for days but nothing seemed right.

"This is going to be so hard," said Jeff as he ran his hands through his hair. "I don't think I'm made for entrepreneurship."

"Shut up and keep looking," Samantha replied sharply. She didn't want him giving up before they even started anything. "It's not easy, that's why it pays off."

Here's one written in a sarcastic tone of voice:

"I don't know what to do anymore," Jeff said. "The bills are piling up and I just can't figure out how we're going to get it all done."

Samantha sighed, rubbing her swollen stomach. "You've been reading those rich guy's books again haven't you?" she asked, shaking her head in disgust. "We need a plan that won't cost us anything at this point!"

Jeff thought for a moment before he found an idea that might work. He had seen a few commercials on TV about starting your own business overnight! It was as simple as watching the commercial and filling out some basic information online-no credit card needed! So they did it! They watched the ad

How CRAZY is that the AI actually understands how BS the "start a business overnight" commercials are?

Here's one written in a depressive tone of voice:

"I'm sorry, I can't pay you," Jeff whispered to the baby in his arms. He was sitting on a creaky cot in the hospital and he couldn't afford this hospital stay or anything else that had happened today. The doctors said it would be best if she stayed for at least three days but they didn't have enough money to buy her food or diapers or anything else for that matter. He felt himself sobbing uncontrollably as he thought about how far they had fallen over the past few years and what life would look like now with a baby on top of everything else. "It's going to work out," Samantha told him, brushing his hair back from his forehead and kissing him gently before turning away into their

And here's an angry tone:

Jeff and Samantha were dead broke but they refused to give up on their dream. They hated the jobs they had, hated what it was doing to them, both physically and mentally. All they wanted was a life for themselves that didn't have any worries or thoughts of bending over backwards just to make ends meet. One night at 2 in the morning Samantha woke Jeff up from his deep sleep with her tears streaming down her face because she couldn't take it anymore--she felt like a failure as a wife and mother-to-be all rolled into one person. As he wiped away her tears, Jeff promised his wife that he would find an answer for this madness...whatever it took, no matter how long it took him. And so began

And let's go with one more, this time I typed "MJ DeMarco" in the tone of voice (Jarvis can match various authors) and here's one of the stories:

Samantha and Jeff were sitting in the back of her parents' house, where they had moved when she got pregnant. The only life they knew was in this four-bedroom ranch with a two-car garage. Samantha's dad made them breakfast every morning before he went off to work at the bank, and her mom would have dinner on the table by 5:00 PM sharp. There was always something playing on TV because there wasn't much else to do here but watch it.

"This is bullshit," said Jeff as he slammed his fists down onto the kitchen counter top for emphasis. "We're 25 years old! We've been working jobs we hate since we graduated college just because we don't know what else to

I could keep pasting these stories here all day long. It's so fascinating I can't believe it.

This is all 100% unique creative stories created by AI.

I'm still trying to lift my jaw off the floor.
 

Lex DeVille

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I've got nothing but respect for you @Lex DeVille . I made multiple hundreds of thousands directly after reading some of your threads back when you spoke about Odesk (pre Upwork) around ~2014/15.
(Old fastlane account)

Okay, first of all, that's badass. Thanks for sharing haha.

That being said, this doesn't make any sense to me. I say it matters more than ever.

To me, it doesn't matter because we're talking about art and personal preferences. Not for everything of course. In copywriting we're not selling art (unless you are selling art). In fiction, it is art.

When people buy fiction, they're buying into a personal brand, even when they're buying from a pseudonym author. People buy from Steven King because it is Steven King. So even if something can replicate Steven King and even if the writing is better, they will still buy from Steven King. But who knows, Steven King might use AI too.

Even if AI can simulate Joe Rogan's voice and mind indistinguishably, I still want to listen to the real Joe Rogan, and I don't think Joe Rogan will replace himself even if he has the option.

But all of that is almost another topic.

The reason I said it doesn't matter, is because you can invest in understanding AI, AND you can make a lot of money with writing across the next five (maybe even 10) years too.

Five years ago I thought nobody would need to write in five years. Within those five years, countless people became six, seven, probably eight-figure earners from their writing. How many others did not become anything because they assumed AI would make it not worth it?

