Today I’m talking to Nimue Brown, author, druid, and quiet activist, about doing the Pagan Business thing for the right reasons.
Buy it here: Druidry and Meditation
On Knowing What to Write About
It depends on what I’m aiming to write – if it’s a blog post, it’s a case of what have I learned recently, or what’s annoying me! Some things come as a response to what’s needed – so I’m looking for radical ideas for my quiet revolution column at Pagan Dawn in an ongoing way, I’m thinking about alternative responses to the seasons for Sage Woman blogs, radical poetry might go to Gods and Radicals, miserable poetry goes to a local event.
When it comes to books its a slower and less coherent process. I tend to have some long term interest in something before I get to the point of wanting to write a book about it. Usually there will be a combination of reading other people’s ideas on a subject, exploring a practice or an idea for myself, and it flows from there. At any given time I’m reading and exploring in a number of areas, some of which go into books, some don’t, and its not usually obvious when I start whether I’ll take it to fiction or non-fiction.
I think the first thing to say is that being a writer does not pay my bills and probably never will – this is true of a good 95% of authors. Most of us have second jobs. Some of us manage to align those second jobs with the writing work, but that’s not always the case. It’s certainly true that being an author in this day and age tends to mean spending more time tying to draw attention to your work than you spend creating the work. I give talks, now and then, I take books to events (easier for people who have cars, I suspect), interviews (!) I write articles and columns and blog posts and lurk around on social media trying to find ways to say ‘you could buy my book’ without boring people to death. I’m not a great self publicist, I’m much happier when I’m talking about other people’s books. I find it easier to be excited about other people’s work.
Buy it here: Pagan Dreaming: The magic of altered consciousness
On a Writing Career in the Pagan Field
My first advice would be to drop the ‘career’ notion. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the Pagans who earn enough as professional Pagans with writing as part of the mix, to be wholly self supporting. Even best selling Pagan authors tend to have a second job – it’s realistic to think you could be working part time and being professionally Pagan part time. So, don’t do it for the fame and riches! Do it because there is something you feel called to share, because you’re inspired, driven, passionate about something. Then at least there’s the job satisfaction, even if you aren’t getting any money out of it. Most Pagan events can’t afford to pay most speakers more than their travel costs. I know there’s a widely held belief that authors all rake it in JK Rowling style, that people charging for teaching are exploiting the community and all that. The truth is that many of the Pagans you’ve heard of are either paupers, or have a day job. I won’t name drop, but as an author, reviewer and member of various things, I’ve talked to a lot of famous Pagans along the way and I know something of what it costs them to do the work. If you’re looking for a career, this isn’t going to provide.
You can find Nimue at all of the places she mentioned, the links embedded will take you straight there. If you buy something through the links either beneath or about books, you support Nimue and myself at the same time without costing you extra, which is great, right? Considering this is coming to you from a table in my local library because I’ve used up all my internet. If you’re ever considering purchasing a mobile internet package, by the way, don’t. It’s like dial up, but worse.
Diversifying your income will help, but probably the best advice is honestly, do this because you have to, not because you wanna earn some cash. But, if you’re reader this as a reader and not as a writer, know that there’s some simple stuff you can do to really help writers out. Review books, not just where you bought them from, but if you have a web presence, not matter how small, do it there too. Tell your friends and family about the books you love. Buy books where you can, and use the library where you can’t, because, at least in Britain, authors still get paid when you check the book out of a library.
More from Siobhan
Today I’m talking to Valerie from Demoiselle Étrange, about the different streams of income you can use to build your business.
“I wanted to share my vision of magic; in a simple and modern way.
I like logic in spirituality and believe it is possible to be connected to nature in your everyday life.
My personal blog became an online store and slowly turned into a full time project, with classes and services.
Our classes are offered on downloadable PDF files, since most of our clients are from Europe.
It is more convenient that way!
These classes are the results of our research and studies on various theme of the craft.
We love to gather information and simplify, so it is easier to understand the theory. We also prepare exercises so our students can put their knowledge into practice.
Our mission is to turn magic into something logical and accessible. Our goal is to help people develop their inner power and connect with nature!”
As well as their website Demoiselle Étrange also has an Etsy shop.
“I love making amulets, gris-gris and talismans!
Each of them are inspired by other cultures and traditions, each of them has a story of its own!
The best part of my job is to keep on learning, while sharing and bringing some magic in someone’s life!
