I'll don't want to be a full time author and here's the reason why


This is a depressing situation.

I know I have only one novel with a second one to come out soon. I even created a Wattpad account and blogs just to host some of my stories.

Still, they don’t do too well. I mean, they’re still new but I hate it takes time to get noticed. I’m forced to work a stupid day job while I write my stuff. I can’t help but sob my eyes out.


Frustrating, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, MOST writers are not full-time writers – even those who make the bestseller lists and have a ton of titles out. Many of those who are, are supported by their spouses, rather than their writing. Only a small percentage of those who publish are able to support themselves with their writing income.

Self publishing is increasing the number, but only among those who are producing professional content at a fairly high rate. It generally takes many books to see a steady income – and even that isn’t guaranteed. It’s not just about your stories, but also about how well you target your ideal audience and get the book in front of them.


You just need to keep hammering away and refining your craft. Read and read all you can. Learn the art of good prose, cadence and structure. You’ll get there. We all start out somewhere.


Think of it this way. You are in good company ;-). MOST authors don’t earn a living from their books. The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing. If the writing is a joy, it becomes its own reward…then…if you one day find financial success, it’s the cherry to the cake you’ve had for years.


It really is, and it’s great to see how far its come and how much potential still exists. My first self-published title was in 2009, and I barely sold 40 - 50 copies a month. Now there are indies selling thousands a week.


Welcome to my world. Except it’s the reverse: I used to write full time while on disability or Social Security between jobs (which is a little bizarre seeing how you’re supposed to work first then collect and then spend the next 6-10 months in a fruitless job search), but now it’s like…I need to work full time and spend my weekends (if I feel like it) writing–while trying to get something going with my upcoming book releases this month and next.

Party time!



I’ve actually never wanted to be a full-time author. Making money out of writing hasn’t ever been a priority to me, since I primarily wanted a hobby. Receiving feedback and attention (OHO?) is more gratifying, imo, that’s why I feel fulfilled by being an online writer and a contribution-based columnist

That being said, I did end up in a corporate job that pays the bills D:


This is the world you, me, and everyone lives in. I want to tell you a trick that might help you feel better.

So What?

I was like you, feeling down because I can’t become an best selling author. I learn the hard from a teacher in college.

So What?

Wattpad exist. You can print out your work and give them to people you know and don’t know to spread the joy and wonder of your books.


Just revel in the fact that COMPLETE STRANGERS out there are reading and enjoying your story!!! If it’s good, people will notice! And for now, just think of how cool it is that other people can now see and enjoy the world that you’ve created. Just hone your craft and keep on writing :slight_smile:


What launch strategy did you have around your debut to get it noticed? There are over 5 million books on Amazon, if you don’t drive readers to your book it is highly unlikely to get noticed.

If you want writing to produce a full time income then you need to treat it like a business - so what is your business plan? Do you have both a short term and long term plan? How many books will you release over the next 5 years? What is your marketing plan around each launch? How are you building and engaging your newsletter list? Are you Amazon exclusive or wide - as they require quite different strategies. What marketing/advertising activities do you undertake each month?

It goes without saying that all of the above assumes you have the basics of craft down (ie: you know how to tell a compelling story that fulfils readers expectations for that genre) and that you have the start up budget to produce a polished, professional product that sits easily next to trad published books.


As much as I’d like to quite and just write for a living, I’m in the same boat as you!


This. Truly. Writing --especially self publishing – isn’t “Write, and your readers will find you.” It’s a business, and you have to treat it like one to develop a loyal readership.


Remember also that every author who has managed to make a living off of their writing took time to get there. You aren’t likely to be able to quit your day job after the first book, or even the third. But keep working, keep producing quality content, treat it like a business and learn the market. You can greatly improve your chances. Self-Published means you aren’t just a writer, you are a marketer, a publisher, etc.

I want to be able to make a living off of my writing too, so I understand where you’re coming from. To get anywhere, I realized that I’m going to have to sacrafice a lot now in the hope’s for it to pay off later. It means I have to use a lot of my spare time to write, learn the market, learn about self publishing while I work full time. I have to save my allowance now and tuck it aside. It means working seven hour days then writing another three hours after. It means making connections, learning from others…but this community is a good community. Friendly, encouraging: they’ll give the hard truths sometimes but they are the truths you need. They want you to succeed.

Might I suggest, if this is your passion, to also look at other income sources for writing? If you’re a fast and disciplined writer, ghost writing can be a more guaranteed income to help you along.


For every Tom Hanks, there are thousands of actors who are saying “This is a depressing situation” because they’re waiting tables to pay their bills. Authors are in the same boat.

Do you enjoy writing? If so, keep your day job and write for fun. Then if you’re lucky and have a bestseller, you still may not be a full-time author. You may be a one-and-done. It’s a hard profession to make a full-time living doing it.

The good news is that with self-publishing, if you build a following and write enough novels, you can make a good income doing what you love. If not, it’s a fun hobby.

Now if you don’t love writing and are doing it simply to support yourself, maybe it’s not for you.


Yeah. This is not the business to go into with the expectations of supporting yourself (or even making a decent amount of pocket change).


I know a lot of people like you. Sometimes the “payment” changes the way you approach things and it can decrease the enjoyment. There’s no right or wrong in this. Do what works for you - and enjoy the ride!


Excellent advice!


A good reminder. Writing for fun is all fine and good, but if you want to earn money you have to treat it like a business…which means there are a lot of avenues to learn about…and then you have to execute on that new knowledge.

Yep, if you don’t have that, no amount of marketing is going to help.


95% of writers are in that boat…it’s a big boat :wink: