Author Chris Orcutt is the guest in Episode 25 of The Author Biz Podcast.
The dream: You write, edit and polish your manuscript to the point where it shines like a diamond, then send it to a big time agent who begs to represent you. She submits it to the big five publishers, all of whom want your book. There’s a bidding war and the winner pays you an advance that’s large enough for you to quit your day job and begin writing full time.
The fact: If you’re not already the star of a reality television program, this probably isn’t happening.
But what if there was another way to become a full-time writer? What if you could use your storytelling skills to earn money doing freelance work while spending the rest of your time working on your novels.
Chris Orcutt has been supporting himself as a professional writer for nearly 20 years, by doing just that, but not in the ways you might expect. He’s become a specialist in writing speeches and as you’ll hear in the interview, even screenplays for corporations.
He uses the skills he’s developed over the years as a writer, to help support his work as a novelist. And it’s working. In the past twelve months, Chris has published two books, including the latest in his Dakota Stevens Mystery Series, A TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION. In March of last year, he published the award-winning 100 MILES FROM MANHATTAN.
In this 48-minute interview Chris and I discuss a variety of subjects, including:
- The short documentary film his friend Jason Scott did on why Chris creates his first drafts with a pencil.
- How developing a niche or a specialty for your freelance work can increase what you earn for that work.
- How taking even small freelance gigs can lead to jobs that can significantly further your writing dreams.
- Chris explains his thought process for taking on freelance work. One of the major benefits: Each writing opportunity can teach us something that can be useful later.
- Freelance gigs can be limiting, but Chris believes that working with those limitations can help us to become more creative.
- Chris’s evolution from a do it all yourself author to an author who sees the value in building a team, and how learning to trust can be a big hurdle in that process.
- Why Chris decided to write and produce the book trailer for A TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION. (Great example of how good book trailers can be when they’re well done.)
- Being an author is ultimately about selling books, but Chris’s definition of success goes well beyond just sales.
Chris’s website – Orcutt.net
Chris’s Amazon Author Page
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Photo of Chris Orcutt by Jason Scott.