It's easy to predict that AI will advance a LOT, and even over a particularly short period. What isn't as easy to predict is how much or how soon people will care.

Someone can make money now while also betting on AI. It's not this or that. I just think it would be silly not to write if that's what you want to do because you can still do well with it now, even if that may not last forever, and through brand identity you can still be relevant even if your writing is not.

Everything in business is about leverage, whether it is machines, brands, or something else. So I don't think we disagree, we're just looking at different possibilities across different ranges of time.
 

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I had to create a quick opt-in page today and decided to use Jarvis. I was done with all the copy in like 2 minutes and it's way better than what I would write.

It seems to be that's where its power is. Another excellent use is for blog posts but IMO not groundbreaking ones, just something you want to publish that's okay. But it's really not surprising considering their previous name was conversion.ai.

I'm not sure how useful it would really be for a full-length, non-spammy book as you have to fact-check everything. The intros and summaries help but in the end it may take more time to check everything it wrote than simply write everything yourself without having to double-check every little thing.

You most certainly CAN'T write a valuable article with Jarvis about a topic you aren't familiar with because you'll for sure miss false information. Like I said before, it's excellent at making stuff sound like it's 100% real and you'll definitely miss some little details and/or repeat debunked myths (though that also happens with human-written content, even in "cutting-edge" bestselling books as I've recently noticed).

Also played a little with Sudowrite for fiction. It has some mind-blowing features that work way better for fiction than Jarvis. For example, you can get feedback on your writing from AI (it's an experimental feature they have) and it's actually very, very useful and spot on. It can also generate descriptions, characters, places, and even plot twists.

If anyone is interested in the above, I can post some examples of how it works.
 

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaM5bl55kD4


Here are my notes from the video. Mind you I have only skimmed towards the end, since it's a Q&A session with mostly examples. They are notes so they are a bit rough, but they are intelligible...I hope:)

General usage:
  • Write clearly. Use simple words and short sentences. Think about non-fiction / content writing.
  • Experiment with different templates.
  • Mix templates to flesh out ideas. Ie: start with blog post headline, use it to make an outline, use different template to build content around the outline, etc
  • Use short and medium output, the long one tends to get shaky towards the end. It's a limitation of Natural Language Processing.
  • Be clear and concise in the "tell us about X" field, you don't have to use all 600 characters. In fact, shorter is better.
  • The tone of voice field can be left empty.
Extra editing tip: take Jarvis' output, paste it into Hemingwayapp, and trim the fat from there.

The power of template mixing.

Start by asking yourself: "I need X, which template is going to be more similar to X?"

For example: I need a job description. I'll use the product description feature, because I can frame it so that the person I'm hiring / role I'm filling is the product

Other use cases:

1) Write song lyrics / poetry
  1. Start with the long form content template
  2. Input example: this is a song with lyrics in the style of X, the song is about...[plot], make sure to use the keywords "a" "b" "c"
  3. Highlight words / lines and use the re-phrase or make more creative features
2) Newsletter / social media posts
  1. Start with blog post intro paragraph template to summarize what you want to talk about
  2. Input parameters, get people's words from niche forums or facebook groups or just regular web surfing.
  3. Use content improver on the output
3) Infographics content
  1. Start with blog post outline, blog post topic ideas, and persuasive bullet points. Infographics are small, digestible bits of information.
  2. Most infographics come from blog posts, but you can do it the other way with this method. Build an infographic and a blog post off the same bullet points.
  3. Extra: try the video topics ideas too, it gives different outputs.
4) How to sum up content
  1. Use the description field of the long-form content feature. Make the intent "I want to summarize or quickly explain what I'm trying to do".
  2. Tell Jarvis to be concise with you. Guide it and use the rephrase feature.
 

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What are in your opinion the best Fastlane opportunities for writers? Which opportunities are exhausted and which ones may still have a bright future? Is writing still a lucrative skill or should writers consider it more of a supplemental skill?

I've been in the self-publishing industry for the past seven years. It's no longer such a gold mine as it was in the past. With no strong competition for Amazon on the horizon, it's becoming more and more of a business dependent on just one company, with thousands of competitors both corporate (traditional publishers) as well as individuals (who often flood the market with cheap, low quality ghostwritten books and manage to game the Amazon's system).

