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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Should You Be An Author?: 5 Ways to Find Out, part 2

     Today, we're continuing with the quiz I started two days ago, asking what type of writing you should go into. Here are the five publishing options.
        To read part one and look at the first two questions in the quiz, go here.

1. Traditional Publishing
2. Small Press
3. Self-publishing
4. Magazine Articles and Short Story Publication
5. Blogging and Blogposts
Question #3: How Many Books Do You Have in You?

      Is this book you're working on the one story you must tell and then you'll never write another book? Or do you have dozens of ideas for books? I met plenty of one-book writers at my writing conference. Many were older women who wanted to tell their children and grandchildren the story of their or their parents' lives.
            If this is you, self-publishing copies to give to family and friends is probably the way to go. Memoirs, unless they're of JFK or Madonna, don't really sell well. And since this is a personal venture for you, chances are you're not going to want to chop and change it to fit the standards of what a publisher says is selling these days. Don't waste years querying agents and publishers if your main goal is to see your one story in print. Just click upload on Amazon's Createspace and voila you have your book.

 Question #4: Are You Looking for Income?

            I spoke with one young woman who said she wanted to work on her writing skills so she could make some money. She's in for disappointment. Even if you do end up on the NYT bestseller list and make a boatload of money, the waiting period beforehand will be long. Don't go into book writing because you need a paycheck next month.
            Most of the highly successful authors I met at the writing conference who had dozens of books out with big publishing firms, still said their primary income came from a different source. One did professional editing, the other had a husband who was the main wage earner and didn't primarily rely on her income.
            Engineering, nursing, teaching, pretty much any other career is more lucrative than writing. If the attraction of writing income is as a secondary rather than primary income, (perhaps you're a stay-at-home mom and would like to make some extra income during naptime), there are still better ways. For example, teaching piano lessons from your home, selling baby bibs or handmade cards, or grading papers for online homeschool co-ops all make a ton more money than novel writing.
            If you are looking to combine writing and income, blogging and article writing are better bets than novels. Unfortunately, magazine writing isn't as lucrative as it used to be since more and more magazines are giving away content for free online. But if you have a good blog, you can monetize it. And places like connect you with companies who will pay you to review their products. Still, we're talking pennies not thousands.


#5: How Good Are You At Marketing Yourself?

      If you're good at marketing, you can make a mediocre book sell. If you're lousy at marketing, even the best-written book may flounder. Traditional publishers are pushing harder and harder for their authors to have a "platform" i.e. be able to market their books to thousands. Personally, I think publishers' new motto is "It's easier to teach a marketer how to write, than to teach a writer how to market."
      If you're an awesome marketer with connections to thousands of people, self-publishing may work incredibly well for you. Blogging could also bring in money. If you're not a good marketer, either stick to places that will market your writing for you like magazines or traditional publishers, or take a good honest look at how into this writing dream of yours you are. Because even a traditional publisher is going to insist that you market yourself. Once you're a NYT bestseller, than the publishers will spend marketing dollars on you. But before that, you're expected to make your own books sell.

So after taking this quiz, (you can take part 1 of the quiz here), where do you think you fit in the five publishing options?