Saturday, 25 October 2014

Consulting Sprint Education by Susan Price

I've been too busy this month to come up with a blog, so here's
The badge of the RLF
some notes on what I've been up to.

I've mentioned before how I trained with the Royal Literary Fund to become one of their accredited consultants.

Well, I decided that I'd better do something with the accreditation. Long ago, when I first started earning a living as a writer, I made more money by going into schools and talking about what I did, than I did from actually selling my writing.

I've continued to make part of my income from school visits ever since, but gradually the writing income overtook the school income... but since the recession both have fallen off sharply. As, I think, almost everyone posting here has found too.

I decided to do something about this. I needed income but, obviously, it was no longer sufficient to wait for schools to seek me out. I had to go out and grab them by the lapels, even if only metaphorically.

Sprint Education
So I gritted the teeth and paid a hefty sum (£500 plus VAT) to Sprint Education, a marketing company specialising in marketing to schools. I reasoned that I only had to get two bookings to break even, and I reckoned I could manage that.

If you check out the Sprint Ed link, you'll see that they give away, for free, an awful lot of information about the best way to approach schools and get their attention.

Using this advice, I crafted my email, sent it to Sprint Ed - and they advised me on how to improve it before sending it off to 8,400 teachers in the UK. The email goes directly to a teacher, not to an office, and Sprint Ed use coding so that each email is personalised.

The advert went out at 9am on September 11. At 12-10 I had my first phonecall. After that, the emails and phone-calls continued to come.

I broke even by the second day. My bookings now take me well into profit. I'm on course to earn, once again, as much or more from school visits as I do from writing.

The downside is that I spent over a week doing almost nothing but answer emails, providing quotes, and more details about what I could do in schools. (Susan Price in Schools)

I'm glad of the work and income, but I can't remember the last time I did any of my own writing. I spend my days devising workshops - which is interesting work, and will pay bills. But I have a book to finish.

I'm also trying to get my Ghost World books published as paperbacks in time for Christmas, which means a lot of finicky revisions.

We're never happy, are we? 


Hallowe'en soon - and if you're looking for some suitably ghostly reading...

Overheard In A            Hauntings                 Nightcomers


Lydia Bennet said...

It would take so little to make us happy - all we need is each day becoming two days running parallel, so we can write and edit our books, and at the same time market them, run workshops, devise exercises, arrange gigs, etc etc. It's simple enough, can't understand why someone hasn't made it happen!

Lydia Bennet said...

ps thanks for this useful info, there are agencies which can get writers decent pay for going into schools, sometimes if you make an arrangement with a school informally we are back to yesterday's post about doing it for nowt while everyone else is on a salary.

Reb MacRath said...

A fine and useful post, Sue. Thanks. Let me know if you ever hear of a similar venue in the States. Would like to move up to writing-related work. Cheers.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

I don't go into schools these days at all although I would love to know how to get on the 'corporate talks' circuit since there's a whole lot of cash to be made that way. But wouldn't it be nice to be paid for what we do? The only organisation that pays me with any regularity these days is Amazon, on the nail, every month. This does raise a wider question though about how the 'other job' that most of us need influences the writing. I've come to the conclusion over the years that anything involving dealing with other people's creative writing means that I don't do very much of my own. The RLF fellowship was so good because it didn't involve creative writing. Helping people with academic writing was so much easier to switch on and off, so that I could get on with something else - and we were actively encouraged to do just that. I wonder how other people feel about this? I know people who teach creative writing full time and they hardly seem to do any writing of their own at all!