Professional Writing - How much of that is spent Writing?

So, I’m aware that being a professional writer is WAY more than just sitting at your desk and banging out words. That’s most definitely one of the important bits, but here on Wattpad, and out there off Wattpad, branding is a huge thing. Interacting, reading, etc.

So, to any professional authors (be you WP authors in Paid programs, Stars, etc. or Published/Self-published authors) how much time do you spend networking compared to actually writing?

Is there a balance? How do you manage?


1 Like


1 Like

*lurks *

You might ask in here: I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them


Thank you!


No worries :slight_smile:


Its prob done and over with, but if not, would you mind tagging me so I can go directly to your specific question?

1 Like

I just started it so I’ll tag you

1 Like


Oh wait, this is the thread. Nvm. At the top :slight_smile:


oops lol

1 Like


1 Like

Good question Sara - I’d be interested to see people’s thoughts too :slight_smile:

1 Like

One thing that sticks in my mind from that long thread: Michael’s advice is not to bother with marketing until you have at least three books published, all of traditional publication quality. Then the ratio of marketing to writing should increase. Eventually a split of somewhere between 30-70 and 50-50 might make sense, but I don’t remember if that came from Michael.

The amount of time you spend on the business and marketing aspects of writing will depend on whether you choose traditional or self-publishing or a mix, as Michael did. Either way, the author has to engage in marketing, but more for self-publishing once those three or more books are out. Trad helps with marketing pre-release, and manages the product in such a way that the only book worth marketing is the one just about to be released. With self-publishing, it’s an all-the-time pursuit, because it helps all the books all the time.

The other business aspects of publishing - market research, cover art, blurb, interior design, distribution, print, advert prep if you do that, finances - require little author time for the trad route. After all, the trad-published author has sacrificed most potential future revenue so that the publisher will take care of the effort and risk associated with those things. For the self-published author, they require a lot of work and some outlay of cash. Michael took an innovative approach for print: he raised money for an offset print run through crowdfunding.

For self-pub, the amount of time you spend on business vs. writing will also depend on your product model. If your product is ‘high volume, low quality’, then you probably will benefit from spending the greater part of your time marketing.

If you write high quality at lower volume, but have devoted fans, you’d want to spend more time satisfying them (that is, writing), and let them do more of your marketing for you, by telling their friends, writing glowing reviews, etc. For the aspiring self-publisher who dislikes the idea of marketing, as many do, a sensible path might be to gradually find that style that captures the hearts of a dedicated core audience, build it up, and keep feeding them, while they get the word out. Takes time, talent, engagement, and market sense, of course.

The answers I’ve see across the spectrum of ‘professional’ models ranges from about 90% writing (trad, successful, takes some time to manage brand and socialize at launches, or just starting out), to 95% marketing and production (use fiverr ghost-writers to bang out ripoff self-help books by the dozen). So there’s no one answer.

The above is a a personal distillation of the views and info from others, probably colored by my own opinions. Each must find her or his own path.

1 Like

For me, it’s about a 40:60 split. 40% of my time goes into writing but then much more is focused on promoting, marketing, building my social influence and finding new ways to improve the story. For example, I may spend a few hours designing a new cover or creating a promo shot to advertise the book online. There is also a heavy focus on the revenue for my book as I need to ensure I’m being paid my royalties correctly, managing taxes and finances and distribution of my book from each seller.

However, one of my favourite authors once said he writes for roughly eight hours per day so this will vary depending on how popular your work is (therefore a high/low demand) and if writing is your professional day job or just a hobby.

1 Like

Hm, it’s a precarious balance I would say. It started as a hobby (I’ve been working full time all my life, and only recently i.e during the last year did that really mean only 40 hours. Before, it might have been 50, 60 or way more than that).
With the reduction in hours I can write more and I gain the time to prep marketing plans, write queries, query letters, blubs, bios, network, test fly a review blog, check out advertising etc. I tend to work in blocks i.e. finish a first draft of a novel, work on the marketing plan, start some editing etc. There is a certain overlap but I try not to do all of it at once otherwise my brain freeze dries.
Currently, I prepping the marketing campaign for my first (trad-pubbed) novel, prep to query another one (I need to have something to follow the first novel fairly quickly, my publisher is very slow), keep the Paid Stories ticking along - It’s basically another full-time job.


This is a really perceptive take on self publishing. I know a lot of self published authors who write 8-10k words a day and churn out a book a month or every three weeks. Personally, when I’ve tried their books I’ve found them sub-par, but a lot of readers can accept that level of craft, apparently, because sometimes those books sell. It’s a legitimate business model, though I doubt very many of those books ever ‘stick’ and continuously sell.

I agree with the sentiment, but you never know when a book will pop. I started up a small AMS ad (10 USD a day) for my first book a month after it was released, and this led to the book getting into the top 1500 in Amazon. One of those readers handed my book to another writer, he read it and recommended it and I went on to sell about 30k copies of that book my first year. Obviously, this is an outlier, but it is my personal experience. I do believe that with the current state of the market, it doesn’t really matter how good your book is. If it’s not advertised, it won’t get read. Even a small ad gives you some visibility, moves books (and maybe you’ll get lucky like I did), and primes an audience for when future books drop.