The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

HOT TOPIC Fastlane Opportunities for Writers

Accelerate wealth. Build a business that pays freedom. Join more than 70,000 entrepreneurs and register for the Fastlane Entrepreneur forum. Remove ads? Join the INSIDERS.

Antifragile

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Mar 15, 2018
703
1,539
478
Vancouver, BC, Canada
@MJ DeMarco some people didn’t buy because of title, fine but how many did buy because of title? You can’t please everyone… and the guys who didn’t buy may be more vocal. I don’t know. But I liked the title. Just want to give this some balanced counterpoint.
 

tnekwerd

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jun 6, 2017
8
24
26
37
Colorado
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.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
32,501
123,807
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
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.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
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.

100%.

Which is the reason why I can't make non-fiction work anymore for me. A few years ago, you could hit it big without having a personal brand. Amazon helped promote books that you put on their radar through your initial efforts. These days, more marketing is needed and people want to know the author behind the book, want to see the author's blog, YouTube channel, Instagram profile, etc. I don't want to sell my life like that.

There are possibly some non-fiction niches where you could get away without doing this (or even without an author name) but I'm not sure if I still want to write non-fiction. I have one idea in mind but it's not something I'm extremely fired up about so writing a series of books might be a challenge.

That's one of the reasons why I'm learning how to write fiction. Very few people care who's behind a novel they enjoy. It's the fictional characters they care about.
 

tnekwerd

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jun 6, 2017
8
24
26
37
Colorado
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.
I completely sympathize with that as well.

Probably should have made it clear earlier that this is basically all just in service of building a personal brand.
 

Kevin88660

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
1,615
1,859
552
Singapore
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 can share a bit ob my hobby/side hustle but it has more to do with content creation than writing, which I believe writing also falls under the broad group.

I first experimented with Medium writing broadly on business, entrepreneurship, finance and self-help and of course it is going nowhere.

The early 2021 crypto boom, I switched to producing on youtube, focusing on cryptocurrency niche. I further narrowed down to Chinese language audience, focusing on news analysis, project tokenomics analysis and price movement technical aspect such as onchain analysis. Within a few months I could hit the monetization threshold where on average it should take two years for other creators. I am getting solicitation from major crypto exchange for advertising partnership.

I think selecting the niche/industry is very important. If you are creating content for fitness industry you are in the fitness industry. If you are creating content for the gamers you are in the gaming industry. I don’t think of it as being a “writer” or “Youtuber”. Picking the “right industry” at right time makes a big difference.

At end of day there is big demand for money related topics be it business, finance, stocks, crypto or self help in general but identifying your relative strength is really important because of the competition. From this experience I recognized that I perform personally far better being a “specialist” than a “generalist”, something that I just begin to learn and appreciate along the way. The more niche it gets I tend to perform relatively better than other creators in the bell curve competition. I think it has to do with my personal obsession in some intellectual and technical details that are related to Economics or finance. I literally was learning the facts and figures at 7pm and started creating the video at 7.30pm. I just naturally learn fast in such topics.

There is a human tendency to overestimate our ability in our interest and underestimate our proficiency in our trade. If you are enjoying a new hobby right after knowing it three months it gives you a false sense of confidence that you could teach others. If you have been doing something for ten years you easily assume everyone else knows “such simple thing” and no one would need help on that.

Regarding cryptocurrency industry it has a well established routes of monetization for creators. Service providers such as exchanges, wallets want to promote themselves. Project developers want their coins to be heard. There are creators running paid Tg groups for “trading tips”.

I think the lesson for me was
1) Choose industry/ niche that demand, trends, monetization path are hot and well established
2) Understand yourself at a deeper level and compare to the existing creators. Then experiment to pick the sub-niches and communication style that put you ahead of the bell curve in the competition.
 
Last edited:

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
Picking the “right industry” at right time makes a big difference.

Definitely. Sometimes you can identify the right industry yourself but sometimes you get lucky and the niche explodes in popularity as you grow.
 

Andy Black

Links at AndyBlack.net
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
12,492
49,128
4,306
Ireland
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.



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.



