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


Because I don’t want to spend 10+ years writing 10+ books with little to show for it.

If I happen to succeed, great. If not, well, at least I tried.


Both are viable. What determines which path to go depends on the authors (a) goals (b) abilities and © financial situation.

To self-publish correctly there will be expenses for editing and cover design ($350 - $1,200) is a good estimate. But traditional requires no up-front cost from the author. Most (but not all) publishers provide advances so you’ll get money without risking any of your own.

Publishers employee a lot of people to get a book out: editors, cover designers, typographers, book layout designers, ebook formatters, and someone to write the marketing copy, and determine pricing. If you go self-publishing you’ll be responsible for these things. Some you might be able to do, others you might have to hire – which again costs money. But, if you do your research and legwork and the result is a book that has 100% of the quality as a traditional publisher then chances are good you’ll earn more as you get a better income per book.

I should note that “marketing” responsibilities are pretty much the same in both routes.

There are some authors who won’t feel like “real authors” unless they are in the bookstores - nothing wrong with that as a goal, but if that’s the case - traditional is the way to go.

I think it’s important to “enjoy the ride.” If writing is its own reward, then any financial reward you receive is the “icing on the cake.”


I understand your concern, but even if someone “took it” they would have to seriously market it for it to be successful…in which case you would likely learn about it and be able to get it back.

I have written 3.5 novels on Wattpad and I love the continuous feedback I get from readers.


Or find out that after the holidays your hours get cut to pieces because of the hole your store put itself in–to the tune of $5,000,000–buying way too much in the hopes of having it all SOLD by the end of the month with LIMITED SHELF SPACE available, so whatever money you do make won’t be enough to do much of anything but keep the lights on, the internet paid, and your portion of the rent going. Not too mention the cold reality that what you make on minimum wage won’t be enough to advertise effectively at all. Zero in fact. Not if you want to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

(And no, I’m too old at this point to start thinking about taking on two jobs to make ends meet. This one job is kicking my ass as is anyways and I’ve only been on it for almost 2 months now.)

Here’s another dish of cold reality for all you “six-figure” earners in the publishing world: People like me aren’t middle class wage earners. Not by a long shot. My full time job only pays me $13.25 an hour. My mother in law thought I was making $16 an hour and taking home $2600 a month gross, not net. (She thinks I can “save” money on minimum wage. I mean really: Does anyone here knows what “MINIMUM” means??? It means…YOU CAN’T SAVE JACK SHIT ON ANYTHING. Had 20 years to try at every dead end job I held, could never do it. I don’t make enough to save any money.)

My new paycheck for this Thursday will only amount to $925 for 80.51 hours worth of work. When everything is said and done, I’ll have about $8.12 left after all the bills are paid.

So tell me again where all this “magic money” for advertising is supposed to come from based on what I make for my full time job? I’d really like to know–so I won’t have to kill myself working overnights.

A freebie, a hand out, you know…something I can get by with without having to work for it–like some of you do. I mean, who here really has time to worry while working paycheck to paycheck on so little and trying to accomplish something big off the side? I know these three @AWExley and @AlecHutson and @MichaelJSullivan never have to worry about living on fixed income like I do. They probably haven’t had to budget anything in ages because they make too damned much. So my guess is they never had to worry about what the rest of us have to go through just to make it through one single pay period and be paid an x-amount every two weeks by your employer and have to budget that amount in any given month. I just have to wonder how their “pie in the sky” ideas can actually work without really breaking the bank in the process? I mean, come on…$900 isn’t a whole lot of money when you sit down and think about it.

So why do these three believe that miracles can happen on so little effort or even money? Because unless there is a cheap and EFFECTIVE way to advertise on fixed income, I’d like these three to come up with a fucking Power Point presentation and give it to me straight. Because $8.12 left over isn’t much to be bankrolling your next big advertising gig online with. I mean, I could do without the internet, but then I would have no way of getting the word out on my books or paying some of my bills online. I could also do without paying my rent and power bill, but that would mean being evicted, living on the streets, and being homeless for a third time in 17 years and battling PTSD all over again. (Fun times!)

(See, here’s this little thing in life we all like to call PRIORITIES. Meaning after all is said and done and all the bills are paid and rent (or portions of it) is taken care of, ask yourself this: “Do I even have any money left over for myself for advertising?” If I don’t, I can’t. There’s nothing that I can do. I’m stuck. And screwed.)

The rich and wealthy have nothing to worry about, except being poor. That scares the shit out of them for some reason. But poor people like me never have any worries about being rich because it never really entered our orbit to make much of a difference.

So…where does that leave people like me? I don’t see any way of generating sufficient amounts of money to do the minimum in advertising. Because $100 is a lot of money to me. So is $500. And I cannot afford to spend each amount all over again in the vain hopes that I’ll be reaching someone.

(This is also what I like to call “gambling with your money.” Just like the lottery, but it’s advertising. And I’m starting to hate it even more so.)

Oh, and let’s not forget that the cost of living in some parts of the US is already astronomically sky high. (Which makes moving in my case…impossible.)

Guess where I live? The West Coast. Western Washington to be precise. Guess how much the average rent (without Section 8) is? About $1500 for a small one bedroom apartment–depending on where you lived in the Puget Sound area. $1350 for a studio.

My last month’s take home pay was about $1682. For one job. One breadwinner of the household. That’s it.

You do the math.)


Okay. You tagged me in this post, I’m going to do my best to answer the points you brought up, and I’m very confused because nothing I said seems related to anything you’re saying.

So tell me again where all this “magic money” for advertising is supposed to come from based on what I make for my full time job? I’d really like to know–so I won’t have to kill myself working overnights

Well, I can’t make magic money for advertising based on my full time job. That money has to go into the priorities you mentioned: food & housing. That’s why I am doing secondary jobs to get the money to do this. I haven’t taken on a full part-time job, I just get creative and store away little bits here and there. It’s how we saved for our kitten. I baby-sit occasionally, I’ve done tech for events at my church, I’ve helped people with their taxes. Other Ideas are things like dog walking. I also just save any money I get from anyone be it family or friends for birthday’s and Christmas. I haven’t bought any new clothes in years, I’ve gotten my newest clothes handed down to me from friends. I’m working on putting together Writing Journals to try and sell online (which means teaching myself formatting and basic cover design). I’ve considered going to a site like Fiverr and offering super cheap services as a beta reader: it would be a lot of work for not a lot of money, without professional credentials I can’t charge a lot, but it’s something. Plus, reading isn’t hard work, just time. I’m willing to sacrifice my spare time and comfort for this, nobody can give me this money. You don’t have to do this, this is just what I’m doing. I got this idea from the people here in Industry Insiders, they’ve been enormously helpful.

If you don’t have money for advertising, don’t start with paid advertising is what I would suggest. Look for other free forms of advertising: Sending out digital Arc’s for potential reviews, start an email list, get active on social media. Or, just do what you can do and take everything one step at a time, even if it means releasing your book and nothing else. Get the book out there and keep going. Biggest thing is to just work on the next book, and the next one.

A freebie, a hand out, you know… something I can get by with without having to work for it–like some of you do.

There is no freebie hand-out for this, at least none that I’ve found. Even J.K. Rowling still had a tonne of work to do. She had to live paycheck to paycheck, started on welfare. Wrote a book, faced what was it, seventeen rejections? Harry Potter I don’t even think is the first thing she ever wrote, she’s probably got drawers of books that aren’t publishable. She’s rich now, but didn’t start that way. Nobody that I know of anywhere with any measure of success -Wattpad included- got a freebie hand out. They worked, there was some cost involved, if not money, then extraordinary amounts of time. People like Rowling ended up with an extraordinary amount of money for the work they did, compared to others with less, but she still had to do work. Is it fair? I don’t know, probably not, but also not worth me loosing patience and sanity over either. If you do find somebody who has gotten a magic freebie hand out, let me know there name so I can figure out how they got it. Otherwise, I’m going back to teaching myself new skills in publishing and working odd jobs :laughing:

So…where does that leave people like me? I don’t see any way of generating sufficient amounts of money to do the minimum in advertising. Because $100 is a lot of money to me. So is $500. And I cannot afford to spend each amount all over again in the vain hopes that I’ll be reaching someone.

