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Fictional Cowboy
07-05-2014, 02:11 AM
The Fast-Track to Making a Million Dollars From Writing Books (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremygreenfield/2013/03/20/the-fast-track-to-making-a-million-dollars-from-writing-books/)

I read this article from March 20, 2013 in Forbes Magazine. I thought I'd share it for encouragement and to get other people's thoughts on it.

Is making a good living (define "good" for yourself) from writing novels purely about luck? Timing? Marketing? Being savvy? Platform? Having a good agent? Great writing? Publicity? All of the above?

Personally, I want to make a living from writing novels and I don't apologize for that. I'd like to make about (but not limited to) $50,000, after taxes and all expenses, to achieve this and allow me to do other things I'd like to do. This figure will naturally be different for everyone.

I've read several threads in the archives about making a living from writing. Some of what I read surprised me. I read comments that were friendly and encouraging and some that came across as smug and snide, not caring if they stomped all over someone else's dream for the sake of "waking someone up to reality." (What on earth people get from being like that I'll never know.)

Is making a lot of money writing novels easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. Will everyone do it? Of course not. Can I? Why not? I choose to look at what's possible while being realistic about what it takes to achieve it. Hearing and reading about other people's success is encouraging to me. So, here's an encouraging article for those who are interested.

Fictional Cowboy
07-05-2014, 02:43 AM
In the interest of keeping things real, here's a blog post (http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2011/06/ellery-adams-bares-all.html) from June 28, 2011 by mid-list, cozy mystery author of 15 books (by the end of 2011), Ellery Adams.

The statistics are interesting but, if you want the bottom line, her reported income in 2010 was $18,000 with an average advance of $6,000 per title.

So, for discussion, how does Ellery Adams differ from the author in the first post, Jennifer L. Armentrout?

What made the difference? Genre? Writing? Promotion? The agent? Savvy? Marketing?

Why are these two experiences so different?

Fictional Cowboy
07-05-2014, 04:43 AM
On the other hand, you have Stephenie Meyer who received a six figure advance for her first ever submission - Twilight. Six figures for a first time author? Remarkable.

There are plenty of examples on both sides of the financial success coin.

jjdebenedictis
07-05-2014, 05:25 AM
What is this thread about?

Fictional Cowboy
07-05-2014, 05:32 AM
What is this thread about?
Just what it says in the first post.


I read this article from March 20, 2013 in Forbes Magazine. I thought I'd share it for encouragement and to get other people's thoughts on it.

Is making a good living (define "good" for yourself) from writing novels purely about luck? Timing? Marketing? Being savvy? Platform? Having a good agent? Great writing? Publicity? All of the above?

1. Sharing an encouraging article.
2. Getting opinions on making a good living from writing novels and what it would take.

Helix
07-05-2014, 05:37 AM
2. Getting opinions on making a good living from writing novels and what it would take.

The key is writing stories that people want to read. I suspect the rest is alchemy.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-05-2014, 09:08 AM
Despite that ridiculous article, there is no "fast-track" to making a living writing. You have to write some books, send them out, and wait. Maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe you won't.

Fictional Cowboy
07-05-2014, 09:34 AM
I'm sorry people are seeing this article as negative. That wasn't my intention. I looked past the obvious media hype of it and took encouragement from it that good things do happen, even for first time authors. I just thought others might too. Have a good night all.

Helix
07-05-2014, 09:59 AM
I don't think it's a matter of positive or negative, but more of being realistic. Everyone's well aware that first time authors sometimes get huge advances, but this happens infrequently enough to make news.

I'd suggest that fixating on getting a massive advance is a creativity-killer. Write the book first. Worry about the income later.

(I'll save the goodnight wishes for later.)

Filigree
07-05-2014, 04:46 PM
The cited articles are also not that current, but I'll run with them. Can I say genre, genre, genre...and timing?

Armentrout managed to fit into the first economically viable themes/structures of the New Adult category. A genre which is still undergoing a lot of change.

Meyer benefited from a YA audience hungry for wish-fulfilling, self-insertion fantasies, and a paranormal romance genre already revved up by adult writers like Sherilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris (and all the other vampire and werewolf writers whose names I forget at the moment.)

By contrast, Ellery Adams was writing cozy mysteries. In 2011, I recall more than a few agents who were dialing back on acquiring new cozy mysteries. I doubt it's much changed now. Not to say that cozies are a dying genre, or don't still have an audience. Just not as much of an overall market share. Don't expect to write a new one now and easily make Patterson-levels in royalties.

Cowboy, I share your interest in the behind-the-scenes workings of the publishing industry. However, it's really easy to wander into useless speculation and superstition, which funnels our efforts into areas that might not benefit our writing careers.

Most authors dream about catching a trend early enough to make it really profitable. It's not impossible. The key elements are timing and readable/engaging books.