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.
This is what Nicolas Cole explained in his book. Put content out there and see what resonates. Then expand on what resonates.

My take is to help folks and see where you repeat yourself, and then create content to answer people asking it in future.

Like others in this thread, I don’t particularly want to grow a personal brand so haven’t taken that further.
 

Andy Black

Links at AndyBlack.net
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
12,492
49,128
4,306
Ireland
There is a human tendency to overestimate our ability in our interest and underestimate our proficiency in our trade. If you are enjoying a new hobby right after knowing it three months it gives you a false sense of confidence that you could teach others. If you have been doing something for ten years you easily assume everyone else knows “such simple thing” and no one would need help on that.
Ha. This is so true. I’ve been a freelancer for 10 years and often forget it’s not as clear to others.
 

Andy Black

Links at AndyBlack.net
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
12,492
49,128
4,306
Ireland
but then your job is marketing, not writing
I’m curious what your definition of marketing is @MTF?


My definition of marketing is:
  1. Find out what people want to buy.
  2. Find out how to sell it to them.
  3. Find out if you can do it profitably.
  4. Do it.
 

Andy Black

Links at AndyBlack.net
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
12,492
49,128
4,306
Ireland
Curious what you guys think of The Hustle being bought by Hubspot for $10m or so.

They write a newsletter and built an engaged list that Hubspot wanted access to.

Similar to Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club to get access to their large list of buyers.

Our asset isn’t just an engaged list, but it’s also the content and strategy/method that got people onto our list.

Thinking of the book “Built To Sell” … what assets have you or can you build MTF that someone would buy from you?
 

LifeDeathTime

It's funny cause we're all going to die anyways
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
35
72
121
FL, USA
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.
The people who are going to kill it in content generation (ie writing) in the next few years are going to be the people who feed the A.I. systems that already exist.

They're already dominating many spaces without much of the general public realizing it.

How much have you played with GPT-3 based systems? Have you tried out something like Jarvis.ai?

I don't think most people realize how good these systems are becoming.
I personally know people who've hired content "writers" (More like A.I. dog walkers at this point) who essentially feed the system facts, names, places, specific products, etc and are able to crank out 100,000+ words per day.

It's not at all what it was three, four, five years ago. I've been trying out these automated writing tools for 10 plus years and they were always pretty terrible and gimmicky for the longest time. In just the last 12 to 18 months it's got to the point where I almost can't believe it.

This is content that is indistinguishable from human written content.

Just go read the GPT-3 Wikipedia. In their studies it was like 50% of people couldn't choose when comparing two different writing samples side by side. Meaning it's essentially 50/50, a coin flip to even differentiate machine written content and human written content.

Of course these systems aren't perfect and there's a learning curve to figure out what patterns to feed them and how to properly organize the facts and figures you feed the system but once you get it down you can produce a ridiculous amount of content.

This is going to be the present and future opportunities for "writers".
 

Kevin88660

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
1,615
1,859
552
Singapore
I think it is important to distinguish writing/communication as a mean vs an end.

I think fictional stories and youtube mini educational documentary style videos (a trend now) emphasize a lot on the delivery and a good reader experience. Writing or the way you present your material is a big part.

Personally I would care less if MJ put his stories in powerpoints or do it in a lecture style podcast without the beautiful deliveries, analogies and stories. I am not sure if it is the same for others. I am more looking at the knowledge and know hows.

Another famous writer I can think of is Benjamin Hardy. His writing on Medium is a funnel to his self help teaching packages.

I think for “writing a mean” the communication in itself is a marketing for your own products which is more education and info based in a niche. You focus on producing contents that are free to consume, as long as they are good enough to worth your audience’ time. The monetization comes after the traffic.

And if you are writing blogs or making videos on useful content in a niche, and you dont have products or lesson packages for sell, you end up doing promotion for products or services of others as a way of monetisation.

I could be wrong but for people who pay to read your writing purely for the reading experience like watching a movie, and paying money for that, it is a hard sell these days. Remember that young man from UK who made beautiful documentary on youtube on fake guru, it is free for his audience to watch them, and he gets paid through Ad Sense and other promotion partnerships. I think he is successful in the sense that he create beautiful content that almost could sell on its own (producing as an end), but I think producing it as a mean, and putting it out for free makes him more money.
 
