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There is No Golden Ticket

Author: Hilly

Writing can be a pursuit, or it can be a job. It could also be a job, and a profitable one, if you're obstinate and fortunate enough to achieve success. It is possible to earn a living writing stories, but as with any job, authors who try to only support themselves with their writing should prepare themselves for the unvarnished reality of what writing for a job means.

It means work.

Know Your Market

It is not enough to write a bestseller. That good book also needs to be put in front of an editor who will regard it highly enough to take the book to promoting, to make an offer on it, and to plug it to the folk in the publishing house who will then ( hopefully ) become so happy about it they'll in turn go out and popularize your book to the people who buy the books for stores. Ideally, those folks will be excited enough to hand-sell the book to consumers, who in turn will become so eager to read your book they will actually shell out their money to buy it. So, your first task after writing the best book you can? Get it in front of an editor who will obtain it, or an agent who will do the same job for you.

How to do that? Research your market. Find out who's purchasing what you are writing. If you are unagented, make sure you're submitting to publishers who take unagented submissions. If you're submitting to agents, be sure they represent the sort of material you've written. Prepare your submissions according to their guidelines and submit what they want, how they desire it. Half the battle in getting your submission read by an editor or agent is just following instructions. Don't give them reason to reject you before they've even read a note of your book.

It is not sufficient to Write the Book

You wrote the book. You sold the book. Now it is time to sit back and wait for the cash to roll in, right? Absolutely not. Since the method of acquiring an agent and selling to a publisher can often need months, if not years, it's not enough to write the book. You have got to write another. And another. Finish a book, take a little bit of a break to recharge, start another. There are writers who make enough money off one exceptionally successful book but they do not have careers. If you'd like to earn a crust with your writing, you want to scribble more than one book. Regularly publishers wish to build a writer, not simply one title. Make sure you have something to give them when they ask for more.

It isn't enough to Sell the Book

Your book's hit the shelving and you have several others finished, perhaps even a few more contracted. Now's the time to sit back and let the checks roll in, right?

Of course not. Now's the time to plug yourself and your books. Use your time, money and efforts wisely. Target your reading audience the way in which you did your agent and editor. How are you going to get to the folks who will read your book? Is there a genre-specific review publication in which you can purchase advertising? Romantic Times Book Reviews, for instance, features stories, articles, reviews and advertising at excellent rates for writers, and is read by thousands of readers hot to learn about new writers. The Net overflows with blogs, newsgroups and social network websites devoted to fans of certain genres. Find which are focused on the type of books you're writing. Start to know the folk there, become a part of the community. Drive-by promotion isn't effective and can, in fact, turn people off your books.

Your publisher, if you're lucky, also will be marketing your books, but recall you're one of tons of authors. Your book is one of thousands. The person to whom your book is most critical is you. Don't rely on your publisher to do all of the work. Get the word out about your book.

Set Practical Expectations

Some people's "living" is other folks' chump change. Take a good, hard look at your way of life and costs. The cash you earn from writing books comes irregularly, but often in huge pieces. Make sure you're disciplined enough to take that check for several thousand greenbacks and put aside what you'll need to live on until the next check comes. If you're revealed with a credible conventional publisher, you will be paid an advance that might be provided to you in increments and can even mean waiting until the book's been published ( which can on occasion be years after you sign the contract ) before getting your final payment. Commission payments are sometimes issued every six months and might never be issued at all if your book doesn't earn any. Commission payments from e-published books can be earned immediately upon publication, but might be paid each month, every six months or every quarter, and there's unlikely to be any money paid up front in advance. Do not forget about expenses and taxes, which you may possibly have to pay quarterly yourself, as they're not usually withheld.

So, can an author earn money writing novels? Positively. As with any career, there isn't any one true way, no Golden Ticket, widely known handshake that will make it occur, but if you're prepared to work conscientiously and face the challenges, it's totally possible to make a living doing what you adore.
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