For example, I'm one of the few readers who can't stand the writing in either 'The Hunger Games' or 'Twilight'. But I know they fit a very receptive audience at the right time. Very few of us ground-floor authors have the market knowledge to spot or influence trends. By the time latecomers were chasing vampire YA romances or YA dystopias, those genres were already saturated.

But what we CAN do: write the best books we're capable of, and try to pay attention to potential matching breakout themes in the industry.

Melville
07-05-2014, 06:14 PM
The Forbes article is a lot like those articles highlighting lottery winners. Can you too win the lottery?! Yes! Just buy a winning ticket!

The reason this article was published was because authors making big money is rare.

However, it did say two things that are dead on:

Write what you want to write.
Write a lot.

That's the key to success. If you try to follow trends, you'll be months, if not years, behind. If you try and anticipate trends, you're better off buying a lottery ticket.

Just write what you want to write and write a lot. That's all that's in your control and thinking about anything beyond that is just fantasy and self-distraction.

Filigree
07-05-2014, 06:41 PM
This, +1 for relevance.

Because I can almost guarantee that even in glutted genres, a really well-written cozy mystery, vampire romance, or YA dystopia *that offers a fresh perspective* will get noticed.

Fictional Cowboy
07-06-2014, 01:57 AM
I sincerely appreciate and respect every personís thoughts in this thread. Hand on heart, I do. But, Iím confused. Please know this post is absolutely not a dig or an admonishment to anyone who posted in this thread! I find value in, and learn from, every post. Guaranteed. Everyone's opinions are as valid as mine or anyone else's. What follows is my own thought process on why I started this thread and how it's progressed.

I assumed (my mistake) folks would understand that I wasn't endorsing every single word of this article. Only on what happened for this author and how she accomplished it. (I'll remember to clarify such things in future posts. It used to be commonly understood but, in this day of political correctness, it seems we have to clarify everything with disclaimers. Message received.)


She worked hard and wrote a lot.
She was especially savvy in how she pursued her success.
We received some insight into what she did and how it paid off.

That was the point of posting the article. Aren't we all used to having to filter through media sensationalism every day just to get to the facts? After all, theyíre trying to lure people in with hooks, too. Ask any freelance and magazine article writers here.

Folks here have wisely commented that we,


Shouldn't get fixated on income.
We all know great successes happen, albeit rarely.
Just concentrate on writing the best book we can.
Stay grounded and be realistic.
Most writers wonít experience this level of success.

This is good information we all need to remember and heed, I agree. This advice also permeates AW like a flood. We already know these things too, but are constantly being reminded of them. So, whatís wrong with being reminded of the good things, too? I didn't read any positive or encouraging comments about this article. Only the negative and cautionary side of it. Why are folks so quick to jump on those parts?

I was taught that how we view other people's successes, whatever they are, says more about our own character than anything else. I wanted to share the article because all over AW I see people who are unhappy, discouraged and feeling hopeless. My hope was that by posting things that have encouraged me, someone else might also be encouraged.

I assure everyone that I am writing. I quit a good paying job to work at home, barely making ends meet, as an investment in my writing. But I get to write for many hours a day now! I even enjoy it! Articles like this one push me towards excellence! They help me stay focused and excited! They drive my creativity, they don't pressure me, depress me or stifle me.

I also assure everyone that I'm not obsessed or fixated on income. I came across the article as I was researching how the publishing industry works and what I can hope to make from my novels. It wasn't a fixation, but an education. I would never take any job and disregard what it pays until I receive my first paycheck. That's crazy talk!

Iím also realistic (as evidenced in post #2). I know this isn't going to be every writer's experience. If I focused solely on "being realistic," I would have to say that most of the people who participate on AW are never going to be published at all. That's just a fact. I understand that. But that's not my focus. Why would it be? Awareness is good. But it's what we focus on that matters.

I also choose to dream without boundaries. If I didn't, I never would have accomplished the incredible things that I have in my life.

I choose to stay encouraged and encourage others whenever possible. If itís naive to be encouraged by someone elseís success and seeing whatís still possible in an ever-changing industry, then Iím glad to be naive. I know about the cautions and I am realistic about how this industry works. (Why the assumptions that I'm not?) But I also believe in myself and what I'm capable of.

I choose to have hope and focus on the positive. I'm happy for this woman's success and found it encouraging. If you aren't, that's your prerogative... and your choice.

chompers
07-06-2014, 02:24 AM
Well, I don't think being realistic means you're being negative. To me it's neutral. It is what it is. You take it how you want to. For some it'll push them to be one of the ones that does make it. For others it makes them give up. How it's interpreted is up to the individual.

Melville
07-06-2014, 02:32 AM
I think you're confused. Just because you start a general information thread (as opposed to a specific question thread) doesn't mean that every response is all about YOU, YOU, YOU.

