Advice I'd give to an author who wants to earn 6-figures a year
I’ve been thinking a lot about what separates a career author from a writer who is dabbling for fun and enjoying the process, and also about what enables an author to build a sustainable career. If someone asked me what I think an author should be doing if they want to hit that magical six-figures a year, this is what I’d say:
1. There are a million, billion easier ways to earn a living than being a writer. So if you’re only in this for the money, you’d be better off becoming an investment banker. At the heart of every decision you make should be, “Am I having fun? Is this fulfilling me? Is this serving my readers, who are my whole reason for doing this crazy writing thing?”
2. Write in series in a genre you love. Be mean to your readers and leave ‘em guessing at the end of each book.
3. Remember that your author brand is the promise you make to your readers. Within your brand, you have lots of freedom to experiment and try new things, but DON’T BREAK THE PROMISE.
4. Create a discipline around your writing. You don’t have to be writing in sprints or hitting a certain word count every day if that’s not how your brain works, but those are common techniques to help create a writing discipline. This is gonna be your job so you can’t slack off or your boss will kick your ass.
5. Write wearing your writer’s hat, but make business and marketing decisions wearing your publisher hat.
6. Read in and love your genre. Watch for trends and changes in reader tastes. Be a champion of other authors because their readers can be your readers, too.
7. Respect your readers by working your ass off to give them amazing books that are well-edited, nicely packaged, and that give them the reading experience they expect. (Remember, don’t break the promise!)
8. Stay away from drama and bollocks. Remember everything you post online will stay there forever. You may be hurting or offended or angry, but ask yourself if it’s serving your readers to have them know that.
9. Make friends. Authors are awesome! And they understand your existential angst like no one else. Find like-minded author peeps in groups like RAtM and build a little circle of author awesomeness around you.
10. Never give up. You never know when your next book or next series could be THE ONE. And you don’t even need THE ONE to hit six figures. The more backlist titles you release, the more you build a solid base for a sustainable career.
"Never give up. You never know when your next book or next series could be THE ONE."