I'm wondering if writers today should still first consider going into book writing/publishing or perhaps try something else and stay away from books.

What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?

The way I see it there are three main paths:
  • book publishing - crowded, Amazon-dependent, you can sometimes spend months working on a book only for it to fail miserably (there's no easy way to test a product before creating it),
  • copywriting - may become a career instead of a business, though some copywriters earn incredible amounts of money (like Jay Abraham who's technically more of a consultant),
  • blogging/courses/other digital products not sold as books - this requires a personal brand and narrowing your expertise to one main topic. Also, writing seems to be more of a side skill here, with marketing experience and personal branding being the primary skills needed.
Any other thoughts you have, feel free to post them here. I'd like this thread to become a regular discussion for writers on the forum.

Tagging @ChickenHawk, @MJ DeMarco, @Bekit.
I've done some self-publishing, and also used Amazon for it. It's a common misconception that Amazon is the only option, because there are many ways to self-publish and do well without relying on the lack of Control that an exclusively Amazon model has.

There are thousands of (verifiable) self-published authors out there, in both fiction and nonfiction, making high-five and six-figure incomes. They mostly fly under the radar, but you can find them. The majority of them do not rely solely on Amazon. Joanna Penn is a popular example, and she's steadily built a mid-six-figure business out of it over several years. The successful authors are also running *businesses* with multiple streams of income, not merely 'writing books'.

I wrote about my own experience with one book here: What I Learned From Writing and Self-Publishing a Nonfiction Book – James Gill

Is self-publishing a 'Fastlane' business? Maybe; I don't agree with MJ that it can't meet the commandment of Control, but it does require a businesslike approach to developing multiple streams of income and not just throwing ebooks on Amazon. And yes--I'd say it's still just as good an opportunity as it ever was, if--as MJ has pointed out in his books--you provide real value.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Going back to the original questions, I just wanted to weigh in having worked in this area for almost ten years now. I think there a lot of Fastlane opportunities for writers BUT it requires one to think a bit outside the box for it to be a lucrative business. A lot of people who want to make money often think solely in terms of themselves doing the writing but copywriting, in and of itself, is hard to turn into a Fastlane opportunity for a few reasons:
  • Market saturation. Whether you're trying to sell B2B content or ebooks, there are hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of people you're competing against. Especially when you're starting out and decide to focus on job boards like Upwork, most jobs within your reach are fractions of a penny per word (I've seen too many $10/1000 word articles) with quite a handful of people fighting over them. If you try self-publishing a book on Amazon, the barrier is so low that if you don't know how to market your book, it'll maximally make you $200 in profit. This brings me to the next point:
  • Time investment. Good copywriting takes time. Especially on your own, you have to research, outline, draft, proofread, edit, and format your work. For me, most 1000ish word articles take about 3-4 hours start to finish depending on the topic but I don't sit down and write it all in one go. It's a good practice to outline and draft your article and let it sit for at least a day so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes; otherwise you're too used to the copy and can't catch certain errors like duplication or transposition. If you're providing B2B copywriting, you're also competing with a lot of content mills that specialize in pumping out mountains of low-quality copy and unfortunately a lot of clients in this area have a...
  • Quantity > Quality Mentality. A lot of these content mills exist because many businesses erroneously believe that quantity is the sole factor for success. B2B content is produced not just for sales but for SEO and funneling to a specific call-to-action. A lot of non-tech people don't understand what SEO is let alone how it can impact their business; they just know they need things like blog posts because that's the baseline of what they might hear. The problem is they'll go with a content mill who fills their pages with inferior content that's keyword-packed and ends up dragging SEO down while inflating performance with paid PPC/CPC campaigns but then not explaining this to their client. So the client sees improvement in site performance but not real improvement in their business goals. A lot of legitimate copywriters fail to recognize this as an issue and, even if they do understand it, don't know how to explain to clients why their SEO-rich copy is better than the content mill without sounding like you're just putting down the competition.
Most of my time as a copywriter was spent working with one, maybe two clients, but getting paid decently. The only way for me to scale my income was charging more for my services or finding bigger clients with larger budgets that the money I charged was still small compared to competitors. However good writing takes up a lot of time and no matter how efficient I become with my process, doing all this alone has a lot of limiting factors, the biggest one is the 24 hours a day we all have to work within. I've also self-published a book on Amazon (mostly to learn how to not only write a full book but how to create a physical product and sell it online) and despite any marketing efforts or value (when it was first released, I was #21 most popular in my primary category but that dipped quickly after), I don't have much control of it -- at least what I'd like.

