Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just contact an independent publishing platform, tell them your amazing idea for your book, then accept a big, fat advance for your efforts, so you could spend your days doing nothing but writing your book? Wake up, dreamer, that doesn’t even happen to traditionally published authors anymore. The truth is, it’s hard to break into self-publishing if you can’t work at it full time, because when you self-pub, you also have to do all your own promotion, sort out your covers, find an editor, format the book…I could go on and on.
This article is talking mostly to self-employed writers, because those of you with full-time jobs are probably making enough money to pay the bills and writing in your spare time, which is completely smart and a good idea, but if you’re like me, with no other consistent source of income, you’ll need to keep the bill collectors away somehow while you pen that bestseller. Here are three ways you can earn money to pay your bills while you’re focusing on fiction, or non-fiction, book writing and selling.
Okay, you knew I was going to open with this, didn’t ya? In my personal experience, freelance writing is nearly perfect for keeping the wolf from the door while you write your book. It allows you to practice, practice, practice while you earn, and it’s totally flexible, especially if you find some really great clients who understand the difference between high quality content and mass produced garbage.
If you’re new to freelancing, you might struggle to find your feet, but then again, you might not. Who knows. But I do know that if you put yourself out there, check the freelancing job boards regularly, and value yourself, you’ll be able to earn enough to get by while you create your masterpiece.
Get a job
Ooh, didn’t see this one coming, did you? Before you throw your hands dramatically up in the air and declare me a hack, just listen. Could a 20-hour-a-week job pay your basic bills so you could focus the rest of your time on your writing? Now, if I didn’t freelance, this option wouldn’t work for me, because I have three kids and a husband who works crazy hours to help keep a roof over our heads.
If I did seek a J-O-B, it would be online, maybe as a virtual assistant or possibly a transcriptionist, if I could teach myself to type and listen at the same time. There are actually a crap-load of online, work from home jobs with reputable companies that are hiring every day. Customer service jobs from home can be a very lucrative way to finance your fiction, and your customers could provide plenty of material for your book.
This is becoming more acceptable as a way to finance your literary ventures, but it’s really not all that dissimilar to the old days of patronage. People support your venture (your book) by paying a few dollars or more into a crowdfunding campaign so you can focus on writing instead of worrying about paying your bills. Beware, this really only works if you know a LOT of people who are willing to fund you, or you are charismatic enough to convince complete strangers to support your venture.
It seems to help if you can offer some sort of reward to your donors, like a copy of your book once it’s finished, or tickets to the Superbowl. Check out Kickstarter for a lot of really good examples of how it’s done.
Now you have no excuse not to write, so get out there and write that book!