Writing For a Living: Not a Hobby
I am always serious about my writing... and I'm not just serious about this beautiful new book, Book One of my Kendrick Creek series, set in the blue mist of the Smoky Mountains... I'm in love with it. Such a good story! :) Of course I'd think that, but it is.... I've just sent it out to wonderful influencers and I hope they love it.
Even when I'm a goof, I'm a goof with a purpose and that purpose is to make what I love doing worthwhile so that I will DIE doing what I love.
Writing stories. And supporting myself with writing money.
Now before all y'all write my epitaph, I'm not dying. (That I know of) I'm not sick, even... I'm just saying that writing is the kind of job you can do until the grave calls. I give you Laura Ingalls Wilder... James Michener.... Herman Wouk.... Agatha Christie.... Sue Grafton and so many more!
As long as you have your health and mental acuity, you can write A VERY LONG TIME.
Now folks might get sick o' youse, they might feel like you've told the same story for the last five years (note that I'm naming no names here) and they may eventually chuck your work across a room, just because, but in the meantime you're acquiring new readers because they haven't read all gazillion books, and do you know that there are 331,000,000 people in this country alone? And if you add in the English speaking world? Another 20,000,000 native speakers. And over a billion if you count English as a second language. That's a lot of Kindles, darling.
I remember years ago someone explaining to me that people don't buy Kindles or tablets to read. They buy them for games.
My Kindle Unlimited account begs to differ.
I could live on what I'm making on my indie books. Not live "big", but I'm not a big-living person. But I wouldn't starve and I could pay my bills on my indie books alone, so if you think those efforts don't add up over time, I'm here to say you're wrong... and don't give up!
This isn't bragging. It's the farthest from bragging, but folks aren't generally supposed to talk about publishing money. It's often kept secret which is one way of having control over authors so they don't chat and create an air of discontent. That's pretty much old news now, but it was a Very Real Thing for a long time, and maybe still is... there was even a Secret Website where you could report your income anonymously and they would share the demographics online... I am not kidding. That's how things were. This was eight years ago. So we're not talking another century or dinosaur era or historical... we're talking very recently.
When I was newly published with Love Inspired I overheard a fellow at a conference chatting about his wife's book and I heard him say, "We'll never get rich on it, but it keeps her happy."
Kind of like she was a puppy...
I hope I hid my dismay.
First, writing a book and getting it published is tough! It's no walk in the park. And yeah, starting with category books, we don't make a ton initially... but if we stick with it and produce two-four books/year, it adds up...
Talking money is rarely comfortable for folks because it's a private matter, but in this industry it was taken to new heights... Publishers didn't want authors talking and revealing advances, hence the "sweet" and "nice" and "really sweet" designations you see in publications.
To make a living in category and small books, you need to produce several/year and give yourself time to build a backlist. That's huge.
To make a living in big books, you need to wow a wonderful publisher and sell books... and that combo will keep you selling!
And if you want to make it in indie publishing, keep writing great stories and put them out when they're ready... folks do love to read... and they like a bargain, so my KU readers are happy... I'm happy... and my books are being read.
I have to say honestly, I'm not sure how serious it all is now. I don't pay attention because I am loving what I'm doing, writing my Love Inspired books and Guideposts mysteries and having fun with my indies... and honestly, this brings the best of three worlds together, like triangulating the location on a gps.
Money and income are important. I've had to balance finances and juggle change for most of my life, and I respect money... but I don't love it.
What I love are readers. Touching hearts. And helping people to find healing through words, through scripture, through stories... because that helped me through tough times.
And this is what I want for you, if your goal and dream is to write for a living: Don't stop.
Work whatever jobs you have to to get by until you can pay your bills comfortably with writing income.
Never give up... unless you can. Because if you can, if it's not your stronghold, friends, that's okay!
I had more I was going to say but I have a cold (first bug in 11 months!!!!) and my head is stuffy and I'm going to drink tea and offer two copies of this beautiful new Smoky Mountain book... Ruthy goes Blue Ridge! And loves it. And I'm adding pics of what we're doing here at the farm to support the scholarship fund in honor of our beloved Lisa who went home to heaven August 17th.... and to raise awareness and join in the battle so many are fighting: cancer. These are a couple of our "Wreaths of Love".
Leave a comment below and we'll chat about books, and writing and paychecks.
Ruthy is living her dream of writing beautiful stories and fun mysteries and running a busy and growing pumpkin farm on the side... and she's blessed to have family and friends working right along with her! Friend her on Facebook, (warning: Ruthy is conservative, bleeds red/white/blue and is pro-life, so you've got to know this going in... With Ruthy what you see is what you get, so a little preparation is a wonderful thing! You can also email Ruthy at email@example.com or visit her website ruthloganherne.com. She'd love to get to know you better!