Letters from the Real World: Where is the Money?!?!?!

By Cait Reynolds
When all else fails, beat your doubts into submission with a meat tenderizer.

When all else fails, beat your doubts into submission with a meat tenderizer.

I’m five months into this whole full-time writer gig. I’m…not panicked. Not exactly. Not yet. I’m not ready for a Valium, but I wouldn’t mind a drink. Or two.

I’m working really hard. I’m trying to find the “best practices” (ugh, shoot me now for using that phrase) for working from home and balancing life. I’m trying my best to sort out – QUICKLY – what social media venues are best and most productive and efficient for me. Unfortunately, trial and error take time because results take time.

Bills, however, don’t need time. They need money. And when you’re a writer, time does not always equal money.

I am doing all the right things. I have a mothership website. I have every social media ID you can have (except for LinkedIn – I just can’t see how being a romance writer matters there). I write every day. I blog every day. I connect with other writers. I’ve had a couple of major tipping points tip in my favor. I’m an above-average writer in terms of skill, and average in terms of volume.

Ultimately, I have faith that I will be able to make a very good living from my writing. I can visualize it, see it, smell it, and sometimes taste it (don’t ask). It’s just that right now, I’m hoping that I can get something decent in terms of a royalties check on July 30. It doesn’t have to be big. But, if it covered two months of expenses for me, I wouldn’t be complaining.

So, in the spirit of helping you all learn from my experience, here’s my advice:

  • Before you decide to go full-time as a writer, either write enough to make sure you have an established backlist base of income, or figure out your monthly budget and save up enough to get you through 7-8 months of frugal living.
  • Have a plan. Exactly how many books are you going to write this first year out? Don’t pull a Cait and overload your plate. Be ambitious but reasonable. Leave room for freelance work and pop-up projects.
  • Get to know a good recruiter. You’re going to need the safety net of a temp job to help you sleep at night.
  • Read about quick money-making types of books. Dig out your old fan fiction. If it’s in public domain, think about polishing it up and putting it out on Kindle Direct Press.
  • Set up a spreadsheet, track income and expenses, keep receipts. This will help your tax bill next year.
  • Keep at it. Don’t slack. Don’t give up. No matter how hard it is, how much you try to procrastinate (and succeed), make your list of priorities for the week and DO THEM.

As for me? I have unshakable faith. I have the persistence of a Bull Tiger (you know, a Taurus born in the year of the Tiger). I know I can succeed, therefore, I will not fail.

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