People here gave some great advice, grounded in reality. It doesn't mean their character is somehow deficient because they don't leap up and become cheerleaders for those-facing-impossible odds.

It's ALWAYS better to be a robust dreamer and an unflagging optimist when writing... just as it's ALWAYS better to be a realist when approaching the business of publishing. Doing solely the opposite is a recipe for profound discouragement at best, complete failure at worst.

Anyway, sorry to drop into a thread that's all about you.






I sincerely appreciate and respect every personís thoughts in this thread. Hand on heart, I do. But, Iím confused. Please know this post is absolutely not a dig or an admonishment to anyone who posted in this thread! I find value in, and learn from, every post. Guaranteed. Everyone's opinions are as valid as mine or anyone else's. What follows is my own thought process on why I started this thread and how it's progressed.

I assumed (my mistake) folks would understand that I wasn't endorsing every single word of this article. Only on what happened for this author and how she accomplished it. (I'll remember to clarify such things in future posts. It used to be commonly understood but, in this day of political correctness, it seems we have to clarify everything with disclaimers. Message received.)



She worked hard and wrote a lot.
She was especially savvy in how she pursued her success.
We received some insight into what she did and how it paid off.

That was the point of posting the article. Aren't we all used to having to filter through media sensationalism every day just to get to the facts? After all, theyíre trying to lure people in with hooks, too. Ask any freelance and magazine article writers here.

Folks here have wisely commented that we,


Shouldn't get fixated on income.
We all know great successes happen, albeit rarely.
Just concentrate on writing the best book we can.
Stay grounded and be realistic.
Most writers wonít experience this level of success.

This is good information we all need to remember and heed, I agree. This advice also permeates AW like a flood. We already know these things too, but are constantly being reminded of them. So, whatís wrong with being reminded of the good things, too? I didn't read any positive or encouraging comments about this article. Only the negative and cautionary side of it. Why are folks so quick to jump on those parts?

I was taught that how we view other people's successes, whatever they are, says more about our own character than anything else. I wanted to share the article because all over AW I see people who are unhappy, discouraged and feeling hopeless. My hope was that by posting things that have encouraged me, someone else might also be encouraged.

I assure everyone that I am writing. I quit a good paying job to work at home, barely making ends meet, as an investment in my writing. But I get to write for many hours a day now! I even enjoy it! Articles like this one push me towards excellence! They help me stay focused and excited! They drive my creativity, they don't pressure me, depress me or stifle me.

I also assure everyone that I'm not obsessed or fixated on income. I came across the article as I was researching how the publishing industry works and what I can hope to make from my novels. It wasn't a fixation, but an education. I would never take any job and disregard what it pays until I receive my first paycheck. That's crazy talk!

Iím also realistic (as evidenced in post #2). I know this isn't going to be every writer's experience. If I focused solely on "being realistic," I would have to say that most of the people who participate on AW are never going to be published at all. That's just a fact. I understand that. But that's not my focus. Why would it be? Awareness is good. But it's what we focus on that matters.

I also choose to dream without boundaries. If I didn't, I never would have accomplished the incredible things that I have in my life.

I choose to stay encouraged and encourage others whenever possible. If itís naive to be encouraged by someone elseís success and seeing whatís still possible in an ever-changing industry, then Iím glad to be naive. I know about the cautions and I am realistic about how this industry works. (Why the assumptions that I'm not?) But I also believe in myself and what I'm capable of.

I choose to have hope and focus on the positive. I'm happy for this woman's success and found it encouraging. If you aren't, that's your prerogative... and your choice.

Fictional Cowboy
07-06-2014, 03:18 AM
Well, I don't think being realistic means you're being negative. To me it's neutral. It is what it is. You take it how you want to. For some it'll push them to be one of the ones that does make it. For others it makes them give up. How it's interpreted is up to the individual.

I agree. But is acknowledging the good stuff so difficult? Forgive me for my boldness and honesty, but the responses in this thread, at least to me, come across as water thrown on a spark of encouragement.

Advice and cautions on AW are quick to fly. It's like getting some good news but having everyone say, "Yes, but..." and ignoring the good news. It's like a kid graduating and receiving an invitation to their celebration but, instead, all you do is tell them what to be careful of and how most people don't get to do what they love. You just tell them what to make sure they do and don't do. Where's the joy? Where's the encouragement?

Yes, we all know these great successes don't happen often but we all also know all of these cautions and advice because AW is flooded with them over and over again.

Why not just take a post for what it is? What happened to responses like, "Wow, that's great for this author. I hope my timing is as good as hers! It sure doesn't happen often enough but it's nice to see that it does still happen from time to time. The way she marketed and promoted herself was pretty smart. Something else I heard that another author did was...." See the difference? It's staying realistic but being positive.

