What’s Your Secret Writing Agenda?

This week I’m continuing this short series about What it takes to make a living as a writer. So far, I’ve talked about networking, the importance of a website, and today I’m excited to hand the mike over to Brian D. Meeks, my co-author in our new book The Prosperous Writer’s Guide to Making More Money.


What’s Your Secret Writing Agenda?


It’s an ominous sounding question. You may be thinking of dark conspiracies and evil plots. That’s not exactly what I’m trying to ask, but I do enjoy an evil plot now and again.

After I had a few novels under my belt I started to come up with an underlying theme for each new project. When I wrote my satire, the underlying idea was that I hoped to educate people about some of the basic ideas of social media. I wanted the reader to not only get a chortle or two along the way, I wanted them to understand what social media was about. In the sequel, I chose to look at the world of self-publishing.

Now, in the latest non-fiction book, The Prosperous Writer’s Guide to Making More Money, which I co-authored with Honorée, the reviews are coming in and it seems we’ve hit the mark. It’s incredibly satisfying.

The biggest concern I had when we began the project was that it would require the use of the “m” word. Yes, I speak of math. (Note: Just because you saw the word math, doesn’t mean you need to stop reading and go eat an ice cream bar. Actually, that does sound lovely. Okay, get the snack but make sure you return.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, the “m” word. It strikes fear into the heart of authors everywhere. The problem is that if we want to make enough money from our books so we can climb out of the cubicle of sorrows and see the sun once in a while, we need to do some math. The first thing is calculating ROI (Return-on-Investment).

This was the spot where I was most worried readers would tune out. I needed to have a secret writing agenda. In the end, it was “math isn’t such a bad little guy if you get to know him”. The thing about math is that he can sometimes be a little skittish. His fur is often a mess. But deep down, just like every other hard thing in the world, if you rub his belly, he’ll be your friend.

So, how do I get people to rub the belly of the beast?

The answer came in trying to make people laugh. It’s hard to hate something while giggling. In fact, I’d say it’s nigh on impossible.

So, instead of giving a clinical definition of ROI, I used much more silly terms. And you know what? It worked.

In our twenty-third review, Emma Ali, wrote, “The very beginning of the book also has the clearest ROI For Dummies explanation I’ve ever seen – and I struggle with any math not directly related to calculating discounts on the clearance rack.”

That may be my favorite review of all time.

For me, having a secret agenda has allowed my mind to have a guiding north star throughout the writing process. It’s a constant clear siren that helps me reach my ultimate goal, which is to write a better book than the last one I wrote.

My secret life agenda is to continually improve and this little technique helps do just that with my writing.

—Brian D. Meeks



How do you feel about math? Feel free to email me, or post a comment on the blog and include it.


More Good Stuff…

~Would you like a free paperback copy of Chris Syme’s book, Sell More Books with Less Social Media? The first 5 people to email christina@honoreecorder.com with their name and mailing address will receive a free book! First come, first served. {U.S. Only please}

~7 Ways to Get Rich from Writing

~Validate Your Book Idea

~Listen to Brian talk snark and data on The Author Biz Podcast.


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