I grew up hearing those profound words from my father. At the time, I didn’t think much about what it meant. I assumed everyone worked in satisfying careers they loved.
Oh, the innocence of youth.
I’ve been lucky to enjoy a rewarding and satisfying career in marketing. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided that finding clever ways to sell people laxatives was going to be my life passion! But, as life has a way of doing, I found I had an innate talent for understanding customer buying behavior and how to turn those customer insights into action. It also turns out, I have a talent for writing.
Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about? Something you take pleasure in doing in your spare time? Do you think of spending less time at work and spending more time on your hobby? Or maybe you can spend time on your hobby while making a living off your job? The good news is, whatever it is, your passion can fetch you some money. This holds true for writing as well.
Writing for a living has a lot of advantages, especially in today’s global economy. Don’t like getting stuck in gridlock every morning? No problem. Many writers work from the comfort of their own plush sofa. Tired of working for a tyrannical over-the-top boss? Many writers choose their clients and/or the type of assignments they work on.
Yet despite the advantages of a writing career, not every writer thinks they can make a living from it. The reason is simple. FEAR. Fear that they are not good enough, fear of criticism and the fear of rejection. Unfortunately, I don’t know too many writers that make a living off of fear. So how do you wrangle the fear and turn your passion into a career?
Read. . . A lot.
While it’s always a good idea to read the genre you’re most interested in writing (for me, it’s sci-fi or paranormal romance novels!), reading anything will help you get better at recognizing sentence structure and grammar. Different voices and writing styles will also help you fine-tune your own style and help you find your writing voice.
At some point, though, you have to close your books and put fingers to keyboard! Deciding where to start and what story to tell is half the battle! Do you have a passion or interest in writing sci-fi romance novels? You’re not alone! With over $9 million in unit sales each year, the romance novel market is one most writers can’t afford to ignore. But can you make a living from writing romance novels? Can you take the great plots playing out in your head and translate those to paper in a way that excites your readers and starts to put a little cash in your pocket?
The following tips might help:
Start small. Start free.
Magazines and websites are always on the lookout for good content. Write short stories or articles for popular blogs or magazines that accept guest posts, especially if they have a category for romance writing. (This also helps your marketing efforts!) The money may not come in at this point because most blogs don’t pay for guest blogging, but it is a good starting ground on which to weigh your acceptability among readers. One other advantage for starting this way is that it helps you gain a fan-following for when you begin to publish your own stories.
Register on freelance sites
From time to time, you get to find people who want to write a romance novel or two but do not have the time to either sit down and get one written or they are not gifted in writing — but they do have great ideas. You can sell your services to these people and become a ghost writer. For many writers, they enjoy being able to work in their craft while enjoying some of the benefits of being a ghost writer: regular paychecks, interesting subjects, and not having to deal with the marketing aspect of publishing a novel. While you are at it though, don’t forget that when completed, you will relinquish all claims of copyright to the person who hires your service.
Start your own blog
A blog is a very good way for an unknown writer to create awareness about his or her work. If you are consistent enough, you can turn your writing into a brand. This can, in turn, help build your career as a writer. If you’re a serious writer and looking to make writing novels your career, a blog is an essential part of your marketing toolkit. A blog also provides a forum for your readers; a way for them to become part of the dialogue and share their feedback with you.
Take advantage of self-publishing
Thanks to Kindle and Amazon, more writers are now getting discovered. When you have grown your audience and are ready to publish, consider self-publishing over trying to find a publisher. While I went the traditional route with Dark Awakening, published by Black Velvet Seductions, self publishing allows you to have more control and reap more of your hard-earned profits.
And, with a subscription site like Scribd and millions of e-readers ready to pay for good content on the spot, you don’t have to go through hell anymore to get your book published.
It takes a lot of work and patience to turn your passion into a source of income. If you really desire to make money off your craft, you cannot afford to sit back and wait for an opportunity that may never come. Put in the time and the effort to get your name and your work out into the open. If you can succeed in doing that, don’t be surprised when the money begins to follow.
What are you doing to turn your creative hobby into a career? Drop me a line below. I’d love to hear what you’re doing!