My intention isn't to put anyone down. I'm just pointing out the tendency towards the lack of positivity today.

I hope folks also see that, while I assumed folks would understand my intentions for this post, assumptions about what I know and don't know have also been inferred. "Just write." "Don't fixate." "This is rare." I know nobody was trying to be mean or rude. I'm not saying anyone was. As others were simply trying to make a point about the article I posted, I'm trying to make a point as to how those replies came across.

If you posted something you thought was positive and encouraging and others just pointed out how it was wrong, faulty or unlikely, how would you feel? The facts of the article are still true and they really happened. I found it encouraging. If some folks didn't, I completely understand. But why throw water on someone else's fire?

Kylabelle
07-06-2014, 03:19 AM
I sincerely appreciate and respect every personís thoughts in this thread. Hand on heart, I do. But, Iím confused. Please know this post is absolutely not a dig or an admonishment to anyone who posted in this thread! I find value in, and learn from, every post. Guaranteed. Everyone's opinions are as valid as mine or anyone else's. What follows is my own thought process on why I started this thread and how it's progressed.

I assumed (my mistake) folks would understand that I wasn't endorsing every single word of this article. Only on what happened for this author and how she accomplished it. (I'll remember to clarify such things in future posts. It used to be commonly understood but, in this day of political correctness, it seems we have to clarify everything with disclaimers. Message received.)


She worked hard and wrote a lot.
She was especially savvy in how she pursued her success.
We received some insight into what she did and how it paid off.

That was the point of posting the article. Aren't we all used to having to filter through media sensationalism every day just to get to the facts? After all, theyíre trying to lure people in with hooks, too. Ask any freelance and magazine article writers here.

Folks here have wisely commented that we,


Shouldn't get fixated on income.
We all know great successes happen, albeit rarely.
Just concentrate on writing the best book we can.
Stay grounded and be realistic.
Most writers wonít experience this level of success.

This is good information we all need to remember and heed, I agree. This advice also permeates AW like a flood. We already know these things too, but are constantly being reminded of them. So, whatís wrong with being reminded of the good things, too? I didn't read any positive or encouraging comments about this article. Only the negative and cautionary side of it. Why are folks so quick to jump on those parts?

I was taught that how we view other people's successes, whatever they are, says more about our own character than anything else. I wanted to share the article because all over AW I see people who are unhappy, discouraged and feeling hopeless. My hope was that by posting things that have encouraged me, someone else might also be encouraged.

I assure everyone that I am writing. I quit a good paying job to work at home, barely making ends meet, as an investment in my writing. But I get to write for many hours a day now! I even enjoy it! Articles like this one push me towards excellence! They help me stay focused and excited! They drive my creativity, they don't pressure me, depress me or stifle me.

I also assure everyone that I'm not obsessed or fixated on income. I came across the article as I was researching how the publishing industry works and what I can hope to make from my novels. It wasn't a fixation, but an education. I would never take any job and disregard what it pays until I receive my first paycheck. That's crazy talk!

Iím also realistic (as evidenced in post #2). I know this isn't going to be every writer's experience. If I focused solely on "being realistic," I would have to say that most of the people who participate on AW are never going to be published at all. That's just a fact. I understand that. But that's not my focus. Why would it be? Awareness is good. But it's what we focus on that matters.

I also choose to dream without boundaries. If I didn't, I never would have accomplished the incredible things that I have in my life.

I choose to stay encouraged and encourage others whenever possible. If itís naive to be encouraged by someone elseís success and seeing whatís still possible in an ever-changing industry, then Iím glad to be naive. I know about the cautions and I am realistic about how this industry works. (Why the assumptions that I'm not?) But I also believe in myself and what I'm capable of.

I choose to have hope and focus on the positive. I'm happy for this woman's success and found it encouraging. If you aren't, that's your prerogative... and your choice.

I have the sense you're seeing AW in general, and the responses to your thread here and the articles you posted, from a unique point of view. Which is fine but it is causing you to make some inaccurate assessments. Characterizing the members of AW as predominately hopeless, discouraged, and full of negative mood tells me you're either looking in the wrong places or you are seriously misinterpreting what you're seeing.

In any case, and even if you were correct in your assessment, you've received honest responses to what you offered here, and I'd suggest you take those as good natured, good willed communications, rather than arguing about the motives of the participants.

People are for the most part saying they aren't interested in these articles, nor do they find them especially worthwhile to consider. That is not a slur on you, nor is it something you need to either try to fix or argue with.

They are honest responses that have been respectful of your right to believe and act as you choose. Please be similarly respectful and let others' opinions be, even if you don't agree with them.

I'm going to close this thread at this point; if anyone would like to give me some good reasons to reopen it, send me a PM and I'll consider what you have to say.