Well, all I can do is share my plan with you, and I can tell you that my plan actually doesn’t involve paid advertising for my first book out. I’m saving all my money for the edits, I’m going to learn to design my own covers, I’m going to do my own formatting to save on costs as much as possible. My covers may suck and I might need to pay someone for better one’s later, but that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to immediately work on getting the second book out before I even look at advertising.

To help the book, I’m going to look for good beta readers to help me improve it so it’s readable to a wider audience. When it’s polished up and ready, I’m going to send out ARC’s (likely digital copies) to people. To find these people, I’m becoming active on different social media, namely Instagram, since my demographic is YA and NA and that’s where my target audience is.

Other things I plan on doing (not in this order):

  1. Writing some books to market- It’s no secret Romance does well on the Indie market, especially adult. I’m not into erotica, or straight Romance, but I think I could write some decent Christian Romantic fiction despite my lack of interest. There’s a huge paying reader base for that type of literature and It’s likely to make me more money then my other niche preferences. I’ll still try and make a book I’m proud of and something I think is well written, but I’m not ashamed to write to market if it has the possibility to get me more money to be able to write the other stuff. I’ll fins an angle to make it interesting to me. I might even try to get a book out traditionally in this category- I’m not likely to earn out my advance or anything, but I could invest that advance back into self publishing.

  2. Learning to write faster- I need to learn to write faster. I don’t have too, but if I write faster, I can improve faster, and the faster I can get books out the better. I’m not saying you have to write fast to be successful, but I think it would greatly benefit me to do this.

  3. Making my own Imprint- Even if it’s for only my own works, I want everything I do under a blanket umbrella, and even take advantage of some of those tax write-offs. (This isn’t a thing successful people have to do, its just something I want to do).

  4. Get a book in a Subscription Box- This is big dream of mine. I’d be basically giving the book away at cost with little to no profit for myself, but the potential for advertising is nice. I’m already compiling lists of boxes that consider indie published books (there aren’t many). This is just a personal dream of mine, not necessarily a “smart” one.

  5. Have an Author website and Imprint website- I’m looking at using Square Space for this, I’ve heard great things about them from other published authors, and they seem a great compromise for cost.

Anyway, that’s just some of my thoughts and plans. It looks different than other people’s plans, mostly because I want different things. Some things will probably end up being mistakes, I might have to change plans, but I think that’s just par for the course. I’m someone starting on the bottom who hopes to one day make a living off of books.Maybe that will be from a combination of things that don’t involve just my own writing, but I’d like that. Heck, I’m not even at the bottom because I’ve already had so much help and learned so much from other people that really, I’m starting this with a leg up. If I got rich that would be awesome, but “beyond my wildest dreams” levels of income would be $30,000 a year.


Since you tagged me, I’ll respond.

First off, I certainly do realize that money is a huge obstacle for many writers when it comes to self-publishing, yourself included. Coming up with a few thousand dollars to give your book a boost in chances can be difficult. I’m sorry for that. Now, that said, here’s a few things to consider:

  1. You can do a lot with a very limited budget, or for no money. Setting up a mailing list is free (I believe you’ve already denigrated mailing lists, but I’d advise that you keep an open mind), twittering and posting about your book is free, entering it into contests like the Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog Off is free, making up a sample or taking a short story and putting it up on Instafreebie to drive interest is free . . . long story short, there are a lot of writers who started out with very limited or no budget for advertising. Many have made it work. You need to search resources like kboards for the threads where authors describe what they did to make it work.

