Learning Secrets of the Craft from Mark Manson

Daniella Cressman

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Acy Ian Malimban

I recently signed up for a monthly membership in exchange for access to a bunch of Mark Manson’s courses.

If you subscribe, you have access to a wide variety of classes.

At the time, it was $6 per month. It still is for me because I was already a member, but he’s since added courses and raised the price.

It’s extremely beneficial to receive advice from the master himself pertaining to relationships and writing advice!

Here are a few takeaways from his writing/blogging course.

1. UNIQUENESS IS ESSENTIAL

He mentions how important it is to stand out from the crowd by being unique.

I hear this advice frequently from successful writers: It’s less about reinventing the wheel and more about approaching subjects from a different angle.

Mark Manson inserts incredible, shocking, weird, eccentric art into his articles to make them stand out.

Tim Denning uses weird words.

Ayodeji Awosika offers simultaneously direct and poetic insights in the world of self-help and personal development: He gets right to the point and wakes people up immediately with his prose, yet he also manages to incorporate poetic wording into his work and reference unique literary geniuses.

2. IMAGES MATTER

Images matter.

I don’t know if I completely agree with the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but I will say that an emotionally charged image will often catch a reader’s eye and lead them to delve into your articles with a deeper level of fascination.

If you can find something unique or incorporate your own art into your pieces, this can make a world of difference.

3. CONSISTENCY IS KEY

I haven’t seen very many writers reach the pinnacle of success without writing consistently.

It usually takes a few years — sometimes even a decade! — before they reach financial success, but it sure as hell pays off in the long run to just keep going: Displaying a ton of content on any site will likely serve you well in the long run if you eventually end up with a larger audience, which a lot of wordsmiths do!

4. MARKETING IS PARAMOUNT

As an artist, I resent marketing: It feels extremely salesy and promotional, but it can make the difference between gaining exposure and not having an audience.

That being said, there are so many approaches and unique ways to market your work.

The takeaway is this: Social media is your friend if you use it the right way and adjust your strategy to suit each platform!

5. YOU CAN EARN A LOT MORE SELF-PUBLISHING YOUR BOOKS IN MANY CASES

To be honest, this last one surprised me: You can actually earn a lot more from self-publishing your books if you have a large audience than you can if you choose to work with one of the “Big Five” publishers: The royalty rates are generally much higher!

I suppose the only exception would be selling millions of copies through a press like Harper Collins!

6. IT’S OKAY TO SWEAR AS LONG AS YOU’RE DOING IT FOR A REASON

Mark Manson is notorious for swearing frequently in his work.

Personally, I like it: His in-your-face style makes his writing stand out, and I love the directness and conciseness in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: It is the equivalent of a literary punch in the face, and that’s hard to ignore!

Mark Manson swears to bring his message home and emotionally trigger the reader, for lack of a better phrase, because he knows this style stands out and gets peoples’ attention.

Some people love it; other people hate it, but practically no one feels neutral about it!

7. MONEY FOLLOWS ATTENTION

I hear this phrase often, and it’s true.

The brutal reality is that everyone who reaches a certain level of fame and wealth has to deal with a great deal of keyboard warriors typing deeply personal and hateful comments from their parents’ basements about their art because they have nothing better to do with their lives!

Hate is attention and so is adoration, so, at the end of the day, cruelty just another form of engagement that can increase your traffic.

As Graham Stephen once mentioned in his video, the most effective strategy to implement if you absolutely hate someone famous is to simply ignore them: Leaving hateful comments is the equivalent of paying the creator, because the World Wide Web simply sees this as engagement!

It’s best to simply ignore comments or respond to them in a humorous/neutral way if you’re feeling particularly resilient.

Personally, I just ignore comments that are solely disparaging: They require too much time and energy that I could use to create content!

You don’t owe this people your precious time and energy!

8. PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK WITH A TRADITIONAL PRESS CAN INCREASE YOUR EXPOSURE

I love Mark Manson’s approach: He self-published a book first, and then he negotiated terms that worked for him with a traditional press — If they didn’t offer him a fair deal, he would simply state that he would just publish the thing himself because he’d probably make a lot more money doing so!

This seems like an excellent strategy to me to be honest!

He also mentioned that the marketing team behind his work with a traditional press and the many rounds of editing, not to mention he distribution of his book — along with the clout that came along with traditional publishing! — led to a significantly larger following for him!

The only caveat is that it took significantly longer to actually get his book published!

The Takeaway: If you already have a large following and want a ton of dinero, self-publishing is usually your best bet. On the other hand, if your priority is to market your work to a larger audience and gain more exposure, working with a traditional press might be for you, as long you’re willing to be patient with the process: It can take a while!

9. YOU’RE ALLOWED TO WORK WITH AN EDITOR WHO EMBRACES YOUR STYLE

I think we can all agree that Mark Manson has an extremely unique style of writing: Some editors wanted to change that, so he chose to work with the ones who embraced his vision instead.

As a writer, I know I have an extremely hard time receiving feedback on my work, and I’d be devastated if an editor told me to sacrifice my style and voice in order to make a book more “marketable.”

There is simple solution to this: Work with a different editor who embraces your vision!

If an editor suggests structural changes that would improve the story while maintaining your narrative style, that’s one thing. If they want you to change your style and story structure to something completely you can’t get behind, you should get a different editor: You deserve to preserve your own vision and creativity on a project you’ve spent hours — sometimes even years! — putting together.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed taking Mark Manson’s writing course. I have to learn more about marketing in a way that resonates with me, and I have to confess that I underestimated the impression that unique visual art makes when it comes to drawing in readers!

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