I want to help people. I’ve been doing this writing and publishing thing for a few years, I’ve published in a few genres under a few pen-names. Grab a cake, a cuppa, and get comfortable, I think it’s time we had a bit of a chat.
First things first. Writing is not easy. No, that’s not fair. Running with your muse, embracing the inspiration, the act of writing is easy. Publishing and making a career from writing, is not easy. Fighting writers block, and the pressure that comes with trying to publish, with trying to write regularly, is not easy.
I’m going to be blunt here.
If you’re not incredibly passionate about writing, if it’s not a core part of your soul, then I recommend you don’t try and pursue a career as an author. The chances of you making a good wage, are slim. It’s a helluva lot of hard work. It’s a big risk. It’s heart-breaking. If you’re not insanely passionate about this, then I recommend settling into a good 9-5 job and publishing as more of a hobby.
If you are passionate, and determined to do this career thing, then you need to remember that you are now an entrepreneur. It’s no longer ok to be a reasonable writer. You need to learn marketing, copy-writing, cover design and public relations. You have to keep an eye on the industry and the relevant sections of the market. This is a business and if you want to succeed, if that’s your dream, you need to put in the incredible amounts of work necessary.
I’ve been a freelancer for most of my work-life. I have authority issues. Keep in mind that this is the difficult route. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. There’s no dental plan, no paid holiday, no sick days. No work, no money. There’s also the bleak fact that everything could go pearshaped in the blink of an eye. When Amazon brought in Kindle Unlimited, and then KU 2 lots of people who were making good money were suddenly making pennies. I know because I went from four figures a month in KU.1 to two or three with KU2. You have to watch the market and be prepared for that.
There’s also the fact that it will take you time to really improve your craft, to learn enough and establish yourself well enough to make minimum wage. I’ve devoted years to learning everything I can, it was three years before I was able to dive into the new genre with a new name and make four figures in six weeks. Three long, hard, years of study, practise, and learning. You’ve seen a lot of people say there’s no such thing as an overnight success and I want to re-iterate that again here. You need to budget in a number of years of hard work and learning before you make reasonable money, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever make more than coffee money.
Now if you are passionate, if you understand the level of work required for this, then you’re amazing. You will enjoy the most fulfilling enjoyable career. Doing something that you’re truly passionate about, day in day out, is fantastic. Having the freedom to live your life as you see fit, while embracing all the good things in life, is absolutely incredible. In my opinion it’s easily worth the stress and the work.
If you do choose this option, if you’re aware of what you’re getting into, then remember you’re not alone. There are lots of wonderful, equally passionate people out there, and we’re all eager to help you. Don’t be afraid to dive into Twitter and ask questions, I guarantee that you’ll have people leaping on you to hug you tight and help you out. The writing community, particularly on Twitter, is a wonderous thing. We will lift you up, we will guide you, and give you brownies when you’re having a dark day.
It’s a scary as hell path, but, for those of us who’re determined and willing, in my opinion, it’s one of the best out there. If you ever have any questions about writing, editing, or marketing jump on me and ask. I can’t promise I’ll know the answer but if I don’t I’ll likely have a resource who does. If there are any topics you’d like me to write a blog post about then shout at me here, on Twitter, or you can reach me via email on my Contact Me page. I’m always willing to do my best to help my fellow writers.
I want to help. I want to see you succeed and embrace this incredibly, fantastic, amazingly insane path.