I heard an interesting term this past week. Flexing. A colleague, Cristina Katz, offers webinars and courses on platform and increasing your audience. Her book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, has been very successful, and I admire her accomplishments.
Writing Tip for Today: So what is FLEXING? And how can you use it?
Versatility. For me, flexing in writing mostly means utilizing a single hard-won document (lots and lots of revision involved!) to create important tools such as synopses, queries and pitches. Start with a standard 500 word synopsis. Then, use your synopsis to lift out the crucial info and craft a query, a blurb, a short summary and/or a pitch. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by learning to get the 25 word essence of a book into the lead of a synopsis. If you already have the 25 word version nailed, it’s simpler to expand than it is to reduce.
- Other Flexes. Other ways to use a flexible document included writing a nonfiction essay or article and “flexing” it to fit the guidelines of different publications. In Christian writing markets, we’ve been doing this for decades, writing articles that we first market to one denomination, and then changing details to market to other distinct and non-overlapping markets. In marketing the same basic story more than once to competing markets, you’ll need to substantially change your lead in order to market first rights. Otherwise it’s a reprint.
- Versatility vs. Branding. If you’re primarily writing fiction, writing and selling nonfiction helps build a writing resume. Some writers get confused, though. As one asked, “How can I build my brand if I’m versatile? By using your time wisely (i.e., using a single document to craft several tools for your book) you can still concentrate on the market you’re trying to reach. Think about the reader. What are her main interests? Identify these interests and concentrate on writing to that reader. Happy Flexing!