Wednesday

Making a Living as a Full Time Fiction Writer

    Many of us would love to make a living writing fiction, and only fiction, full time.  Aspiring authors find whatever spare time they can muster to write. Would you need to write a bestseller or could you settle for a spartan existence if it meant doing what you love?   No day job, no boss (except maybe your agent or publisher).  Is this a realistic goal?  Realistic, yes.  Worth the sacrifice, maybe.  Only you can decide that for yourself.
 
    Over at BubbleCow they discuss Chip MacGregor's suggestions that the blueprint for becoming a full time writer is complex and is based on a three rule system.

  1. You need to have four-to-six books earning you a royalty.
  2. You need to have 18 months to 2 years of book contracts.
  3. You need to have a plan in place.

Let’s take these rules one at a time:

    Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops: Control Point, talks about his transition from the security of a government job to the uncertain future of a  full time writer.  He talks in depth about how he makes it work.
A few people have asked me to blog about how I make full-time writing work finan­cially, and I think that’s a really inter­esting topic. I won’t go into details on spe­cific dollar amounts, but I think what I am doing could be scaled to fit anyone’s desired lifestyle.
He also offers a nice follow up after he finished his first full year.  He discusses the good and the bad, as well as his conviction to keep going.
My orig­inal plan was to give myself 3–5 years to make this writing thing work finan­cially, and I saved a nest egg/budgeted a lifestyle that would acco­mo­date that time frame. If future years are like this one, I can sus­tain this lifestyle (full-time writing, part-time mil­i­tary ser­vice) indefinitely.
    Your can read his two posts: How I Make It Work and One Year In by following the links.  Both great reads!

    Just like writing your first novel, making a living a living as a full time writer is possible, but it will require the same dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice.  Only you can decide if it is a leap of faith you are willing to make.


11 comments:

Nicole Pyles said...

It's a good question as to what you are willing to sacrifice! I think that's why I have maintained my blog as long as I have...I am hoping one day it will make me money. I have also written for others. So, I do think it's possible, I just wonder how many of us have that sort of patience. ;)

Sean Worth said...

I think it's a goal, but not realistic for me right now. Though I do keep trying to talk my wife into being my "sugarmomma" so I can write full time. So far it's a not working. :)

E. B. Pike said...

Thanks for sharing this! I dream of making a living from fiction writing one day, but it seems so impossible. It's nice to hear it can be done.

Crack You Whip said...

Great post! I can't write fiction to save my life, but base my posts off of my own life and it works. Sadly, no one pays me for this...

chickangell said...

It is a tough haul. I got laid off a year and a half ago, and the following week got a contract with an agent for my first book. My husband and I sat down and decided to give me three years and see where it goes. I work harder now than I ever have. I have two books under contract, two self-published, am almost finished with a third and half-way through a fourth. I am a writer, editor, marketer, advertiser, lay out designer, artist, blogger and I write guest articles. This month I will get my first royalties check and even though it in no ways reflects the 60 + hours a week I work, I know that this is a boulder that I am moving up hill and when I get to the top, it will all be worth it!

Sean Worth said...

I'm so happy you got that book contract when you did! That three year window sounds familiar. I'll be in a position to give writing a full time effort in the next few years. I've talked with my wife who, thankfully, fully supports my dreams. I threw out the three year number to her as well. I will keep working as time allows until then.

chickangell said...

We were too! But my husband (who knows nothing of the business) is getting really antsy as I still have not gotten picked up by a publisher. He had no idea how long it can take sometimes!

Liesel K Hill said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing! This is a goal that I'm working toward, though I may still be a couple of years out. I think anything's possible--anyone can have any lifestyle they want--as long as they're willing to put in the time and dedication. Thanks for the info and the great links. By the way, I'm a new follower. I have two blogs: a general one (lkhill.blogspot.com) and one that focuses on fantasy writing (musingsonfantasia.blogspot.com) I love your blog by the way. The picture at the top is AWESOME!

Jenny Milchman said...

It can take a long, long time. I wanted to try and give heart to you in your goal and some of the commenters. It took me 11 years to sell my "first" novel (really my eighth). If you averaged my earnings out over that time, OK, not a living. But this year for the first time I can say I made a chunk of one. There are different ways to reach that goal--multiple books, following both traditional and indie publishing paths, holding out for the big score. If you love it enough, and the world says you have talent, you will get there. You really will.

Betsy Love said...

That's how Kevin Anderson (Author of The Jedi Apprentice series and fan fiction for X-Files and Star Wars series) make his living. He cranks out a new book every other month. He says that you have to treat your writing like a job 8-5, or whatever hours you choose. But you must be working on something all the time. And when you're not writing, you should be thinking about writing--meaning think about your plot, you characters, etc. Happy writing! I blog at betsylove dot com

Rebecca Emin said...

This is a great post. I wholeheartedly agree you need to have more than one book out there to make any sort of money for writing, which is hard to embrace when you sink your heart and soul into your first book. Basically before the first one even launches you need to be thinking of your second and third. I write for 10-14 year olds and they tend to sit and read a book in a couple of hours and their next question is, "What else have you got for me to read?".

I know I am lucky to be a full time mum so I fit my writing in around that.

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