A Market for Your Work

Did you know that there are cities in America that from a business perspective represent target marketplaces? These are the testing grounds for new and fun products. The principle is, if the product does well in a target community, it is likely to do well across the nation. (You can read more about this and check if you’re near one of these cities at https://smallbusiness.com/product-development/best-u-s-cities-to-test-market-a-national-product/ )

The downside is, if you happen on that perfect flavor of mango peach chocolate chip sorbet one week, you won’t find it two weeks later (or two days later if it became your go-to binge desert). There’s nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a product, romancing it for months, even years and then one day, you show up at your regular meeting place and see “discontinued” on the empty shelf. Its worse than a “Dear John” or “Dear Jane” letter. At least with a broken human relationship you can hope, dream, write that it will all be okay one day. Things will work out. That person is not really gone from your life. But a product, forced off the market by failing gains, falling profits, rising production costs! Say it ain’t so!

I have watched beloved products disappear, knowing that generations after will never experience the joy of for example of a Drake’s Yodel with real chocolate and vanilla cream that wasn’t soybean oil, root beer flavored Wylers drink mix, Taster’s Choice Instant coffee (the original), Loreal micro eyeliner pencil, Bubble Yum sugarless bubble gum (my husband’s favorite). I’m sure you can think of at least one product ripped from your life, leaving you stranded, grasping for a replacement, or just drowning in the sorrow of utter loss.

It feels bad. It may be true that the financial value of that product is lean but for those who love it, there is a kind of grief that it can’t ever be bought again, not even for an exorbitant price. But wait! There are small companies who sometimes pick up these products and eek out enough monetary value to make it worth their while to serve the few who can’t do without. This is especially true when it comes to pharmaceuticals, something I know a little bit about.

There are products that are made called ‘orphan drugs’. There is a small patient population that relies on a drug to sustain or improve their lives. Companies continue to make these long after it is clear they will not be blockbusters and their patient pool is very limited. I used to work for a company that made a product every five years for the single patient who had benefited from a clinical trial. For that one man, the effort to maintain the process to make one lot every five years was worth it.

Now for the thread I’m pulling together toward your writing. You know what I’m going to say. You may not be writing something that is highly marketable. Be honest. There’s a lot of business in this craft and business doesn’t pull any punches. How easily sold your work is shines a lot brighter in a pitch session than even how well it’s written. That’s a fact, stark and cold. However, that does not mean that the small, marginally golden audience you are writing for is not worth serving.

There is someone or maybe a few hundred, that your voice speaks to what they want, what they need to hear. A message told in a way that no one else has understood to be a symphony of thought. For them, what you produce is priceless. A smile, a tear, a laugh (don’t we all need more of that?), an inspiration, a direction, an answer. I know that the idea of uplifting another human being while noble and soul satisfying does not pay the student loan, but I have learned that one step always leads to another and the destinations are infinite. Pouring your passion out will always lead you to a life that is full, rewarding and deeply appreciated by you and the fortunate few who have become your circle of friends.

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