The second-smartest thing I did in the last five years was to invent that pesky “Snowflake method” for designing and writing a novel. No doubt about it — the Snowflake has helped me write better and faster, and that’s been worth a lot of money to me.
What’s the SMARTEST thing I did in the last five years? That’s easy. The smartest thing I did was posting the Snowflake method on my web site for free. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was a great move. Here’s why:
In the four years since I posted my Snowflake article, it’s been viewed 317,000 times. That article has made me famous among writers on six continents. It’s helped numerous writers get rolling on their novels. It’s brought me more speaking engagements than I can handle — which has earned me a fair bit of money in speaking fees. It’s made me hundreds of friends. It’s pulled me in to a large writing organization where I now sit on the Advisory Board. It’s paved the way for me to launch a business doing what I LOVE — teaching writing.
All that from one little article of 3000+ words, which I gave away for free.
The Snowflake article is what I call a “SuperArticle” — a high-performing article that has given me a piece of the global mindshare, brought me fame in the writing world as “the Snowflake Guy”, and even earned me some cash.
Honestly, I lucked into all that. I never expected any of that to happen. Never planned it. Things just fell into place and I followed the opportunities.
Looking back over the last four years, I wish I’d written a bunch more SuperArticles. I wish I’d written one or two for every novel I published. I wish I’d known then what I know now.
Looking forward, I’ve decided that I’m going to do that from here on. I’m going to commit to writing several SuperArticles per year and getting them out there — preparing the way for the novels I’m working on now. I’ve analyzed what I did right with the Snowflake SuperArticle and what I could have done better. I’ve put it all into a step-by-step plan for how I’ll write each SuperArticle from now on.
Wanna try your hand at it too? You can. If you’re a writer, you already have all the skills you need to write killer SuperArticles and start grabbing some of that mindshare, fame, and cash that’s out there. You can start building your platform TODAY for the novel you’ll be bringing out 2 years from now.
I’ll even coach you on it. I’ve put the whole method together into a 32-page Special Report, “Super Performing Articles”. It’s not free, but it’s about as close to free as I can make it. For the price of a fast-food lunch, you can get it. For more info, click on this page.
Steve Lewis says
Thank you, thank you, thank you Randy! I have literally been waiting years for someone to write about this topic. The common wisdom is that you can’t use the internet (or marketing at all, really) to promote fiction. You just have to hope word-of-mouth works for you. Thank you for putting that myth to rest.
Yay! First time commenter here. Been lurking for a while but wanted to say how much I look forward to more “SuperArticles”. I’m considering myself a writing novice but the Snowflake has already shaped up to be one of my #1 most useful tools, no matter if it’s just a story or a novel I want to write. I complete at least the first 3 or 4 steps each time, because they give me insight into both the action plot as well as into the characters’ motivations and emotional plots. I’m always amazed by what I find out about my story at that point, even when I’d thought I’d had it mostly figured out already.
Oh, and it’s also turning out to be the most ideal way to “conserve” ideas and then shelve them until such time as I can (or want to) start on the actual writing.
(BTW: this is probably self-evident for a professional or just more experienced writer, and it feels sort of pretentious to be asking for this, but maybe you could add a note to your Snowflake step 3 saying that the “villain”, even if he/she doesn’t get much actual “screen time”, is always a major character, too.)
Ask me to write an article and brain freeze is instant.
I can do with all the help I can get.
Charlotte Babb says
I use articles in a newsletter I do at work–and LOTS of people need this. I want to get out in front of them with my articles!
I’ve written articles for years and it’s an amazing platform. I also attended a Mt. Hermon CWC where you spoke and have been working on snowflaking my novel ever since. I write a weekly education column for a daily newspaper, an inspirational column each month for a national nonprofit and another one for my church. Last year I published a book of devotions for women, and in my spare time I teach sixth grade. BUT … I’ve not written that much online, and from ing reading your newsletter for the last few years, I can see that it is definitely the place to be. I have learned so much from you already, I can’t wait to see what else you have to say. (I’ve even quoted you a couple times in some masters classes I’m working on!)
Thanks for all the great stuff – like snowflakes, MRUs and Truth!
Susan Flemming says
Okay… I’ve made this a “make my writing quota for the week reward.” Now it’s off to write!
Love the snowflake method. Been a regular reader of your ezine over the last couple years. Glad you have a blog now.
I’ve got my story still in the works. It’s a sideline project for me with all the other things I have going on, but little by little I’m getting there.
Thanks. Great stuff!
You’re a very generous mentor. Thank you for these amazing tools.
This is great, Randy! I’ll be getting my hands on that ASAP.
I have the Snowflake CD, and I have CD’s of your Fiction101 (ACFW Conf 2005) and Fiction 301 (ACFW conf 2006). I’m getting to be a real Randy Ingermanson fan!
Thanks for your willingness to mentor.
Eve Nielsen says
I’m in the middle of a snowflake…Thanks for helping me out of an earlier muddle when I got stuck. I really appreciate the help.
Judith Vander Wege says
I had just listened again to the snowflake method a couple of nights ago and started writing a novel using it. It makes it fun and “doable.” Thanks.
The best thing I like about you is your honesty. When you want to earn money, you say it. When you give off stuff for free so that other writers can learn from your experience and wisdom, you say it too. I like that.
Even before you started this blog, I had read the snowflake method. I liked it very much. It is still on my desktop. I have one novel (literary) to my name right now, and am busy writing articles and short stories.
I am so glad that you have started this blog. I am learning a lot from you. Thanks.
Is it right to talk about snowflakes in SPRING?????
Perhaps thee should rename the flower method, or the warm-sunbeam-upon-the-sand method.
Perhaps you should just ignore me because I have a headache and I’m in a contrary mood.
Dang. I left an “it” out my post. rename “it”.
Jerry Brandt says
How do you make any money with the snowflake method.?
Jonathan Leger says
Great post Randy. I’ve emailed my list about it because I think it offers some really solid advice, and reasons to remember to be generous with your knowledge and skills.
Ah! But Groovyoldlady, rose is a rose is a rose is a rose!
As a fellow software developer (nigh on 27 years now) I fully understand the “snowflake method” for writing code (code is poetry). However, I never really thought to apply it to “regular” writing. When I have written articles or otherwise in the past, I have always relied on seemingly random bursts of inspiration to get it done. Many thanks for reminding me that structure can occur outside the realm of coding. I look forward to reading your Superarticle guide and receiving your newsletter.
Andrew Seltz - The Go-To Guy! says
My wife was the person who originally pointed me to the “Snowflake Article.” We both think it is brilliant.
Recently, I got a chuckle when I saw that Jonathan Leger had adapted it to writing short reports and mentioned it in his “Write That Report!!!” ebook. It made perfect sense there and I kicked myself for not having thought of it first.
I’m glad to see you analyzing the marketing side of this. I’ll be getting the report!
The Go-To Guy!
David Rogers says
So much is made these days of how “easy” writing is and the abundance of content that can be rehashed into articles. Lets hear it for quality!
To me, your report leads with an important point that everyone else seems to miss. The primary reason for doing things on the internet, like anywhere else, isn’t always making money!
Mindshare – first time I’ve encountered this concept, but it fits perfectly with where I want to head with my site and future articles. Thanks.
Your snowflake method realy blows away all the obstacles to writing superarticles. Thanks for your great article.