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The Business of Writing


Just starting out (again) in this whole writing thing, it occurs to me to wonder if it’s still possible, in these days of, free copies, and internet theft, is it still possible to make a living as a writer if you’re not one of the NNYT best sellers.

I have more than a passing interest in this, as I would love to see my writing career take off to the point that it became a decent source of income for me.

But I worry about the fact that the market has become so diluted on the one hand, with thousands upon thousands of authors and little publishers, and so monopolized on the distribution end with Amazon controlling so much of the market.

So what has your experience been? Are you able to write full time and make a living off of it? If not, do you think you will be able to in the future?

If not, why?

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10 thoughts on “The Business of Writing”

  1. To be honest, I don’t expect I will ever support myself on my writing. Or rather, on my fiction. I can easily support myself writing medical articles and public relations material. Been there, done that. I write fiction because I love it, not because I have hopes of supporting myself.

    Years ago, in my first go-round of writing fiction, I would get $5,000 advances for my books. Granted, I never made much more than that, but it wasn’t bad and if I had really dedicated myself I might have made a go of it. It was harder to get published then, but much more lucrative. These days… it’s harder to find publishers who will take a chance on a book or offer that kind of advance. Even my friends who “get” $30,000 deals often only receive the first third and the second and third books don’t get published. So really they got a less than living wage out of it, often writing the second and third books and getting nothing for them.

    Self-publishing works for some, I know. I haven’t tried it yet. I’m content making decent (but not support-level) money with my publisher. It’s clear that competition for readers is fierce.

  2. I’m a long way off from from having fiction writing being my main source of income, but I work towards it and learn about it all the time. Eventually, and I’m thinking like five years into the future, my goal is to be there.

    There’s evidence all around of people making it work (I love the “Rocking Self Publishing” and the “Self Publishing Podcast to learn and be inspired).

    It’s doable… but like the “day job” it is work.

  3. I would love to make fiction writing my full-time job, but it hasn’t happened yet for much the same reasons as Tali stated. The market is inundated and it’s far easier to just self-publish (which I do).

    Would I love to be rich off my work? Of course! Will it happen? I dunno; but I’d need to quit the day job in order to make it work…catch-22. LOL

  4. I don’t think it’ll ever happen for me. I’m dealing with depression and anxieties, so I can’t even work full time, let alone write full time. I’m just going to do what I can and if it happens, it happens. It would be wonderful if it did happen. However, writing M/M isn’t going to make many people rich as things are today (so, obviously, I’m not writing it to get rich).

    I do what I can with marketing. I have a business degree in marketing and management, so I do have a leg-up in comparison to some authors who don’t even know where to start. I’ve fully used my knowledge and interest in marketing, and I do a lot of it. That’s not enough, though.

    See, there’s the issue of all the tons of free ebooks out there. If you wanted to, you wouldn’t have to buy a single book over the course of a year. Just download all the free books, take part in the countless giveaways (I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve won that way, before I stopped taking part over a year ago), and if you wanted to throw a few dollars into books, there are tons and tons of full novel-length books going for $0.99 (thanks to Amazon). Let’s not forget about online piracy. So, no, I don’t think it’s easy to make a living off writing when you have to compete with all of that.

  5. I wish I could quit my EDJ and write full time but it’s too up and down. Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with 2 bad pubs who didn’t pay me all my money or not at all. I’m selfing and publishing with a couple of companies now but I still don’t have enough of a fanbase to quit.

    The lean months, such as this one, have been hard. My husband works FT and supports me taking the time to write instead of taking a FT job. I’m not making good money in writing nor at the EDJ but it helps us to pay all bills/expenses.

    I don’t even want to get rich, I just want to be financially stable. Thank goodness we don’t have huge expenses at this point but we do have two growing kids.

    I try to focus on my love of romance instead of the dollars I make but it’s really hard when you’re struggling to sell books period.

    • I get that. I’m lucky in that I have a full-time job at home that pays me well, but unlucky in that it’s hard to find time to write. ::: sigh ::: It’s always something, right? ((( Sharita )))


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