Monday, July 1, 2013

Making a Living as a Writer

I'm always amazed by the fact that some people assume all published authors are rich, live in mansions, have chauffeurs, travel to exotic places, and can take as much time off as we want. People have actually come right out and asked me how much money I make. I try, in the nicest way possible, to let them know I'm doing fine, but it's really none of their business exactly how much money I make. I think there's something about putting our work out there for everyone to read that gives them the impression they have the right to know what color underwear we have on.

One thing I will admit is that I do more than just write novels. Granted some people are able to make a nice living doing nothing but writing one book a year, but I'm not one of them. Fortunately, I've managed to string together a bunch of things to generate an income close to what I made working a regular day job. One of my gigs is being the Etiquette Guide at Do you see the irony in this? I actually wrote an etiquette article about how to answer rude questions

I know quite a few authors who are also editors, publicists, agents, and professionals in other publishing type jobs. I've done a little bit of freelance editing, but it's not something I enjoy. Some of the writer friendly jobs I can think of off the top of my head include mystery shopping, freelance data entry, medical records coding, and e-book design and formatting.

What are some other things writers can do to generate enough income so we can continue to pursue our passion of telling stories?


Brandi Boddie said...

Great post, Debby! I understand the experiences you've gone through. People don't realize that writers work just as hard as those with traditional 9-5 jobs, often taking more hours of the day doing other projects to make ends meet. In addition to freelance work, I also write content for Internet articles, websites, and other blogs, not counting days where I substitute teach and work at the local daycare center. Despite this, I still have people say to me, "Must be nice to be able to put your feet up and wait for an idea to come to you." It's so frustrating to deal with that dismissive attitude. Unless you are part of the less than 1% who make millions of dollars penning a bestseller, establishing a writing career takes time, extreme patience, and realistic expectations.

Ok, I'm done with my venting :-) Thank you for also listing the other job opportunities that writers can look into to supplement their income. Making a living as a writer is possible, as long as you have the will to persevere.

Debby Mayne said...

Brandi, thanks for commenting. I think you nailed it when you said what you did about time, patience, and realistic expectations. Writers need to enjoy what they are doing.

Jillian Kent said...

When people ask me how much I make writing I just say, "Not as much as you're thinking." :)

I work full time as a counselor and have multiple family responsibilities like most of us do.

I think we need to branch out as hybrids and do both traditional publishing and our own indie publishing.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Good ideas, ladies. Another revenue stream I've developed is building a blog with a large following, then selling ad space on the sidebars. I did it and charged less than many other blog owners do, so I can help people who don't have as much marketing money as some people do.

Debby Mayne said...

Jillian, I think hybrid is a great way to go, especially if you have a book that doesn't fit a traditional publisher's guidelines.

Lena, your promo space is excellent since you have such a large fan base!

Darrel Nelson said...

You mean you DON'T live in a mansion and have a chauffeur?? But you're a published author--someone who has MADE IT. Yeah, right. I thought I was on the road to fame and fortune when I got a publishing contract. No one told me about the huge challenge involved in PROMOTING my books!! We're one of thousands vying for readers' attention, aren't we? I taught school for thirty-seven years while writing my novels and then retired last year so I'd have more time to write. And guess what? I'm less productive now that I have all this time on my hands. I did better while working full time. So keep up with the daily grind. It is a blessing in disguise.

Debby Mayne said...

Darrel, teaching school is something I used to think I wanted to do, but after I spent the time to get certified, I discovered it wasn't for me. Those seventh graders were smarter than me. I was relieved to go back to my make-believe world. I'm impressed that you were able to do both.