June 24

Funding Fiction: Three Ways To Pay the Bills While Waiting for Book Sales

writer at typewriter

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.

Freelancing

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.

Crowdfunding

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!

June 10

10 Reasons You Should Just Go Write That Book

10 reasons you should go write that book

I know  I write a lot about freelancing and content creation for websites, but there’s another passion of mine that surpasses even those fascinating pasttimes. I write books, and dammit, I love what I do. Do I make gobs of money from them? No, not yet. But, in my defense, I’m still learning. I didn’t let my lack of knowledge about things like marketing and self publishing get in the way of me actually writing the books, and neither should you.

Here are 10 reasons you should just go write that book. Right now.

1. You suck at writing. No, this is NOT an insult. If you are a beginner writer, and sometimes if you are a long-time writer, you are going to suck at writing. The only way to get better is to practice, and what better way to practice than to write a book and learn from the experience.

*If you want to read a great motivational book about overcoming your fear of writing, go read this.  This guy is awesome, and nails this “authorphobia” thing perfectly.

2. You aren’t getting any younger. Tomorrow is not a given, and you may never have a chance to get your story down if you don’t start now.

3. Who’s going to remember you when you’re dead? Wouldn’t it be awesome to leave behind something real and tangible, even a digital book, after you’re gone?

4. You might actually be good at it. Even if you’re not great, you could be good enough to have people actually want to read your stuff. Then, you might be good enough to earn money from your writing,  maybe even enough to do something awesome.

5. When people ask what you do, you can tell them, “I’m a writer.” Even if you’re a writer by night and a dentist by day, or anything else by day, you can still say you’re a writer if you actually write stuff.

6. You can kill people. Not in real life, of course, but if you really hate someone, make them into a character in your book and kill the hell out of them. Heck, turn them into a zombie so you can kill them twice. It’s better than paying for therapy or spending time in prison.

7. Everyone has a story, and you can help them tell it. Maybe you don’t want to write your story, but you want to write about someone amazing you know, or a character that has been inside your head for years. Stories are important, they can change people’s lives, make the world a better place, and teach people stuff. Do this by writing a book!

8. You need an outlet for your creativity. Maybe you’re the weirdest person you know, but you can’t really let your freak flag fly because people at the office would really be nervous around all that awesomeness. Whatever. Go write that book, let your freaky imagination run wild, release the creative pressure, so you don’t explode in a midlife crisis of glitter, gin and go-go dancing.

9. You can change the world. Your book could be the one thing that changes someone’s life, the one thing that stops them from doing something awful, or feeling so alone, or being such a jerk. Words. Make. A. Difference. Use yours wisely.

10. You don’t have to be perfect, or even interesting, to write a book. Look at all the perfectly boring non-fiction books out there that people read because they need the information inside of them. Look at all the poorly written books that still get great reviews because they struck a chord with someone on some level. Perfection is overrated. Just go write that book.

If you’re feeling at all inspired, my pal Trinity Ford, aka Tiffany Lambert, is doing a 30 day newbie fiction challenge starting from TODAY. We’ll be picking an idea, writing a short book, and publishing it, all in one month. Join in, I dare you, because you might just unleash something awesome. And, if nothing else, you’ll go write that book.