With this week’s publication of my novel Kingmaker I decided to investigate the opportunities and risks for the modern indie author.
First of all, ignore the recent headlines of writers making a fortune as a self-published author. Ha! £2000 a day? Writers on average make less than £10,000 a YEAR! Writing is not a route to making a fortune, unless you are lucky enough to become one of the very elite like J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown. The painful reality is that you won’t make a fortune by getting a £multi-million contract from a big publisher. You’ll scrape a living, but you’ll do it because being a writer is part of your soul.
So do not let me put you off. The reality is that writers don’t write for the money (but it is always welcome!), and let’s face it, most writers will not make anything close to the minimum wage (and neither will they get a nice big pension). No, the reality is that we write simply because there is no other way to exist. To not write is like stopping breathing. Not writing is that itch that cannot be scratched, like a secret that we cannot hold inside us. Not writing is the excruciating death of our very soul. Writing IS life itself.
But how do we justify the massive risk of little economic return? Shouldn’t we just write for a hobby and get a “real job”? No. We can’t do that because there is no alternative! I know. I tried. I hated working in the “real world” (15 years in marketing and product management) and felt immensely frustrated at having to spend my life doing something I actually didn’t give two hoots about ar the end of the day. The money was great but in the end I was more than happy to walk away. since I was a young lad, writing was the only thing I ever wanted to do and now I am finally living the dream. I have never been so happy in my work, despite the constant fear of failure and financial ruin…
It isn’t actually as risky as it sounds – the massive growth of indie publishing (driven mainly by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing but now a massive global industry in itself) has so shaken the world of traditional publishing that an author no longer has to run the gauntlet of probable rejection by agents and the Big 5 publishing houses. The world has become a global marketplace, hungry for fresh ideas and perspectives. There are billions of potential customers out there, able to buy online 24/7, 365 days a year.
So the reality is that writing is no more a risk than any other self-employment. To be successful is just like any other industry / career: success comes from a mixture of talent, hard work and luck. I hope I am blessed with some of this in the years ahead! If you are also thinking of writing, don’t be afraid and DO NOT allow anyone to scare you by telling you that you can’t succeed. All it takes is a commitment to your task and an original idea. I’m on it for the long-haul. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Can I have my medal now please?
#Indiepublishing #writing #writerslife