How To Be Discovered And Make $15 Bazillion (Plus Royalties)

MikeachimBlogging, Writing12 Comments

Fevered Mutterings image - 1.21 JigaWatts! by Mike Behnken - Flickr

Hi Mike,

My name is Steve Spielberg – you may have heard of me from such films as ET, Close Encounters and the recent Indiana Jones film I regret letting George Lucas write. (Seriously, the fridge? Well, anyway.) Like many people in the entertainment industry, I’ve been reading your blog (trying to distract myself in the nerve-wracking run up to the Globes. Did you see Lincoln? No, wait, you’re in the UK, you guys are decades behind us over there. Go see The Goonies. I wrote that. It’s just as good as Lincoln.)

The thing is, Mike, I love your blog and I want to make a film (a blog film) from it. No, the hell with it, let’s go plural. You know the Harry Potter franchise? Too small. You know how The Hobbit is one small book turned into 3 films? I’d have turned it into 20 films. (Peter Jackson blocked me on Twitter after I said that to him. Not a big thinker, our Jacko.) I want to take your North York Moors misadventure and turn it into Helm’s Deep meets The Ten Commandments meets Rain Man. (No offence.) So that’s film number 3. We can talk about the pacing later. I’m just ranting. So excited!

Anyway, I appreciate you probably need some funds to tide you over while we get production underway, so I’m transferring $15 bazillion ($15bz) over to you, any way you wish. (Plus royalties later – that’s another conversation.) I’ve had problems with PayPal thinking I’m a spammer when I’ve tried to move $bazillions to bank accounts in another country, so I recommend a BACS transfer. Or I can just fly the cash over in a private jet – not a problem.

Oh, and what’s the bandwidth allowance for your blog’s hosting package? Because . . . you’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Yours excitedly,

Steve.

If you have a blog and want to have a career as a writer, photographer or publisher of some kind, you dream of being Discovered.

It’s a totally valid dream. You could be Discovered. It happens. In the last few years, I’ve had minor moments of being discovered (small ‘d’) where freelance work knocked on my door. And I’ll confess – I have dreams of Joss Whedon reading one of my wretched quips, laughing in a genuine, non-pitying fashion, and pinging me an e-mail. (“Hi Mike. Name’s Joss. Campaigner for the zombie apocalypse, loving husband, professional killer. Let’s do funny things together. Not that way. J.”)

Problem is, this is a disastrous business strategy.

I have a friend who actually does use this as a business strategy. He figures that if people aren’t approaching him with offers of work, he needs to up his game, and it’s a strategy that is clearly working for him — but he earned it by working his ass off for years and years. For anyone who isn’t yet established and doesn’t have a portfolio that groans with entries, waiting to be discovered (or Discovered) is almost certainly business suicide.

If you want to work with people you admire, spend half of your time trying to meet them halfway. Be cheeky. Be helpful. Connect. Don’t tell those people you’re an admirer of their work – prove it. Don’t tell your potential audience you’re up to the job – do the job. Don’t wait for lightning to strike — stand on a hillside in wet copper armor and shout “all gods are bastards.”

This is a well-known part of the successful freelancer’s code: you seek out work while other work is seeking you out. What I think is less apparent for bloggers and anyone who uses social media is that “raising your profile” or “building your following” can easily be another form of waiting to be Discovered. What are you building your followers for? What happens when you have double the Fans on your page? When does stuff actually happen?

The answer is almost always this: stuff happens when you reach out for it.

So make sure you do that as soon as possible.

Image: MikeBehnken