TSLS 0039 - 3 serious, no-bullsh*t ways to make a living from your writing
Most of the writers I come into contact with on social media these days are either jaded, hopelessly optimistic, or a combination of both.
They've either succumbed to a life of poverty, or are screaming their book link at people on Twitter and pretending that strategy works. There's really no one in the writing industry today that immediately comes to mind when it comes to "an author making loads of money." So today I hope I can be that person for you.
I've been doing this for over 7 years, making a living and doing it strong, winning awards and bossing shit up. Take me as the example that it is possible before we move onto the next steps that will make it possible for you.
There are three pieces of advice I want to share with you today on how to make it happen for yourself. If you take anything from this article, please take this - these three simple pieces of advice for your continuing journey. They’re the most important things to remember, and if you remember these things you’re golden.
Don’t discouraged by the people around you
Don’t let the gatekeepers get you down, and
Build a business around your craft.
That’s it. That’s all you need to succeed, honest honest. But just so you completely understand what I mean, let’s dig into these things a little deeper, shall we?
1) Don't get discouraged by the people around you, the news or your peer's failures or successes.
This is the #1 thing that will mess you up on your journey - worrying or envying what other people are up to, or any other external influence that tries to convince you that it's not the right thing to do. Puh-lease! Please. I genuinely think what's wrong in the world is this obsession with trying to control or govern what other people are doing, but if you're going to succeed as a writer, you're going to have to learn to ignore all of this.
2) Don’t let the gatekeepers get you down.
I am not the biggest fan of gatekeepers in any form. I like my creative control, I like my creativity as the ultimate act of rebellion and full self expression. Having said that, I know that you might be one of the people out there that do want the traditional publishing deal and are going about it with full force. In this case, there may be times when the vicious industry will break your heart.
What I need to say to you, dear writer, is don’t let it get you down.
3) Build a business around your craft.
I often ask people in coaching with me this question: name one writer you know that makes money simply from books. With a 99% success rate, I can usually point out that the author they tell me about or think about has some other means of sustainable income that they didn’t think about.
If you're counting on your £3.99 paperback to make you enough money for a house and a bi-annual holiday, you're probably going to be disappointed. Look at any successful authors these days and you'll find that not only do they do the writing (which is the part they love) but they also have some way of repurposing it for higher profit. J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were lucky enough to have their books turned into movies, then there's audiobooks and author signings and speaking gigs and tours and and and.
I know this way of making a living from your writing is not “the dream” and it’s not the vision of what you have in your mind of what a “real writer” looks like, but to be honest, you just have to get over it because for now, having that additional thing will be what keeps you afloat as a writer and that’s just how the world works at the moment until you get to a stage where you’re famous enough to choose otherwise.
The idea that you can make millions from one or two books and will never have to work again is a fantasy. The book will become the anchor for a vast web of alternative money sources, but not the be-all and end all. And so, if your book sales are pocket money at the moment doesn't mean you're a failure, it just means you need to expand, repurpose, or use the impact/influence/opportunities that writing a book provides you.
Ultimately, I will leave you with this:
In writing and making money is that there are no guarantees, but it will only ever work if you do.
Thanks for reading, I love you.