June 05, 2016

How To Make a Living as a Writer - Review

Can the average Joe (or Jane) really make a living as a writer? I found some thought provoking answers in HOW TO MAKE A LIVING AS A WRITER by James Scott Bell that I think are actually quite 'doable'. 

Over and over again, Bell stresses the fact that writing is hard work. It is NOT a get rich quick scheme, and is not a guaranteed source of fame and fortune. However, he believes one can actually make a living as long as your writing is of high quality. In fact, this is the caveat throughout. Quality writing is the only way to sustain a career as a writer. People aren't going to buy the next book if the first one stinks. He talks at length about critique groups, beta readers, professional editing and cover design, as well as becoming a student of your craft. Keep learning and growing.

Beyond the QUALITY aspect, he focuses a lot on the business of writing. If you are going to make a living you have to treat it as a business. Intrinsic to this is time management, setting goals that are measurable and action oriented, and creating a marketing plan.
Here is a brief overview of Bell's 'Eight Essentials of a Writing Business'

1. Entertain your readers first 
2. Develop multiple streams of writing income
3. Make a business plan
4. Define your unique selling proposition
5. Know how to handle finances
6. Be action oriented:
     - have a daily word count/ writing quota
     - limit social networking time (schedule it in) 
     - schedule in 'creativity' time to recharge
     - study your craft
7. Quality control! 
     - get feedback
     - hire professional editing
8. Have more than one project on the go

There is so much good information in this book that I highly recommend it to all authors, even if you aren't planning to write full time.

Book review by Tracy Krauss

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review, Tracy. This sounds like a book I need to read.


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