  2. My first few books have done really well. But I was a teacher before I was a writer, and I wasn’t rich. I budgeted around 2000 USD for the creation of my book (formatting / editing / cover, etc), and that was considered a lot among other indies. Many writers put together their book for a quarter of that cost. Now, I believe you’ve stated before that you’ve spent 3k on editing alone. Is that correct? It’s a little surprising to hear you plead abject poverty when you have already spent 5 times as much as you should have on editing alone. Also, I started with advertising running a 10 USD / day Amazon ad. You can spend 1 USD / day if you want. The great thing about cost-per-click advertising is that you can spend whatever you can afford. 100 USD / day. 30 USD /day (this is what I’m spending right now). Or 2 USD / day.


I see that yet again you have hijacked someone else’s thread to trot out the same old tired victim spiel. I’m surprised Wattpad continues to let you get away with it. That aside, since you are repeating the same old thing, let me repeat my same old tired answer… you’re wrong. Again.

We all start from a zero position. We all start with no book income and no followers. While Alec, Micheal and I all took different paths we all did one thing - we all focused on how to get our books published. You on the other hand seem focused on laying on the ground and whining that life’s not fair.

You have been spouting off in these clubs for 4-5 years now about how you are going to self publish and take the world by storm. Here’s another little fact you like to ignore - you started your self publishing journey BEFORE me. You also started self publishing BEFORE Alec. Maybe instead of attacking us, you should be taking a hard look at yourself and asking what have we done differently? I’ll give you a hint - publishing books.

When I started my publishing journey I had no job, no money and no following. I didn’t even have the luxury of a fixed income like you. In the 4-5 years that you have been coming up with excuses and insults and apparently waiting for someone to hand everything to you on a silver platter - I’ve been finding a way around obstacles in my path. I started after you but in a similar situation with no money, but I found a way to do things on a tight budget. I shopped around for inexpensive premades. I had a payment plan with an editor. I did FREE promos to get those first few sales rolling in. I invested royalties back into my business to pay for better covers and advertising with more reach.

So while you started self publishing before me, 4 years later you continue to denigrate, attack and insult me and other authors because we have done what you are too scared to do - we hit publish.


I agree.


Thank you for defending my thread. I really appreciate this.

Back to my topic, it’s true at the present I don’t want to be a full time author. But notice I didn’t say “never.” (This thread is called “I don’t want to be a full time author” not “I’ll never be a full time author.”) Becoming a full time author is a noble goal, but I need to be realistic. Self-publishing is crowded, noisy, and messy. It takes superior works (followed by hopefully TV/movie adaptions) to really make it.

Now if by some miracle I end up as a full time author, great. But as it stands right now, the odds are not so good. I have 10 books planned for my series and if they all fail, then I’m screwed. I can’t spend 10+ years in a squalor hoping to become the next JK Rowling. I need success and I need it NOW (or at least progress).

For that to happen, I need one of 4 things:

  • Invest heavily into marketing. Spend $$$ on ads, social media, whatever.
  • Take my books off the market (aka unpublish), rewrite them from scratch, and give them new titles. Save for an editor and get some beta readers. Hire a high-quality cover designer.
  • Hope for a random celebrity or a famous author to rave about my books.
  • Accept my losses and move on with something else (by getting a real job).


Some people get lucky and have instant success, but more often than not, one has to work hard for success and that can take time. The key is to be patient, and do everything you can to learn the art in the meantime. It is hard to be patient, but it is the key to success.

You are never screwed unless you give up. You never know what book will take off. I didn’t get my first book published until I turned 40, and I have no idea when my next full length novel is going to come out. I have 4 to get out there still.

I’ve only made $250 in my first year, so I’m far from successful, but I’m happy just knowing that people are enjoying my stories.

