“Can you really make a living as a writer?”
Last year I decided to put my PhD in Literature to good use and write some novels; specifically, I wanted to see whether I could actually make a living as a writer. The short answer is YES.
I made about 35K in six months publishing fiction on Kindle (while travelling the world).
I proved that it is *possible* to earn a living writing books… even (or especially) as a self-published author.
Why does this matter?
It matters because I keep seeing comments online, like the following:
“I wouldn’t touch self-publishing with a ten foot pole. If you can write you can get a literary agent and a real publisher, do book signings, get on the talk shows and be somebody. Self publishing is for people who cannot write and need to see their name on the cover of a book.”
“I’ve made $35K in the last six months. I write an hour or two a day and travel full time, and I have about 10,000 people waiting for my next release. It’s a pretty amazing way to make a living. I don’t need to “be somebody” and getting on talk shows doesn’t actually sell books (plus, big famous authors are probably making less than I am, because they only keep a fraction of book sales). The vast majority of traditionally published authors do not make a living with their writing.”
However – at least with traditional publishing you’ll make some money for your book. The truth is, I have a background in book design, publishing and online business, so even though I didn’t have a platform for my fiction when I started, I definitely had a head-start.
Most self-publishing authors don’t make any money, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ve gone from zero to making a living with my writing in about a year and a half, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
On the other hand, it might be easier than you think. People who say self-publishing authors need to spend 90% of the time marketing their books don’t know what they’re talking about. I only spend a few hours a week marketing my books. All you need to do is focus on the handful of things that actually work, and ignore all the rest.
I made a free video workshop with my top tips, it’s a crash course on the strategies I’ve used to build my author platform. You can watch it here:
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.