Under the current publishing models, writers work as freelancers. While there are some serious lifestyle and financial benefits to freelancing, there are also some major draw backs. What we gain in personal freedom and financial potential we lose in consistency and reliability. Writers don’t have the luxury of steady, stable jobs with steady, stable pay checks and a full suite of benefits. That’s what bread-jobs are for!
While the occasional author is propelled into fame and big fat royalty checks with a single novel, most of us aren’t that lucky. Rather, we struggle and strive to reach the hearts and minds of a few loyal readers. Building enough momentum to base a long term living off of creative writing isn’t a matter of selling the hell out of a single book, but rather selling well with a bunch of different properties over a long period of time. After all, even the Mississippi river starts in distant mountains as small streams. Only when those thousands of sources merge together into a single, massive channel can they support the weight of heavy-duty commerce. One stream may go dry for a season, but the Mississippi river is still being fed by enough sources that it hardly matters.
Therefore, the ultimate means for building a steady, stable career is to accumulate a loyal fan base that will follow you from project to project. Not only can you count on them to buy your new books, but such a fan base can be leveraged into better deals from publishers and allow you to take risks with your fiction. So write, a lot, and do your best by each work. After all, your best is precisely what your fans deserve. When you think about it, it is their loyalty and patronage that allows you to create in the first place.
While being prolific is essential for a successful career, we can’t produce at the expense of quality. Each time we release a work into the wider world, be it a book or a blog post, we are staking our reputation and our future on its success. After all, you have no control over which of your works will be your first exposure to a new reader. The only thing you can do is make sure that you do your best by each project, treating them with the thoughtfulness, dedication, and attention they deserve.Tags: Sequence 07: Living the Writer's Life