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There isn't any Golden Ticket

Author: Hilly

Writing can be a pursuit, or it could be a job. It may also be a vocation, and a rewarding one, if you're obstinate and fortunate enough to reach success. It is possible to earn a living writing novels, but as with any job, writers who try to solely support themselves with their writing should prepare themselves for the grim reality of what writing for a living means.

It means work.

Know Your Market

It's insufficient to write a good book. That good book also needs to be put in front of an editor who will be keen on it enough to take the book to selling, to make an offer on it, and to plug it to the people in the publishing house who will then ( hopefully ) become so happy about it they will 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 customers, who in turn will become so keen to read your book they will basically shell out their money to buy it. Therefore your first task after writing the best book you can? Get it in front of an editor who will purchase it, or an agent who are going to do the same job for you.

How to do that? Research your market. Find out who's buying what you're writing. If you're unagented, check 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. Ready your submissions according to their rules and submit what they want, how they desire it. 1/2 the battle in getting your submission read by an editor or agent is simply following instructions. Do not give them reason to reject you before they have even read a word of your book.

It's Not Enough to Write the Book

You wrote the book. You sold the book. Now it is time to kick 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 frequently 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 incredibly successful book but they don't have careers. If you'd like to make a living with your writing, you want to write more than one book. Regularly publishers want to build an author, not only 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 shelves and you have 1 or 2 others finished, even perhaps a few more contracted. Now's the time to relax and let the checks roll in, right?

Of course not. Now is the perfect time to plug yourself and your books. Employ your time, money and efforts smartly. Target your reading audience the way that you did your agent and editor. How are you going to reach the people who will read your book? Is there a genre-specific review publication in which you can buy advertising? Romantic Times Book Reviews, for instance, features stories, articles, reviews and advertising at reasonable rates for writers, and is read by thousands of readers eager to find out about new authors. The internet overflows with blogs, newsgroups and social marketing websites devoted to fans of certain genres. Find which are focused on the kind of books you're writing. Get to know the folk there, become a part of the community. Drive-by promotion is rarely effective and can, actually turn folks off your books.

Your publisher, if you're fortunate, also will be pushing your books, but don't forget you're one of hundreds of authors. Your book is one of thousands. The person to whom your book is most important is you. Don't depend on your publisher to do all the work. Get the word out about your book.

Set Pragmatic Expectations

Some people's "living" is other folks' chump change. Take a good, hard look at your lifestyle and expenses. The cash you earn from writing novels comes irregularly, but often in big chunks. Make sure you're disciplined enough to take that check for several thousand bucks and set aside what you'll need to live on until the next check comes. If you're published with a credible conventional publisher, you will be paid an advance that could be issued to you in increments and can even mean waiting till the book's been published ( which can on occasion be years after you sign the contract ) before you get your final payment. Commission payments are sometimes issued every 6 months and might never be issued at all if your book doesn't earn any. Royalty payments from e-published books can be earned instantly upon publication, but may be paid every month, every 6 months or every quarter, and there is probably not going to be any money paid up front ahead. Do not forget about expenses and taxes, which you may likely need to pay quarterly yourself, as they're not typically withheld.

So, can a writer earn an income writing books? Positively. As with any career, there's no one true way, no Golden Ticket, widely known hand-shake that will make it happen, but if you're prepared to try hard and face the problems, it's entirely feasible to make a living doing what you adore.
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