Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making a living as an author - impossible, or just really, really hard?

Well obviously making a living as an author is not IMPOSSIBLE because people do it. People other than J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, you ask? Yes. Look at famous names in Christian Fiction. Robin Jones Gunn. Susan May Warren. Rachel Hauck. Colleen Coble. Granted, we don't know for sure that they don't also depend on their husband's salaries to get by, but they do very well for themselves. That's a fact.

This is due to several things - perseverence, productivity, and God's grace.

I'm not about to think for a minute that God didn't shower those ladies with grace and mercy, allowing them to live their dreams and reach souls for Him. He was involved with that, to be sure. But they also did their part. They didn't sit around and wait for their big break. They dove in. They wrote books. They submitted. They got rejected. They joined crit groups. They tried again. They went to conferences and took workshops. They got agents. They tried again. They published books and then published more books and built a platform and an audience. They created blogs and websites and read craft books to keep learning new trends. They went on book tours and held book signings and weren't afraid to promote themselves. They taught at conferences, kept reading books, kept improving their craft, kept learning and growing and trying.

It's a never ending process. If you aren't willing and able to dive into that process and KEEP MOMENTUM, then your dream of making a living through writing isn't going to be just hard. It's going to be impossible.

Here's the thing. Right now, I'm waiting to hear back on a proposal for my 6th novel with Love Inspired. I just contracted a YA novel with Barbour and am waiting to hear back on the series proposal we sent afterward. I published several years ago with The Wild Rose Press (White Rose) in both print and multiple e-book stories. I've been a part of several non fiction compilations. I teach at conferences and I speak at churches. I do booksignings. I have a blog and a website and read books and attend conferences and network. I freelance for my local newspaper.

Am I making a living on my writing alone?

HECK no. :)

I hope to one day get there (and so does my hubby. haha!) But I know that everything is relative. EVERYTHING is varied. The editors are going to vary. Release dates are going to vary. Sales are going to vary. (based on everything from content to literally just being a certain month of the year. For example, my February release A VALENTINE'S WISH sold in the top half of its listings for that month with my publisher. So did my April release RODEO SWEETHEART. I expected the earnings to match - but they didn't. One doubled the other because the sales for each month were not anywhere near the same. That was an eye-opener.)

It's going to take time. A lot of time. The authors I mentioned above earned it. They didn't just hop on the train and ride to success. It took years. Not just a few, but a lot. They never gave up - that's a key factor.

Don't get discouraged and think this will never happen for you. It definitely can. But its not going to be fast and its not going to be easy (unless you really do get a one hit wonder series contract like Meyer and Rowling and soar to the sky!) Face reality and plan for reality, but don't be afraid to keep dreaming. If you don't set little goals for yourself, you'll never come close to reaching your big one.

Basically, what it comes down to is one fact - keep writing! If you don't write, you don't have anything to show at a conference or submit to an agent. If you don't write, your agent won't have anything to submit to a publisher, so nothing gets published. If you don't have one book published, you won't have five published. Or ten. And if you don't have books published, then obviously you're not on your way to making a living as a writer :)

So go write!


  1. Preach it sister!! Thanks for getting my inspiration rolling today! :)

  2. Thanks! To be successful at anything takes really hard work & proactiveness!