Last edited:

Dami-B

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jan 25, 2015
161
389
196
30
Lagos, Nigeria
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.
I think it boils down to creativity and your ability to leverage your skillset into something bigger. For example, my skillset is Digital marketing, but I've been able to leverage that skill into real estate brokerage, which has higher returns on my time and investment than agency, building a team and system around sales, procurement and lead generation has also been a game changer, even though it's time consuming and the lead time from prospect to sales close is longer, the return on impact and investment is much higher. I think if you ask yourself what's the biggest impact I could have with my skillset whether it's copywriting, writing, marketing etc. You might have to think about partnerships, collaborations, breaking into new markets etc, you have the capability of writing great content, if you could collaborate with other people's capabilities, maybe you can create much bigger impact and ROI on your skillset
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
I’m curious what your definition of marketing is @MTF?


My definition of marketing is:
  1. Find out what people want to buy.
  2. Find out how to sell it to them.
  3. Find out if you can do it profitably.
  4. Do it.

For books specifically, it's getting people to check your book page (the "traffic" part which is difficult for me) and then get them to buy it (the "conversion" part which is easier for me).

Curious what you guys think of The Hustle being bought by Hubspot for $10m or so.

They write a newsletter and built an engaged list that Hubspot wanted access to.

Similar to Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club to get access to their large list of buyers.

Our asset isn’t just an engaged list, but it’s also the content and strategy/method that got people onto our list.

Thinking of the book “Built To Sell” … what assets have you or can you build MTF that someone would buy from you?

I'm at a stage where I'd rather not sell assets but buy new ones. I prefer cashflow and the more assets that can produce cash for years to come, the better.

As for The Hustle, I can't help but think that in the end it's not so much a writing business as it's an email marketing business.

I think that a mediocre newsletter with incredible marketing will grow way bigger than a spectacularly written newsletter without that much focus on email marketing. Of course, combining these two things would work best but business-wise assuming quality that's good enough, marketing wins.

So yes, writing IS an aspect of the newsletter business but it seems to me that it's not really the key skill.

I'm saying it after my failed attempt at building a newsletter so maybe I'm disgruntled lol. Anyway, writing it was easy but it had zero impact on its growth because I didn't know how to promote it. A random marketer would have gotten more subscribers overnight (with zero content) than I got after several weeks of writing long, well-researched issues of the newsletter.

The people who are going to kill it in content generation (ie writing) in the next few years are going to be the people who feed the A.I. systems that already exist.

They're already dominating many spaces without much of the general public realizing it.

How much have you played with GPT-3 based systems? Have you tried out something like Jarvis.ai?

That's funny because just yesterday I reached out to a person who uses AI-assisted writing heavily in his business. I'll have a call with him soon so I can see how actually he uses it.

Do you think it can work for fiction as well or for now just for non-fiction? Do you recommend any resources to better understand this field?

Personally I would care less if MJ put his stories in powerpoints or do it in a lecture style podcast without the beautiful deliveries, analogies and stories. I am not sure if it is the same for others. I am more looking at the knowledge and know hows.

That's because you primarily (if not exclusively) read for information/utility. Other people read for entertainment, inspiration, or status/experience. Obviously there's nothing wrong with how you read books. Just pointing out that different people read for different reasons.

Another famous writer I can think of is Benjamin Hardy. His writing on Medium is a funnel to his self help teaching packages.

That's the problem for many writers. They want to write and make money off their writing, not off their teaching packages. Also, not all authors can go beyond their books and sell something on the back end. Narrative non-fiction is one example. So are, for the most part, history books. You can theoretically come up with some kind of a back end product but it's sort of like telling a professional athlete to spend more time on license deals instead of training for the next event.

I could be wrong but for people who pay to read your writing purely for the reading experience like watching a movie, and paying money for that, it is a hard sell these days.

In some ways it's true because when you sell a book to be consumed for entertainment (vs information) you're competing against all other ways to entertain oneself, whether it's a book, a TV show, a movie, shopping, social media, etc.
 

