The biggest ways I failed as an author trying to make a living from my writing was to depend solely on algorithms and price points to succeed. Not that these things aren’t important, but they have to be balanced with other ways of reaching one’s readership and connecting with them.
A few years back, I had a notion of going into film production. I was already involved in screenwriting and thought I had the organizational skills to pull it off. I started getting to know camera and sound equipment, but realized after time that all you need to be a filmmaker is an iPhone.
That’s simplifying things a bit, since quality sound is an important component of filmmaking, as are a few other matters, such as choice of lens, postproduction colorization, and editing skills.
I ventured into self-publishing by accident really. I intended to release my out-of-print novel to get the work out there, for what it was worth. This was in 2009. At the time of its release, I discovered Kindle publishing (the only game in town, at that time). When Nook became available, I hopped onto that, too.
The volume of sales my book had at $0.99 turned out to be much higher than I could get when I priced the book higher. So even though I was earning a lower royalty rate, the volume of sales was so much higher, I was actually making more money.
One of the most essential skills for a screenwriter is to learn proper screenplay format. Unlike novel writing, screenplays have a strict format that developed from the early days of cinema.
Film has always been primarily a visual medium. It started with simple one-scene scenarios and developed into longer pieces made up of scenes. Because the first films were silent, early screenplays were essentially shot lists for the director’s use.
This video is the first in a series I’m doing on writing tips for prose fiction vs. screenwriting.