Now, I've pivoted my model away from branding myself as a copywriter, but a content strategist. I still write and edit, work on SEO, and solve the problems my clients have always come to me for help, but I've delegated the majority of research, outlining, and drafting to a team of writer-contractors. I still make good margins AND pay the writers better than anything they'd find on their own at their skill level (instead of them negotiating with clients on their own, they now have the weight of an agency behind them and get to focus solely on writing) AND I can help more clients simultaneously and scale much easier. If we get overwhelmed, we find more writers which because of how many low-quality opportunities there are, I always have multiple high-quality applicants.

Where maximally I was making $5k on my own on a good month, I'm closing on deals (they're mostly done but I don't celebrate until the ink's dry and that first invoice comes in) worth almost $12k this month alone; this isn't including the quasi-warm leads who approached me and are interested and I still need to give them proposals, nor does it include my two current clients. Wrapped up together, this could be around the $15k-20k neighborhood and I'm just getting started on scaling.

To sum up though, if you want to make Fastlane money copywriting you:
  • Need to augment copywriting with other skills. For me, it was organic SEO strategies and solving problems for businesses they care about ("generate more leads and sales revenue" is much more enticing than "more blog articles for customers to read").
  • Need to duplicate yourself by delegating work in your production process. Assuming I sleep (duh) and have time to eat and recharge a bit as well as giving copy time to rest between drafts so my editing is more effective, I can only dedicate 12 hours maximally to writing alone (this doesn't include marketing, meeting with clients, doing research and prepping reports, accounting, etc.). Finding three writers to start (with another three in the wings), I go from 12 hours of labor a day to 72 hours. I might not be writing a lot myself, but now I can focus on activities that bring in more money.
  • Need to distinguish yourself from the competition. There's a lot of people who take projects for extremely low pay; there are a lot of *really good writers* who, given how passionate they are for writing, also competing for these low fruit because they don't know how to market themselves. One of the reasons I'm okay with sharing all this is that I've developed a niche not just for who I work with (i.e. me writing in a certain industry) but that people are impressed with my writing, voice, and style. I won over the head of marketing for a major tech company using samples from my site on gamified entrepreneurialism not to mention the strategies I pitched to him and their value. There are soooooooo many people who need this kind of stuff, but different clients look for different writers because they need different tones, styles, and expertise. The same can be said as to why multimillionaire novelists become so popular; you have access to tons of books in the thriller and horror genres, but Stephen King has the name recognition, a distinct voice, and years upon years of experience compared to the handful of those books by unknown amateurs that have been self-published on Amazon since you started reading this post.
And mind you, take my advice with a grain of salt because the system I've built is just starting up and I'm still testing it. BUT never have I seen my business take off as it has in such a short amount of time, nor finding a way to get people to clamor for my writing (and strategy) specifically.

At the same time though, if you're cool just with writing because you like it, by all means go for it. But if you're trying to make a Fastlane income stream from it, you're gonna have to get creative and write with purpose beyond "more words good."

Just want to say "thank you" for your contributions, I'm finding them of extremely "stop what you're doing and read" value.

But he did something right by getting it in front of me, the rest is history. Marketing... is a must.

That's the thing though, I didn't spend any time/money on marketing except in the first few months. The product did the selling, through recommendations of satisfied readers. So from my POV, marketing is important, but the product has to deliver and have productocracy components.

And with a "cheezy title" like The Millionaire Fastlane , my marketing started at a disadvantage. 10+ years later, I still get shit about the horrible title.
 

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What are your thoughts on various business models for writers? How would you monetize your writing skill in the most Fastlane way possible?