It is not for everyone! Even today, people have misconceptions and judgements about the practice.
I think it’s important to have a down-to-earth approach toward people who don’t know much about it, so they can understand better.”
Siobhan’s Advice: Don’t think of your business simply in terms of what you have to sell, whether that’s a book, a candle, or a piece of jewelry. Consider other revenue streams, some of which you build onto what you already have with not much trouble. Not all of them will work for you, but one or two may slot easily in to what you already do: sell courses, have third party adverts on your website, affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, e-books, Patreon, teaching or speaking. The list is endless. And advertising needn’t be a dirty word – there are models where you can choose who advertises on your site and how, so you can choose business who you are happy to support and build that advert in a way that suits you and your followers. The best thing to keep in mind when you consider adverts and affiliate marketing, is only to promote the things that you would recommend to other people if you weren’t being paid to do it.
I will make some more posts about different revenue streams later this month.
More from Demoiselle Étrange:
More from Siobhan:
Today I’m talking to Sara, from DreamweaverSpirit, about working with animal allies, and the importance of originality.
“Having my own business has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I have always loved creating things and been passionate about magic and witchcraft, so I thought why not combine the two and sell what I make? Not only would I be creating something beautiful that could be worn or used, but I would also be imbuing the piece with magical energy that could help the person that it was made for. Helping someone on their spiritual journey and gaining their friendship is the most rewarding part of what I do.
Deer energy is intentional for many reasons. The Celtic God Cernunnos is one of my favourite Gods. He is the Stag Lord, The Spirit of the Forest and I have a deep love and respect for trees and nature. Deer is also one of my Totem animals and my Native American astrological sign. I like to work with all animals, they are great teachers and have much to give humans. Unfortunately, many people do not see this. I like to help people understand what a precious gift they are. When an animal wants to be made or wants to give me it’s message, it starts showing itself to me, it’s everywhere I look. It comes to me in my dreams, when I go out, on the internet, on the front page of a magazine…It is everywhere demanding my attention. I also give a percentage of what I make to various animal charities. It’s my way of saying thank you to our animal brothers and sisters.
Try and be as original as possible. They are so many websites selling the same old thing and people like to have something unique and unusual. Also take the time to listen the buyers and try to be supportive. A lot of people are after help and advice as much as the piece that they are buying. Lastly be patient and have faith in yourself and in what you are selling. The right person will always come at the right time. The Gods are always on our side if we believe in the Magic.”
Siobhan’s Advice: It’s tempting to follow the crowd when it comes to business, thinking that if they are getting sales they’re doing something right. And that’s useful to an extent, but when you copy someone too much, you become the same and that means less sales for both of you. Your Pagan business must come out of your Pagan practice, or it will not stick. Sara knows what makes her shop DreamweaverSpirit stand out, and that’s what makes her business work, because the only place you can get something like what Sara makes, is from Sara.
More from Sara:
More from Siobhan:
Today I’m talking to Di from Trulymagick, about the Great Etsy Witch Hunt, and the importance of customer service.
“Our family are linked to old Mother Shipton on my father’s side. His family came from Knaresborough Yorkshire and a Capstick married a Shipton.
Or PBuP for short.*
So, what is it?
Every week I’ll be sharing an interview with someone working as a Pagan Businessperson – whether they’re an author, a DJ, a shop owner or something else, they will be someone whose business has a solidly ‘Pagan’** point to it.
As well as that interview, I’ll be sharing my brief thoughts and advice on the particular topic brought up, in the same post.
They’ll also be another post each week about the more hard and fast technical points of running a Pagan business, both looking at why running a Pagan business is different that running a non-Pagan business, but also why it’s not. If the interviews are inspiration-porn, this part is the tutorial part.
I’m also looking for guest posters, and when I finally move house again***, there will be podcasts and videos as part of this project, as well as for this blog as a whole.
*The little ‘u’ counts, so it doesn’t clash with the other PBP, the Pagan Blog Project.
** We can argue until the cows go to the moon about what precisely is Pagan. I’m looking and featuring people who a) practise magic and/OR b) have an earth-centered religion and/OR c) have a religion that is not precisely Pagan, but one may confuse it with Paganism on a dark and foggy night. Basically, if you have some sort of ‘woo-ness’ in your business, you’re in.
*** We moved across the country but the house at the other end fell through. Now we’re in a rental and we’re not bothering to unpack until we move into an actual house.