Making A Living From Your Writing.

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by psychotick, Feb 2, 2012.

  1.  
    psychotick

    psychotick Dangerously confused

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    Hi,

    I thought about just adding this on to the other thread about authors and percentage returns, but that had wandered off into stranger territory about when is a writer a writer, and I thought this was closer to the original intent of the thread.

    As I've just started up on kindle boards, I've been browsing through a lot of new posts from other writers and authors, and I came upon this which I thought was fantastic. It's by a a guy called Dean Wesley Smith (who I freely admit I hadn't heard of, but since he writes under pennames I figure I've got an excuse), who's blogging about a business like approach to writing and selling and making a living from it, which I thought I'd pass on.

    Here's the link to his blog:

    http://www.Deanwesleysmith.com/?p=4019

    Very much looking forwards to hearing your views on it, since he's about the first person I've heard who's said you can make a go of it, though it's a lot of hard work. He gives me hope.

    Cheers, Greg.
  2.  
    Dozmonic

    Dozmonic Member

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    There's always hope. I did some basic number crunching recently in another thread:

    That was for books sold through an agent to a mainstream publisher.

    Self-publishing has a much larger range of book prices. If you take £1.99 as a reasonable average, and you get 70% of that (I don't know what % amazon takes), that's £1.39 per book. To make minimum wage full time work in the UK (£12,330), that's 8851 sales in a year. 737 in a month. 170 in a week. 24 per day. Again, with multiple books out at once, that's easier to achieve. Hack writing can get you multiple books done per year which could provide a stable financial basis from which you could expand to write other things you like.
  3.  
    Gary Compton

    Gary Compton King Harvey Basset R.I.P

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    Whats hack writing Doz?
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    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    Very interesting stuff! It ties in to a pattern I think I see from those who share their sales info - it's having enough material to give some away free that counts. Once you can do a free this and free that, your non-free items begin to benefit in sales.

    Of course, more items also means more chances people will find your product too. So more is more!
  5.  
    Dozmonic

    Dozmonic Member

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    Hack writing is churning out a high volume of work. As an example, see Michael Moorcock's how to write a book in 3 days as an example: http://www.wetasphalt.com/content/how-write-book-three-days-lessons-michael-moorcock

    Formulaic writing isn't the only way to hack write, it's just one that works. The other thing is to just put a lot of time and effort into it. For example, someone posted a link to this blog entry about writing 10,000 words per day: http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-i-went-from-writing-2000-words-day.html

    10,000 words per day means a full length novel could be done in 10 days, first draft. Second draft will usually be 80% rewrite, third 40%, fourth 20% as a rough guideline. For a 100k novel you're thinking 250k or so words with redrafts. That's 25 days at 10,000 words per day.
  6.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    I think the blog post makes a big important point that too many are missing with epublishing - and that it's all about treating it as a business, rather than sat around hoping to get lucky.

    Even still, he doesn't use real stats, just possibilities, which always rings alarm bells.

    However, the general point about "produce" echoes a lot of what I've seen here on chrons, and that's you need about 4 books a year in epublishing to maintain momentum.

    Like his fruit analogy, though. And overall, very interesting comment, if a little day-dreamy at times. :)
  7.  
    psychotick

    psychotick Dangerously confused

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    Hi,

    I'd heard that about Michael Moorcock and thought it was a joke. Now it seems the jokes on me since I have all the Elric adventures and most of the rest of the Champion Eternal books, all thirty or so of them. (And I like them.) So it looks like I've got about ninety days worth of his work all up!!

    Cheers, Greg.
  8.  
    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    Nice article! I have to admit, as I am re-reading some Elric just now, that I do have a hankering for more of that kind of fiction. There is indeed something uncluttered and simple about the Elric books which I love. They move along at a rollicking pace, which makes for great reading.

    I do love thought-provoking, in depth books too, but there's still a place for just blasting on with the action. This guide to writing explains a lot about how the Elric books come out that way, and it's no bad thing I think.

    Kind of reminds me of the "naivete of early SF" thread too, where that naivete is a charm that can be loved, rather than just a short-fall to be scoffed at.

    Anyway... it has given me things to think about for sure, reading that, so thanks for sharing!
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    Montero

    Montero Senior Member

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    Very interesting blog, started reading other parts of it too.

    As others have said, definitely ties in with comments on Chrons from people self-publishing eBooks that having the second part out there encourages readers.

    Would comment that while I don't think I've read any of his books, the name "Dean Wesley Smith" certainly rang bells when I saw it in the title of the thread. So that could help with the sales of self-published works.
    Likewise, where he publishes under pseudonym (which he talks about elsewhere on the blog), but has those pseudonyms publicly linked on his website, then for any potential reader intrigued enough by the eBook to do any research into the author, there is the "stamp" of the established author to suggest the quality will be good.

    So while I think his principles sound good, he may have more immediate success than a newbie writer.
  10.  
    Bowler1

    Bowler1 Senile Member

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    New here everyone so hello, advice on how to get a picture added to my profile would also be welcome.

    The future of publishing is unknown, but I suspect some of the changes will be very similiar to what Dean's link has stated. In my oponion, to keep to the forefront of search engines volume and a steady rate of new material might be very important in the future, unless you have a fan base.

    All very well if you're already earning enough from you're writing to keep pushing new material onto the web, staying up with new searches and maintaining your sales position.

    The reality of aspiring authors is that we have jobs to keep us busy and maintaining a high volume of quality material to publish online, just won't be possible. This may make life even more difficult for new writers to get started. Hacks, which Dean seems to be, could swarm the online sales with poor quality products.

    Most of you seem to have been reassured by Deans business model, I'm not. Customers (readers) I beleive will see volume publishing for what it is, the customer may well move on, no-one likes being sold crap. This could make life all the more difficult for the remaining authors.

    Sorry to be negitive on my first post, but in my humble oponion, the likes of Dean worry me.
  11.  
    David B

    David B New Member

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  12.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    Welcome to chrons. :)

    As for the business model - I think volume publishing in itself is an interesting concept, but I would think it still has to be decently written for it to succeed to any degree, otherwise people will not buy.

    I wonder if we may yet be looking at a resurgence of the pulpier days of sf/f, when magazine provided a writing vehicle that many authors developed their names with - magazines which have waned in popularity for decades - but that epublishing offers a potential new channel.

    With publishers feeling the squeeze I would expect them to be more guarded about signing up new authors, at a time when writers can epublish directly.

    Interesting times indeed. :)
  13.  
    psychotick

    psychotick Dangerously confused

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    Actually I wouldn't mind something of a return to the pulpier days of fiction. I used to love that stuff, big strong astronauts, bug eyed monsters and of course scantily clad women needing rescuing. It didn't matter that the science was often crap, the story shallow and the characterizations pitiful. If it was well enough written it was a good read and a pleasant enough escape for a couple of hours. There's something to be said for that. Notevery novel needs to be War and Peace, and have multiple layers of meaning and deep philosophical insight as well as painfully exact realism.

    Cheers, Greg.

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