The way I see it there are three main paths:
  • book publishing - crowded, Amazon-dependent, you can sometimes spend months working on a book only for it to fail miserably (there's no easy way to test a product before creating it),
  • copywriting - may become a career instead of a business, though some copywriters earn incredible amounts of money (like Jay Abraham who's technically more of a consultant),
  • blogging/courses/other digital products not sold as books - this requires a personal brand and narrowing your expertise to one main topic. Also, writing seems to be more of a side skill here, with marketing experience and personal branding being the primary skills needed.

I work with a mega best-selling author who's made millions selling books.

In a nutshell, he started with a blog and a one-on-one coaching business, then created courses and wrote a book he self-published.

His blog gained traction and he used it to build a list and a social media following. He then leveraged this into a book deal.

To write the book, he took ideas from his blog that really resonated with readers and went deep with them. So basically, the blog was his testing ground.

Before we sent the book off for publishing, he said "This will either set me up for life we'll have to come back and try again."

Well, the book took off and he's set for life. He's written more books, which also sold well, and we're branching out into more products now.

As @MJ DeMarco pointed out, books/writing gives you scale and time, but control, entry, and need are weak.

One of the ways my employer has worked around this is by really nailing his email list and marketing. We've got a huge list that's highly engaged—open and click rates are truly astonishing.

This mitigates some of the risk of Amazon controlling everything. If they pulled his books or whatever he would at least have an engaged list that he send to another platform or sell directly to them.

If you really want to do this long-term, I'd say find ways to build a really solid email list.

I'm very impressed with what Cole Schafer has built at Honey Copy. He runs a mix of high-end freelancing, courses that are 100% written, and a few email lists, one of which is paid. Oh, and he sells his poetry books too, but from chatting with him, those don't bring in a lot of cash.
 

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Great intel, thanks for the warning. As you know I write articles for my industry/business and I cannot misattribute a quote without losing all credibility. But I am often stuck at how to restructure my own work and this looks like a way to speed up brainstorming, almost like having a pal who's a writer do some work for you but you can't fully trust him! Haha.

The world we live in these days... wow.

Yes this isn't for getting quotes at all and you have to be careful with the facts and numbers it provides. But the general structure and its suggestions can be incredibly useful.

I gave Jarvis just the paragraph above, gave it the title of the article "How AI can help you write faster" and entered as description "An article on how AI can help with writing". Then I hit "compose."

Here's what it wrote next:

Over the past few years, artificial intelligence has undergone a massive boom. It's arguably not just benefiting tech companies but people all over the world too. With AI building blocks such as natural language processing (NLP) being used in many applications - from chatbots to voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, there is no surprise that AI tools have made their way into other industries too. Writing for a blog or publication has been changed forever with the rise of what is known as an "AI ghostwriter". This piece will give you an insight into what the technology can do for you and how it works. But first...what does this mean? According to Wikipedia :

A ghostwriter is a hired person who writes books, articles, stories,

This is all factually correct, interesting, and so well written you could take it as it is and just keep writing. I still can't believe it's not just copied from some article. But the crazy thing is that it IS NOT. It's completely unique, generated by AI based on the context and what it knows about the topic.

I almost feel like a mythomaniac giving these examples here because it really sounds like BS that it's not written by a human and is not plagiarized from somewhere else.

This is such a huge game changer and these tools are only beginning to emerge. The ones who learn them today will win big in the future.

It's like Kevin Kelly said:

“This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots … It is inevitable. Let the robots take our jobs, and let them help us dream up new work that matters.”
 

MTF

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What are you thinking of retraining for?

I kind of wish I could become a machine learning engineer and not only deeply understand how such a futuristic technology works but also be able to build stuff on top of GPT-3 myself. But I don't have the intellectual capacity. And even if I could do it given enough studying time, I don't think I'm ready to invest so much time and effort into it.

So rather, I'd just like to learn how to work with machines well and capitalize on it while very few people use it and pay attention to it. Perhaps dedicate myself to keeping track of the most exciting AI software dedicated for end users (user-friendly stuff like Jarvis) and teaching others how to use it best? Or just focus on Jarvis? No idea.

It's been a long time since I've been this excited about anything in business so maybe it means something. Or maybe it just appeals a lot to my inner slacker.

