Publishing works that are both critically and commercially successful is essential for earning a living as a writer. However, for the vast majority of writers, this also means opening up a number of potential avenues of financial gain connected to their writing careers. Many writers may support themselves solely on royalties, allowing them to forgo the 9-to-5 grind.
Here are eight pointers to keep in mind if earning a living from your writing is a goal of yours:
Write a lot and advertise it.
Contrary to common assumption, a bestseller is enjoyed by a small group of people who are completely devoted to it. "Best-sellers seek a pre-made audience," explains bestselling author Suzy K Quin. The Ready-made audience might include genre readers, sub-genre readers, or a very specialized population with whom a book would relate. Eat, Pray, Love, as Quin pointed out in her discussion at SPS Live 2022, was written for single women in their 30s, and their passion for the book contributed to its success.
In other words, if you want to publish a book that sells, you must target a certain set of people who will actually connect with it. At the same event, Reedsy's Ricardo Fayet said that this is the startup world's "Product-market fit — when a firm builds a product that is excellent for a certain market."
Discuss topics that are important to the readers of your genre.
Each genre is associated with certain themes, such as justice, tyranny, and freedom in science fiction; good and evil in fantasy; hope and love in romance, and so on. Examining the themes associated with your genre is one approach to ensure that your book is appropriately suited to your market. If you're unclear how to approach this, consider past works in your genre and attempt to draw links between them in terms of similar story ideas.
Think about sticking to common conventions of your chosen genre.
Genre literature often employs clichés that readers are already acquainted with since they are often seeking out new novels with the same tropes they previously appreciated. In reality, popular book recommendations on TikTok often revolve on tired plot devices like the "enemies to lovers" romance cliche or the "reluctant hero" fantasy stereotype. In this promotional clip for her book, Ali Hazelwood uses a number of well-known tropes to help spread the word.
Get your manuscript edited to perfection.
There's a reason that every one of the best-selling writers in history has used a book writing services. The author may be emotionally invested in the tale and so unable to objectively critique it, while the editor may have years of expertise that the author lacks. A developmental editor can tell you whether your book makes sense as a whole, if there are any narrative gaps or unfinished character arcs, and how your work stacks up against others in the same genre.
What I truly needed was the perspective of someone who also knew what the competitive publishing business expected — and Clare definitely provided," says author Catherine Peterson, who worked with a Reeds editor. My novel was taken to a whole new level by her critique. It wasn't only that she pointed out that my manuscript's lack of tension hurt its marketability; she also provided me with a plan for bringing it up to publication standards. Peterson signed a book contract after working with her editor.
Maintain a high percentage of the royalties as you see fit.
Whether you self-publish or have your book published by a publishing house affects the amount of royalties you earn. Self-publishing may be profitable for authors with commercially successful novels, despite the fact that the author must pay for editing, cover design, and book promotion up front.
Self-published writers retain between 50 and 70 percent of the royalties, whereas traditionally published authors get between 5 and 20 percent (after "earning out" their advance). Independent writers frequently go it alone not because they were rejected by established publishers but because they want a larger cut of the profits.
Acquire a readership by promoting your writing.
If you want to make a living as an author, you need to wear more than one hat. This involves "seeing your book like a business," as Darren Hardy, Amazon's UK manager of Author and Editorial Programmers, stressed at SPS Live 2022.
Investing time and energy into growing your author platform will pay off in the long run for your writing career. Establishing an author email list is the most fruitful marketing strategy, even more so than maintaining an author website and an active social media presence. With the aid of a mailing list, you can connect with your audience, spread the word about upcoming releases, increase sales, and foster lasting connections with your most devoted customers. It allows you to make offerings to individuals who are already interested in what you have to say and who know, like, and trust you.
Increasing the number of people who can access your books is a worthwhile goal.
To reach the widest possible audience, publish your book in more than one format. Some readers like eBooks, some prefer to peruse physical book stores, and yet others have accessibility needs that need them to exclusively listen to audiobooks. That is to say, providing your work in more than one format might attract a larger audience if you aren't currently doing so.
When you translate your book, you open yourself up to a whole new audience of potential buyers who are interested in your genre but don't speak your language. Independent writers have the most success in the German, French, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese markets and the least success in places like Greece (Greeks somehow never fell for eBooks).
For British writers, the American market provides enormous potential, and for American authors, British readership is always a lovely additional benefit, so you may even think about how to effectively advertise your English-language book across the pond from wherever you're situated. Before launching a marketing campaign in an uncharted region, it's important to evaluate all of the angles, from digital advertisements to the design of your book's cover to the catchiness of its title.
Advertise both your current books and your older ones.
Selling numbers may be boosted significantly by advertising both the most recent book and the author's entire catalogue. To do this, you may create a book package, where your previous publications are offered at a discount to buyers of your most recent book. With this strategy, you may charge less for the first few volumes in a series while still making sure your fans pay full price for the conclusion. Get new readers interested in your collection by piquing their interest.
You may experiment with various pricing points, but the offer should be time-limited, and the reduction should be made clear. To the fullest extent possible, please share this information with your email list, newsletter subscribers, and social media followers. Pre-ordering one's newest book and then advertising to a specific audience is another common practices among writers. Even before your book is published, this may help create anticipation for it.