Some very interesting things always pop up when people learn that you’re a writer/author, or when talking to other writers/authors. One of the most obvious and common, is making a living at it. Getting paid, to put your words down on a piece of paper, whether it’s digital, or physical.
Even I’ve said it. I want to make a living with my writing. i.e. I want to be able to afford to live off my writing, and have it pay the bills, groceries, etc.
Well, it’s honestly pretty simple mathematics, or logistics, if you don’t like math.
Ask yourself some questions:
How many hours do you work at your day-to-day 9-5 job? And you get paid a daily wage for it, yes?
Now, looking at that; how many hours do you spend on your writing? That’s including marketing, editing, writing, formatting, talking about it with people, and all the rest?
Now, what if you were to ask your boss if you could cut your hours back to only doing it approximately one hour a day, or even one hour a week? But, you want the same pay, of course.
How well do you think that would go over?
Not so good, eh?
That’s the biggest thing about making a living from your writing. If you want to get paid for your writing, and you’re only putting in a smidgen of effort to it, then you can’t expect for it to pay bills. I know a lot of you are saying, but I work a full-time job, I have no more time to put into it. We are all given 24 hours in a day. Look at the time you’re spending doing other things that you can cut back on, or just put in a few minutes everyday to your writing, but you’ve got to be willing to put a lot more work into it, and that doesn’t mean a lot more hours. Yes, I said hours above, but I mean work in general.
Just like anything else, you get out what you put into it. If you’re not invested in your writing, your writing will not invest in you.
The other thing is time. It has been proven that most everything in life, not just in work, but in relationships, and everything else, that it takes an average of 2-3 years of putting in effort before you will see results. So if you’re not putting in that effort, and somehow expect that you’ll become a millionaire (not that it couldn’t happen, but that is rare) overnight, it just won’t happen.
I understand a lot of people who have made it overnight, and suddenly they are at the top of their game, but honestly, as much as I say WAY TO GO!! to them, the bottom line is that even they are putting in a lot of effort, or had been before the “overnight success” happened. It is extremely rare to truly hit the pay dirt overnight. Not just that, but you also have to realize that a lot of those same people 2-3 years from now? Won’t be at the top of their game. A huge percentage, I would hazard to guess, will actually end up right back at the bottom of the pile if they don’t continue to put in work, and make sure to stay where they’re at. We’re all subject to be one hit wonders.
When you’re talking about writing a book, unless that one book is all you ever plan on writing, and you don’t care one way or another about continuing to earn off of it, don’t put everything you have into one. In John Locke’s Book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, he discusses how it actually pays off to hold off your heavy marketing strategies, and hard-core hunting for fans to read your work, until you’ve got at least 5 books out, and available for purchase. I agree, and disagree, only in that a lot of us can’t afford to wait until we’ve gotten that many done and out, but it is a good strategy, even still. It’s important to try to get a couple (I will be more lenient) of books up, before you market, but you can still market, and talk about it, just try to let others know that more are coming. But be understanding, that a lot of people won’t wait. They don’t like to. That’s the world we live in. However, if you build it up, and let them know that more are coming, and as fast as you can get them up, then you also can build up steam for them so that by the time they are out–I like to keep people up-to-date on my progress which helps–people will be clamoring to get them. Just think about the lines waiting for favorite concert tickets, movies, etc. Hype was built before those things came out, and were released.
What a lot of people should try to understand, is that if you truly want to make a living at your writing: you can. But remember the age old wisdom. You will only get out of it, what you put into it. If you’re not willing to throw yourself into it, and dedicate all the hard work, time, effort, headaches, and frustration that goes into it? You’re not going to earn much.
Life will pay you what you’re worth. It’s up to you to show it what you are. Ariana Browning