Thank you for talking about the Jarvis.AI . I had tried it last month on free trial but didn't take the time to learn it. Dismissed it without fully understanding it.

I started using it again yesterday and it is a game changer. I'm currently using it to answer questions on Quora. It takes me 10-15 minutes to create a 300-800 word response that's pretty decent.

It really does make it easy to seem like a professional. I realized today if I take a little bit more time in learning the software the answers I create can also be used as future blog posts. It's realistic to expect to spend 30 minutes creating a 1,000 blog post.

It definitely requires a lot of practice to get good at using it. But as you can probably already tell, the more you use it, the better you understand it, and so you give it better prompts and it provides better answers.

Ethics: Using this software has felt like cheating. It's almost too easy. At the same time, with 7 million blog posts being written everyday there's no way to be 100% original. Even if I wrote something by hand it would probably sound like the 1000 other blog posts on the same topic. The content produced passes plagiarism checks so it's not stealing.

I'm going to gain more experience and invest a little more time in each post to produce quality content.

I'm sure that the first people who used e-mail also thought the same. No need to write in longhand/use a typewriter/print it? No need to buy an envelope and a stamp? No need to go to the post office? That's cheating!

That's what I'm saying.

I'm in the middle of putting together a case study for this forum on some results I've been getting from this.

Will share soon.

Looking forward to it!

I bought a month subscription to Jarvis's Boss Mode and played around with it for a bit. I'm a content writer, and wow, this is going to save me so much time!

The output takes some editing and fact-checking, but man, there's nothing like typing "write a funny story about [article's argument]" and getting one ready for the article.

Also, getting the AI to write an extra sentence or two to unblock me when I feel stuck is another huge timesaver.

Awesome to hear that. We'll probably uncover new uses for it as we keep playing with it.

Can that AI thing summarise well? It seems quite verbose.

I’m a fan of one liners and my goal is to find to get to the aha moment in as few words as possible.

In addition to what @Madame Peccato posted, there's also "Content Improver" that rewrites a piece of content to make it more interesting, creative, and engaging though it's unlikely to shorten content.

Pretty sure we'll be able to leverage a "Written by ACTUAL human beings!" USP real soon.

And that USP will be sort of like "withdraw your money from a REAL human being" when everyone would rather use an ATM.

I just bought a month's subscription last night in order to write some articles, but it didn't help too much because the articles are really fact-based, so I still have to do the research and put everything into my own words. Astoundingly, it's able to generate facts that sound completely legit but are actually 100% false, which is kind of scary because someone might use something like this to pump out false facts into the world, not out of malice but just ignorance/carelessness.

Yes, you need to be very careful with the "facts" it provides as it's an excellent bullshitter. But if you give it more facts, it's more likely to produce real facts, too. Also, you can still use it for introductions, summaries, brainstorming, everything marketing-related (stuff I personally hate writing), etc.
 

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And that USP will be sort of like "withdraw your money from a REAL human being" when everyone would rather use an ATM.

Sort of, but not quite.

To be honest, and this might just very well be the ol' "growing older and resisting change" phenomenon (I'm 23, so maybe I'm just grumpier than average), but I think humans' willingness to let a machine/program do everything for us is probably going to lead to our demise.

In fact, I find it really disturbing that the Internet might be infested with believable AI "users" soon.

I mean, how long before someone creates an AI that "learns" from our post history in forums and social media and emulates our own personalities at a believable level?

"Well, would you look at that, SmartyPants137 replied to me in a snarky way. Me-Bot, please reply in a manner I would. Oh, and add something about their mother in line 3."

Laziness supposedly brought Neanderthals to extinction. Homo sapiens were just THAT more willing to get shit done physically. Is the pattern now repeating itself?
 

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Jarvis vs Sudowrite comparison for fiction

Both Jarvis and Sudowrite can help fiction writers but there's a huge difference between the quality of the output.

In short, Sudowrite is incomparably better than Jarvis for fiction writers. It's so, so incredible that my mind is blown yet again. What I'm covering below is just one of Sudowrite's features. It has a few more features that also blow my mind. But let's get to the comparison...

I asked Jarvis to describe an open air market (this is literally what I typed). Here's the first output:

An open-air market is most often a marketplace where goods are sold from temporary booths and stalls on the street, but sometimes can also be held in enclosed buildings. They are set up outdoors to allow for ground level exposure between retailers and consumers. The terms bazaar or souk refer to markets in Middle Eastern countries, such as Lebanon with permanent structures and specialized vendors and long-term tenants who pay daily or monthly rent.

Oftentimes, food is also sold as well as other varieties of goods.

So it has a tendency to sound like an encyclopedia if you give it a vague prompt. So I typed "describe what you can see in an open air market":

In the wide, open air market, I can see a number of stands where I can buy clothes.

A man is selling vegetables. A woman is selling fruit. There are many stands of different kinds of clothing for sale, from dresses to pants to socks and underwear. I can see a number of people walking around the market, looking at things or talking to one another

Still very encyclopedia-like, with no appeal to the senses. I tried again, with this command: "describe an open air market in an evocative tone of voice, describing the smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste of the place":

The open air market was alive with the sound of people bargaining. The smell of spices and produce made my mouth water, but I knew that I couldn't take any more time to buy things. Pushing my way through the crowd, I found myself alone in an alleyway. The light over head cast shadows that seemed like they were dancing with each other as they played across the ground. Suddenly, a group of children came running past me with what looked like a mango in their hands.

Better, but still not very evocative. I tried to be even more precise with my prompts but it didn't produce anything better and was actually even worse.

Now let's compare it with Sudowrite. Sudowrite makes it easier because you can simply highlight a word or a phrase and ask it to describe it for you. It then produces a couple of options for sight, smell, sound, taste, touch and even a metaphorical description. So here are a few of the outputs for "open-air market":

SIGHT:

It is a sprawling market of tents and stalls, packed with rows and rows of vendors selling everything from a single scarlet apple to an entire pig's head. There are even stands that carry rotten meat, baking bread, pickles, and hundreds of different kinds of fragrant flowers.

SMELL:

A storm of overripe watermelons crashes into the mouth as the smell of fermenting bananas wafts from the stalls. A market filled with a symphony of smells, the sweet scent of glazed pork butt and pickled peppers, the perfumes of delicate flowers, the yeasty wafts of drunken beer, and the sickly stench of unwashed bodies.

SOUND:

The vendors shouted in their native languages, calling out their wares and pleading with one another to buy or bargain. Their voices were high-pitched and jabbering.

TASTE:

The air was full of insects, and with a hint of rot.

TOUCH:

The sun is hot, the streets are covered in thick dust, the clothes you have on are not made for the outdoors. As the day goes on, you get more and more sweaty, your clothes become wet with sweat.

METAPHORICAL:

The market was the size of a farm, and it tasted like one, too, of warm hay and manure and wildflowers.

Many of these are super solid already and require little to no editing. And these are the first options I generated. You can generate as many as you want until you find something that appeals to you. I find it incredibly valuable for a fiction writer, and particularly for someone like me who's learning.

By using AI to come up with these descriptions I'll be able to quicker understand various patterns that make descriptions evocative. Otherwise I'd either have to browse through my highlights in the novels (to find something that sparks an idea) or stare at the screen and think what to write.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Been so impressed with Jarvis that I signed up to be an affiliate. Looks like a great program too with residuals. Great for someone with a forum, blog, or some type of audience, could ramp up passivity on top of a core business. :)
 

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With my rate I could be making 6 figures if I can get full time hours. It is a self-employed career, but I'm planning on saving up capital and starting other businesses.

Well that's the entire problem here. It's a career. Self-publishing is definitely a business compared to this because I don't have to work full hours (or any hours) to still keep making money.

Amazon launched new service recently that offers stories in smaller bytes.
And each byte is available for some small fee.

Basically Amazon is thinking that book can be turned into "TV series" kind experience
and hope to milk that concept.

I'm not sure about it. Imagine paying 12 times to get to the end of 2h movie.

Lets see how it will pan out.

Two problems here:
  • it's Amazon, so you're 100% dependent on them and their policies,
  • the model will reward quantity and most likely recency, so you probably won't be making much money from your episodes published in the past.
 

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