LifeDeathTime

It's funny cause we're all going to die anyways
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
35
72
121
FL, USA
Do you think it can work for fiction as well or for now just for non-fiction? Do you recommend any resources to better understand this
Both.

I've only used it personally for nonfiction but I have seen applications in fiction that seem to work just as well.

According to GPT-3 Wikipedia:
  • GPT-3 has been used by Andrew Mayne for AI Writer, which allows people to correspond with historical figures via email.
I haven't tried it but I'm guessing it's pretty good.

All of the stuff we currently have access to is the consumer-available, limited API. I don't see why if you train these networks on great American authors, it couldn't easily reproduce amazing fiction stories.

It's all about patterns.

The "hero's journey" is easily the most reproduced pattern in fiction and I bet if you train the model on it, it would produce amazing stories.
 
Last edited:

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
All of the stuff we currently have access to is the consumer available, limited API. I don't see why if you train these networks on great American authors, it couldn't easily reproduce amazing fiction stories.

That's actually pretty terrifying for a writer. Imagine that you feed it just 10% of the greatest fiction work from every genre. Once it learns how to write well, you can create a full-length well-structured novel with whatever elements you want in it. The job of a fiction writer disappears overnight.

Of course, there would still be people interested in reading human-written stories but most probably wouldn't care. Maybe they would even get themselves a copy of the AI software to tell stories to themselves without paying an author. Fascinating and scary possibilities at the same time.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
32,501
123,807
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
Both.

I've only used it personally for nonfiction but I have seen applications in nonfiction which seem to work just as well.

According to GPT-3 Wikipedia:
  • GPT-3 has been used by Andrew Mayne for AI Writer, which allows people to correspond with historical figures via email.
I haven't tried it but I'm guessing it's pretty good.

All of the stuff we currently have access to is the consumer available, limited API. I don't see why if you train these networks on great American authors, it couldn't easily reproduce amazing fiction stories.

It's all about patterns.

The "hero's journey" is easily the most reproduced pattern in fiction and I bet if you train the model on it, it would produce amazing stories.

So basically writing is going to be a mass-produced, ubiquitous commodity? That's a bit scary.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
So basically writing is going to be a mass-produced, ubiquitous commodity? That's a bit scary.

Check this out (scroll to See examples of blog posts written by customers with Jarvis):


All these posts were written with AI (doesn't mean 100% by AI but AI-assisted).

They cover all kinds of topics and you'd never tell that most of the work was done by AI.

Also, there are entire BOOKS written with AI:


It is scary for sure.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
3,712
23,099
4,306
The Underground
Check this out (scroll to See examples of blog posts written by customers with Jarvis):


All these posts were written with AI (doesn't mean 100% by AI but AI-assisted).

They cover all kinds of topics and you'd never tell that most of the work was done by AI.

Also, there are entire BOOKS written with AI:


It is scary for sure.

I wouldn't worry much about AI. It will create great fiction, but it won't replace an author's individual creativity.

A problem with talking about AI is that it future-paces a reality that may be decades away, and may not come to pass at all.

Talking about AI takes you inside of your mind and directs attention away from the present.

Just like reading good fiction takes you into the story, imagining AI futures takes you there, and then it seems like "there" is here right now, even though your idea of "there" may only ever exist inside of your mind.

In any case, what's the point of worrying about something you can't control?

But even if AI does get creative, people will like what they like. I like Lana Del Rey, and even when I discovered Aurora and Marina, I didn't stop listening to Lana Del Rey. Just expanded my playlist a little.

Five years ago I thought AI would be pretty close to replacing copywriters by now. I was wrong.
 

LifeDeathTime

It's funny cause we're all going to die anyways
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
35
72
121
FL, USA
I wouldn't worry much about AI. It will create great fiction, but it won't replace an author's individual creativity.

A problem with talking about AI is that it future-paces a reality that may be decades away, and may not come to pass at all.

Talking about AI takes you inside of your mind and directs attention away from the present.

Just like reading good fiction takes you into the story, imagining AI futures takes you there, and then it seems like "there" is here right now, even though your idea of "there" may only ever exist inside of your mind.

In any case, what's the point of worrying about something you can't control?

But even if AI does get creative, people will like what they like. I like Lana Del Rey, and even when I discovered Aurora and Marina, I didn't stop listening to Lana Del Rey. Just expanded my playlist a little.

Five years ago I thought AI would be pretty close to replacing copywriters by now. I was wrong.
@Lex DeVille I think you need to re-explore the tools now dude.

GPT-3 came out ~12 months ago. It's nothing like I've ever seen before.

I was of the exact same mindset as you and nothing until that is even close to being any good.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
3,712
23,099
4,306
The Underground
@Lex DeVille I think you need to re-explore the tools now dude.

GPT-3 came out ~12 months ago. It's nothing like I've ever seen before.

I was of the exact same mindset as you and nothing until that is even close to being any good.

I didn't say nothing was good. I said it doesn't matter. If it did, I wouldn't be working on a six-figure copywriting deal right now. It matters even less for creatives.

There isn't a single person on this forum that believes in the possibilities of AI, exponential growth, and immortality more than me. It doesn't change the fact that AI won't replace creatives even when it outperforms them in every measurable way.
 

BizyDad

My 1st biz sold paper planes. It folded...
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Oct 7, 2019
1,167
3,793
864
Phoenix AZ
  1. Find out what people want to buy.
  2. Find out how to sell it to them.
  3. Find out if you can do it profitably.
  4. Do it.
I know this is more of a general definition of marketing, but as a practical, personal guide, I would add:

Step 3a. Find out how much of my personal time it will take.

Which is why, though I am currently writing (to satisfy a personal need to write), I don't expect to ever go fastlane with a writing based effort. I just feel like I can get a higher ROI of my time by doing other things.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304

This is super depressing. The guy has been publishing these income reports since 2007, has a nice catalog, and has been working with major New York publishers, and yet made only $31k in 2020, $14k in 2019, and $39k in 2018. His BEST year ever (2016) was $77k.

He makes some money from his self-published titles but it was less than 7% of his 2020 income. I wonder how much he would earn if all of his books were self-published instead of traditionally-published.

Which is why, though I am currently writing (to satisfy a personal need to write), I don't expect to ever go fastlane with a writing based effort. I just feel like I can get a higher ROI of my time by doing other things.

For me, writing helps with other aspects of life so its overall ROI, not just monetary, is substantial. It's sort of a meditative experience, it helps you clarify your thoughts (in non-fiction) or maybe deal with some emotions (in fiction). It improves your vocabulary, makes you curious about new things (if you need to do research), and sometimes even helps you become an expert in a topic that may one day generate a higher monetary ROI.

I'm learning how to write fiction now hoping it'll make some money. Considering all the depressing earnings of average fiction writers, I'm not sure how likely it is that it'll ever be anything more than a tiny bit of side income. But maybe the storytelling skills I'll hopefully learn will help me become a better person and also somehow translate into business.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
3,712
23,099
4,306
The Underground

This is super depressing. The guy has been publishing these income reports since 2007, has a nice catalog, and has been working with major New York publishers, and yet made only $31k in 2020, $14k in 2019, and $39k in 2018. His BEST year ever (2016) was $77k.

He makes some money from his self-published titles but it was less than 7% of his 2020 income. I wonder how much he would earn if all of his books were self-published instead of traditionally-published.



For me, writing helps with other aspects of life so its overall ROI, not just monetary, is substantial. It's sort of a meditative experience, it helps you clarify your thoughts (in non-fiction) or maybe deal with some emotions (in fiction). It improves your vocabulary, makes you curious about new things (if you need to do research), and sometimes even helps you become an expert in a topic that may one day generate a higher monetary ROI.

I'm learning how to write fiction now hoping it'll make some money. Considering all the depressing earnings of average fiction writers, I'm not sure how likely it is that it'll ever be anything more than a tiny bit of side income. But maybe the storytelling skills I'll hopefully learn will help me become a better person and also somehow translate into business.

All I know is that there is, for sure, a way to make it work. Who is making it work now? What are they doing? When was the last time you went for a brainstorm to come up with new ideas on the business front, not the writing front?

If you want this to be Fastlane, you need solutions for the parts that aren't working for yourself and others. Not focus on how depressing it is that their business isn't working. How can you solve that? What can you do differently? You don't have to solve it for them. Just for you.

If it's not about the money, then who cares what anybody is doing? Just write.

Part of being an entrepreneur is solving hard shit that nobody else has answers for. Figuring it out when nobody else can. I think that is what is most rewarding about any of this. Being the person who goes beyond - who finds a way even when the darkest hour falls. What is more rewarding than that moment when you realize, it was me all along. Only I could solve this problem that defeated everyone else...
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,627
22,578
4,304
All I know is that there is, for sure, a way to make it work. Who is making it work now? What are they doing? When was the last time you went for a brainstorm to come up with new ideas on the business front, not the writing front?

I'm just looking at it in terms of odds. If in one business an average person makes $100k and in another the average is $10k, which business, all other things being equal, gives you higher chances of making it work? Why would you try to figure out how to make that $10k business work if the other one gives you 10x better odds?

It's the same reason why I'd never write poetry (apart from the fact that I hate it lol). If there are any living professional poets (who can make a living writing poetry alone), I doubt the most successful ones make more than a minimum wage.

If you want this to be Fastlane, you need solutions for the parts that aren't working for yourself and others. Not focus on how depressing it is that their business isn't working.

You're making a good point here. I have a tendency to seek real-world examples and maybe sometimes it sounds as if I'm looking for proof that something can't work. But I find it more valuable to learn from average guys than from outliers who are, for the most part, impossible to imitate.

When was the last time you went for a brainstorm to come up with new ideas on the business front, not the writing front?

All the time. I don't really spend that much time writing compared to thinking, researching, and brainstorming new business directions.

If it's not about the money, then who cares what anybody is doing? Just write.

I don't need to make more money but I have very little interest in doing things for free or even for a low financial return. It's probably not healthy to look at the world this way but that's how I'm wired.

This, by the way, is a reality check most people thinking about their life post financial independence don't consider. You tell yourself that once you have financial security you'll start writing books or playing music but then when you can actually do it, deep down you think it's a waste of time because you're not earning enough money to justify the time and effort expense. Or maybe that's just me being weird.

Either way, thanks as always for your response, @Lex DeVille. I always appreciate your thoughts even if we may have opposite views on certain things.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
3,712
23,099
4,306
The Underground
Why would you try to figure out how to make that $10k business work if the other one gives you 10x better odds?

I guess my reasoning is that you would try to figure it out because one supports what you want to do over the other, and because it is only 10x better odds with the other business if you assume that you will be average. You could also be below average with the other business. Maybe you would still come out ahead, maybe not.

You don't need to imitate successful people. They're examples of outliers. But outliers exist, and even though there may be an element of luck to their success, there is also a lot of process involved. They are doing things differently from others. They are faced with the same dismal outcomes and yet, they are winning.

Maybe it's different for you, but for me, just knowing that something is possible is enough to assume that I can do it better. Maybe I can. Maybe I can't. Maybe I will be average or below average. Maybe the world will blow up today. I think the odds are always stacked against us, so even though I will probably lose most of the time, I'd rather just assume that I can win in any situation and put all of my focus on figuring out how to win at whatever I want to do most.

I think whether you figure out how to make fiction writing be the business you want it to be or not, someone is going to figure out how.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
3,712
23,099
4,306
The Underground
Figuring out how could also mean radically changing the system.

What if you pulled people onto an email list with the start of a story in a FB ad that continues by email? What if it was some kind of pick-your-own-path story where the user gets involved? Where their choice to click button (A) over button (B) affects character outcomes?

What if it was subscription-based? What if you added micro-transactions users can purchase within the story that affects the storyline, and other transactions that are social-based so people get points for sharing that can be exchanged for story-benefits. Maybe one share gives the character a fork to fight the dragon while 10 shares will give him a sword?

Not saying do this (even though it is possible to create right now), but I don't think tomorrow's publishing successes are going to look like what they look like today. The stories don't have to change that much, but how they are delivered and consumed probably will.
 

MeloTheMelon

New Contributor
Jun 13, 2021
6
4
11
After reading through the thread, here are my 10 cents.
You mentioned that you have a email list, but most people on it seem to be from poorer countries and want stuff for free.
You can see this, like already mentioned, as wrong target group for your product, or you turn that around and see it as wrong product for the right group.
Instead of building a new email list, why not try catering to the one you already have? If they can't affored your books, turn them into free content. A blog is the obvious, and that doesn't have to be a personal brand. You could also use the blog to test ideas that you might want to turn into books further down the line.
Chris Anderson wrote an article for Wired about the internet allowing people to make a living from tiny niches, the article went viral and he wanted to turn the thesis into a book, but knew that it would take him 1-2 years. He made a blog about the topic (The long tail) and started to talk about his research, test ideas, crowdsource information, etc. Then two years later he released the book with a crowd that wanted to buy it.
You can monetize the blog in more way than you can a book, and earn money from the people who want free stuff.
On the other hand you could go further and turn it into a podcast.

On the topic of fiction, I think it highly depends on the niche. Pure fantasy is probably so saturated that you won't have an easy start. But there are some niche, like LitRPG, that's rather new, lives on mostly self-published authors, and word of mouth. That also means that there is a lot of garbage in that genre, but you don't need much skill to get out of the piles of terrible books.
Graham Stephan had an interview with a LitRPG writer (I'll see if I can find it later) who started out writing and making almost 6-figures a month on his first books by only being active in a couple facebook groups, his books were decent and word of mouth did the rest.
There are some niches in fiction with a fanbase that is starving for content, if you can find one and write a decent book you can probably go fastlane with it.

The other thing that might get your fiction writing to fastlane would be selling complementory items. If you have a couple super fans who buy every book in your series, why not push other items too. Patrick Rothfuss is one example of a fantasy writer who also sells merch. His store for reference. A book takes a long time to make, but selling signed copies for a couple bucks more doesn't cost you a lot of time. T-Shirts, Mugs, Jewlery, Playing Cards, Plushies, Art prints, Maps, Stickers, Figurines, heck I even saw some brands selling pajamas of their fantasy world. There are literally no limits.

Then you can also play with new media, there are short story magazines who turn the submissions into "audio books", instead of writing a whole book, why not write a series of short stories and turn it into an audio series, as well as publishing it for free online, and selling a printed copy of the collection?

I think the main problem with authors not going fastlane is that they might have multiple streams of income, but they all have the same, experiment with new media, try to create new streams of income that aren't common in the industry.
 

seraphine

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 14, 2021
24
39
20
It's the same reason why I'd never write poetry (apart from the fact that I hate it lol). If there are any living professional poets (who can make a living writing poetry alone), I doubt the most successful ones make more than a minimum wage.
Actually there's Rupi Kaur, whose net worth is about a million, just from selling her poetry books/doing readings. But it's only because her poetry is really, really, really terrible, so bad that it became a huge meme. Most other poets, even poets who have won the Nobel Prize like Louise Glück, teach poetry writing at universities.

To be honest, I think these days it pays more to write badly than to write well—just look at something like 50 Shades of Grey.
 

Sponsored Offers

MARKETPLACE Fox Web School "Legend" Group Coaching Program 2021
Hi - I sent out some emails with the updates but I'll PM you now also, thanks. The issue is...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE NEW: The Best School for Going Fastlane (Now open for summer enrollment)
Read the free book, some excellent insights. I also did the website quiz and I did a visual on a...
MARKETPLACE Not sure how to start? This free book will teach you how to build a successful web design business
Hi Fox. Starting the book and got through the introduction. Had a conversation with Andy Black...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Chris is super sharp and is aware of many facets of entrepreneurship and can help get your...
Introducing MJ's Personal Unscripted Network, Join Now for FREE!
Any chance to make it available outside of US? It has been available outside of the US on...

Forum Sponsor

Learn Fastlane Business Skills & Get Profitable Within 30 Days...

Get Started Now

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom