Great artists need great tools. If we are going to be great in our art, we need to equip ourselves and spend a little money doing it.
I’m as frugal as the next person. In fact, I’m kind of a skinflint. I will come up with a million ways from Saturday to get out of spending money. Some of my ideas are practical, like shopping at thrift stores for growing kids but some are a little ridiculous, like how I decided that instead of going to a writers’ conference, I’d just watch all the writing videos on YouTube. If I’m going to spend money, especially on my art, I’d like to know what will be worth the trouble.
Over on my Facebook group, 10 Minute Novelists, I asked how they spent their money on their art or on the marketing of their art.
Olivia Folmar Ard Great investment: bookmarks. I noticed when I was at an event with my friend and fellow author, she was able to get a conversation started because she had free bookmarks featuring her titles to give out. Most people won’t say no to anything that’s free, especially at an event where everyone is trying to sell them something, and then once they have it in their hands they more than likely will want to talk at least a little before moving on. Even if they don’t buy that second, they’ll have all your information and the name of your book, so they may buy online later! After that event, I came home and designed my own on VistaPrint. I’ve spent about $100 including shipping for two big batches. Most libraries let you leave a bunch on the counter, and that in itself is free advertising!
Tracy Krimmer Best investment: Scrivener & EverNote! EverNote is great for writing on the go and I can copy and paste right into Scrivener!
Michele Mathews Best investment: Scrivener because I am really starting to use it to organize my writing. I bought a cheap cover design and realized it wasn’t what I wanted so had it redone by a new book designer. I would never go cheap on a cover again.
Robin Patchen Best investment: Local writers conferences. My local ACFW group has one every year. It’s usually $50 to $60 for the day, and we get fantastic speakers. This year, it was Susie May Warren. Last year, James Rubart. I learned so much at both–at all the conferences we’ve had. Totally worth the money and time.
Rachelle M. N. Shaw Best investment: Scrivener and business cards. I’m still in the process of creating bookmarks. And this isn’t something I’ve spent money on so much as time, but just taking the time to contact people about reviews. It is definitely worth it. I wouldn’t have nearly the interest I’ve had in my book without those reviews.
Robert Brown Best investment: Online writing course. I spent $40 on 26 lessons. Each lesson had an assignment and a test at the end. I started out slow but finished with a 95% grade. I learned everything I had written was wrong. I went back over my WIP and am now rewriting my novel. It was money well spent.
Carolyn Perpetua Astfalk Best investment: Lots of things. My expenses have been minimal. Paid for printed copies of drafts from Staples several times, 50 rack cards, domain names, headshots, writers group dues, and now a conference, and space at a book expo. so far, all worth it. I need to get business cards next week.
Sherry Hyberger Howard Best investment: Others’ books The best investment for me was buying lots of current best sellers in my genre in paperback and then marking them up with highlighters and colored pens. Also, SCBWI workshops have been great! And my IPad has increased productivity for those 10minute spurts!
Denise Young Best investment: RWA I count my membership to RWA (Romance Writers of America) as a good investment. And all my writing books. I also just paid to enter a contest and am hoping to get good feedback from that, but I won’t know if that investment is going to pay off for a couple of months.
Becky Williams WatersBest investment: Writing conferences, personalized bookmarks, and $10 for 30 tweets from AskDavid. Bad investment? I entered my book in a contest that cost me money + several copies of the book I had to mail out and I didn’t even make the list. In all fairness, the finalists were all veteran authors and this was my first book, but I should have reviewed the past winners’ lists and figured out before the expense that I hadn’t yet “paid my dues.”
We’re going to have to spend money to make money!
What have you invested in for the sake of your own promotion or education? What was worth it? What wasn’t?