Today is the easiest time for burgeoning authors to get noticed. Large publishing companies don’t hold control of the market and the internet makes it possible to publish a work in digital form. However, writing for a living will require more than just hard work and talent. You’ll also need a bit of business acumen.
Know Your Market
Don’t just write for yourself. Books get sold because people are interested in them, and your interests might not align with everybody else’s. Authors like J.R.R Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen King, and Agatha Christie captured the minds of readers in their time. However, today’s readers are different from the ones of old. Millennials and Gen Z grew up with phones in their hands and cartoons on their television screens.
Tolkien’s Silmarillion won’t hold their attention, more so Clarke’s long expositions. Hence, the proliferation of young adult novels. Unless you’re writing for a specific niche (which limits your audience), you’re better off writing for kids and teens. Everyone knows about Harry Potter. However, the more serious A Song of Fire and Ice was published at roughly the same time.
George R.R. Martin didn’t have the same success as J.K. Rowling, with his book only getting widespread notice after it was turned into an HBO series (Game of Thrones). If you’re a great writer, perhaps you can write however you wish. If you’re not so great, then hone your skills with young adult novels.
Write Like You’re Working
Treat writing a book as a regular job. That means working on your keyboard for 8-10 hours a day. Create your outline in your spare time and then pound those keys like a cog in the machine. Work in a proper desk and time your breaks as if you were at the office. Even if you type at a rate of 20wpm, you should be churning out 1,000 words per hour. An average chapter in a book is about 5,000 words, so you’ll be writing more than that if you keep the pace.
You will hit roadblocks, but taking time off will dull your skills and your motivation. Like Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners, Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive), switch to a new book when you hit a wall. A fresh new world will get your creativity flowing and you won’t be wasting a ton of downtime. Set goals and try to meet them. With or without an editor, try to keep a schedule. Otherwise, your productivity will drop. Note that if you can’t write constantly for a month, it might not be the time to write that book.
There are so many avenues to get your work to the public. Write your novel piecemeal online and get Patreons to fund your writing. It would motivate you to write constantly, but you’ll need to get your work noticed. Done with your book? Amazon will publish it in PDF form and sell it for you. Once it hits big, you can even contact self-publishing companies to get hard copies of your work.
Anyone can be an author, but making money requires a lot of effort and discipline. Treat writing as you would a real job and you could be reaping the fruits of your labors in just a few months.