Monday, 9 October 2017

Want to be a full-time writer? Read this.

Ever had a dream about sitting home all day, doing nothing but writing? You wanted to be a writer? Well, forget that dream, because the reality of being a full time author is... well, it's a lot different than you'd expect! From actually writing, to publishing, to marketing, there's hardly a dull moment and there's rarely a solid chunk of time where you're not doing anything. Read on if working hard at your craft full-time is something you'd like to do...

If you want to write full-time, you need to first realise that it's a job. It isn't sitting around all day, drinking coffee and watching your Amazon sales report climb. Not at all. The first step is finally figuring out your hours. Yeah, that's right. Hours. The time you clock into work til the time you clock out. If you want to write, and only write, you need to treat it like you would a normal job. If you walk into work an hour late, you'll probably need to do overtime to make up for the hours lost.
And that's exactly what it's like writing full time. How many hours would you work at a regular job? 40? 50? Well, figure out the hours you need to work each day and figure out if it's doable for you. Could you honestly commit to writing for nine hours a day? Now, remember, those nine hours need not be filled with simply typing away -- those hours could be filled with marketing, designing, promoting, attending events etc etc, but you still need to fill them.

After you've realised it's hard work writing, and nothing like you'd probably expect, you need to figure out if you want to go the self-publishing route or traditional. A lot of people I know are self-published, myself included. Self-publishing needs more attention than traditional, but it definitely has a great pay off, particularly if you want to have full creative control of your works. That's why my company Epeolatry Publishing offers cutthroat prices on everything from design and promotional tools to marketing and editing.
Now, everything you can purchase service-wise for your novel you could very easily do yourself if you have the time and the patience. A lot of people simply don't have the patience for it, and that's why a lot of people opt to go the traditional route for publishing their work, but sometimes it can pay off to learn the skills for yourself.
A piece of advice I read the other day is that one author earning well over £150k a year simply published after one quick skim through their work. Published one after the other, just like that. Nothing was perfect nor was it polished totally. I disagree with this, but I do think that an author shouldn't lament for months after writing a piece simply to make sure that the finished product is flawless... because it won't be flawless if you spend years on it, or if you spend a day on it. Nothing will be perfect for everyone.

Something else I should note is that writing as a full-time author may take a toll on you. Writing what you want to write may not get your salary up to what you'd earn in a normal job, and working for pennies (or even for nothing) may really be a ballache when it comes to paying rent. You can't pay your landlord or your electricity provider in copies of your novel. So what can you do? Well, you don't have to become a straight up sell out, but writing something that is already marketing and poised to do well figures-wise is your best bet. I personally have adopted an approach where I will churn out mainstream work as much as I can, whilst spending my time on my own pieces, things that I want to write, things that don't sell well.
If you don't want to marr your name, you can use a pseudonym! If you already use one, great! Use another! If you publish through Amazon, there is no limit to how many different names you can publish under, just be aware that using a new name for every book may not work out well of ryou, especially from a marketing standpoint. People are more likely to purchase a book from an author they're familiar with and already like, so attempting to use different names every month won't bode well for you unless you knock out a book that makes you x amount of sales which is enough to make your rent.
Some advice I heard about this is that you should examine the Amazon best seller lists and see what sells. I do this, and it helps, but unless you actually buy the books, chances are you won't know precisely what made them so popular! A genre which never fails to sell is romance, but it has to be marketed well, and has to be promoted just enough that people know it exists.

If you've done all of the above, you're ready to begin your journey. These steps won't be a cureall. They won't fit everyone, they won't fit everything. Quantity has always been placed behind quality, but unfortunately, with the market so saturated, you may find it easier to churn out 50 mediocre novels in place of one great one... but please, please, please, at least try to make your quality good. It doesn't have to be blindingly brilliant, it doesn't need to be the next Harry Potter, but it does need to be decent.
At the end of the day, only you know what you can do. And if you're currently employed, taking the jump from secure finances to writing may not be the best idea. If, like me, you were stuck in a rut of unemployment unable to find work, then it may be in your best interests to focus on something like writing, because it may work out well! You can go from absolutely no income to having at least some and that can help...
Best of luck, all. Expect more posts soon, as I've recently made the transition myself, and I want to help as many of you as I can, and I'm publishing a lot of books this year. I published one last month, publishing two this month, and more to come before the years out! Thanks for reading, I hope it helped.

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