Why do you feel you’d be screwed if your new series doesn’t become successful?


Anything that comes without hard work doesn’t procure any satisfaction. But, in writing, hard work isn’t enough, it takes some luck. I know what I am talking about, I am a former published writer and poetess … and when I say former, I deeply mean it, because I definitely turned the page of considering writing as a full time job. It was my desire, my dream but not something worth all the sacrifices to me all things considered. With publishers lying to me, strangers threatening me and my royalties stolen, I understood that I owed something better to my readers. They deserve to read my works for free and I deserve to read their feedbacks directly without a publisher, printer, bookseller, reporter … and a herd of unknown individuals to come between us.

It takes one book for an author to become famous. Some writers wrote 50 books yet they remained in the shade, when others wrote one and are world-famous. This is where luck takes over hard work, but is luck sufficient enough to fill your heart with pride and satisfaction when you don’t sweat for your success? This is the question! :thinking:


Simply because it takes time to write them.

Time I don’t have because of my day job.

Then I have to edit, then I read again, then edit again and repeat over and over.

The result of all this effort for my first book: 100 copies sold.


Here’s what really concerns me in what you said about your process… where are your critique partners, alpha/beta readers, professional editors, and proofreader? Please don’t tell me you published a manuscript that never had independent eyes on it, especially not if its a first book. How many books had you written before you decided this was the one to publish?

It takes a lot more to make a book ready for publication that writing it and a couple of self edit rounds. The first few books in particular are usually not fit for publication or they need a lot of work with critique partners to hammer into shape. That’s because it takes time to learn the various elements of the craft like pacing, plotting, characterisation, POV, show vs tell, and finding your voice. That process can take several books before you hit one that will be the one you publish.

The first book I had published was number 6 that I had written. The previous 5 books were the ones that help me learn the basics of the craft and they will never see the light of day. I’m still learning 5 years later, that never stops. I take courses, read non-fiction books and work with developmental editors to spot and fix my weaknesses.

Here’s the thing - there are over 5,000,000 books available on Amazon and getting a book noticed and selling it are HARD WORK. Readers are picky because they are spoilt for choice. They will skim over home made looking covers. They will skip confused sounding blurbs. They will drop a book with craft or grammar errors in the sample or if reviews consistently mention craft issues or lack of editing. You book needs to be as polished and professional as possible. To even have a chance it needs to sit easily next to traditionally published books with high production values. It doesn’t matter if you want to be full time or a part time author, the business side of publishing is the same.


Of course, I had people look at it. I wouldn’t publish if I didn’t had at least one person to look at it.


Umm…I made next to no money the first year and a half of my publishing career. Do you know how we got the money for our copy editor? My wife joined a clinical trial which paid $800 after 6 weeks of testing.
And after my father died when I was 9 years old my mother lived off of veteran benefits and the social security check that came because of me. So, yeah, I know a little something about not having money.

But you are right, I don’t have to worry about cash now. But even though that is the case, do you know how much I spend on marketing? $0. Yep, I don’t run ads or pay for other marketing. My books are my advertising and each time one comes out, the sales of the others rise. In the 10+ years I’ve been published I MIGHT have spent up to $1,200 in marketing (mainly for giveaways) but I did those only after I had the money to spend.

How did I get my books noticed? Sweat-equity. We live in the Internet age and with some elbow grease and a good amount of time, you can introduce your books to readers without paying a dime.

So, yeah, I don’t have to worry about living on a fixed-income now…but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been where you (and others) are now.

  • I never invested heavily in marketing or spent $$$$ on ads
  • Editors, beta readers, and a high-quality cover designer is certainly worth doing.
  • I’ve never had a random celebrity rave about my books
  • I did “move on” (for more than a decade) and when I returned to writing it was on the condition that I wouldn’t publish…thankfully my wife felt differently and made it her mission to get my books “out there.”


That’s amazing! :slight_smile: