What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer

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In the good old bad old days, wrongly or rightly, writers were shielded by their agents and publishers from their reading public to maintain an air of mystery, and to shield them from the more repugnant elements of society, among other things. These days since the internet became reality, it has become a necessary tool for all writers to be able to let their readers get to know them.

Even so, as a writer you need to be cautious. There are a few drawbacks. The  spread of internet trolls, armchair critics and pedants springs to mind. But, always providing the writer doesn’t engage with them, they remain where they belong, lurking in the darkest recesses of the internet fora. With the way the review system operates on a lot of book sites these days, they do their darnedest to put people off buying books written by every writer they hate. Usually their stupidity, bile and invective has the complete reverse effect. Some foolishly think that they will be able to get at any writer who maintains a blog by offering a less than civil comment. If you are a member of one of the three groups mentioned above, know that your comment will never see the light of day…

The time has long since gone when serious writers simply wrote books. Contrary to popular belief, being a writer is not only a lonely existance, but also unless you are one of the fortunate few, the amount of money we receive in royalties is minute to say the least. Any serious writer who makes £12,000 per annum, or more, is doing well. Most mid-listers make far less; new writers, practically zero.

Nowadays, we spend a lot of time either with our own webpages where we advertise our wares, or as in my case (and that of many other writers) we operate a blog like this one, contributing to it on a daily basis. Let’s face it, people are curious about us. They want to know everything about their favourite author(s). Once again there is danger involved in maintaining any form of public forum. How much do you reveal about yourselves? Short answer – think before you type. There are people out there who will think nothing of revealing your innermost secrets to the world in an attempt to turn potential readers away from your work. After all, like everyone else, we are human beings with the same character flaws, hates, foibles, desires, regrets, financial and health problems as anyone else.

Besides writing that novel, the odd short story, and maintaining a blog, we also interact on popular social media sites as well as placing links for our latest novel, novella, anthology and blog posts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc, etc. Participating in all of these activities has become an absolute necessity since the concept of publishing, and what publishers were prepared to do for their writers changed for the worse from the point of view of the writer a few years ago.

To keep our names in forefront of the reader’s mind we need to ‘self-promote’. The myth that any writer worth their salt does nothing but slave over their latest manuscript is just that – a myth. Some of us attend various book fares, book signings and conventions. Some of us don’t. I am one of the latter, owing to poor health. Besides which, until someone comes up with a way for writers like myself who write purely for the eBook market to digitally sign your copy, I won’t be doing it.

For all writers, being able to meet you when you visit our blogs, like what you’re reading, and become a follower, means everything to us all. As readers, while you might never consider reviewing something of ours on an internet book site, being able to read your comments on our blogs as well as chatting to you on Facebook also means everything to us. Plus, never forget that always providing we post on our blogs and talk to you on Facebook etc, at least you know we’re still breathing.

So, if you are thinking of becoming a serious writer, all it takes is dedication, mental strength, doggedness, and above all, you must become resigned to the fact that you will be living on an income well below what is commonly held up as the ‘poverty’ line. If you are serious about writing, be prepared for the long haul.

One other thing, if you want to know more about me, why not wade your way through the over three thousand posts I have produced to date on this blog?

Post Script

Today’s reader only thinks about one thing – getting a free copy of your book. Even when so many offer their work for a paltry $0.99 in an effort to be read, the vast majority still refuse to buy.

Now is the time to put them to shame. If we were to charge the reading public the true price of a book based on the number of hours we spend writing, editing and perfecting the manuscript, the cost would be astronomical. Most books take several months to complete.

If I charged a penny per hour for a book that took me say six months to complete for publication, the purchase price would be £43.80 per copy.

So stop whining about a book being priced at £/$0.99 or £/$2.99, when you think it should be free, and support its author! Of course you could join those who constantly tell authors they like the sound of their book(s) and will add them to their TBR list (to be read). Which of course they seldom if ever do. Personally I prefer my own approach – ignore the one, two and three star hate reviews. Or worse, the spoiler variety. First I read the book’s hook. Then I browse a few pages. If I like it I actually buy a copy. Now there’s a novelty…

😉

45 thoughts on “What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer

  1. I am grateful that, in addition to my writing I have a full time job. The income from my job is what pays the bills and enables me to have a social life. I love writing but, as you point out very few of us are going to become mega rich. Kevin

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    • Thanks for the comment Kevin. I’m a mid-lister which means that most years I’m lucky to break through the £2,000 barrier. Fortunately I am surviving on my old age pension. So whatever I make in royalties goes towards topping it up. 🙂

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  2. Well I am at the furthest end of the scale and making next to nothing from my writing lol! I’m still a newbie, think I always will be! But I love what I’m doing, and the people I have ‘met’… it’s fun and very rewarding in other ways, rather than financial. I’m in it for the long haul though, and hope that in the future, with more books under my belt, that I will have earned some success.

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  3. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    Want to be a serious writer in today’s rapidly changing world? Not as easy as you think, but immensely rewarding as well in ways you can’t imagine…here’s Jack Eason on what it takes to get serious…thank you Story Reading Ape!

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  4. “…to shield them from the more repugnant elements of society..”

    Hey, I resemble that remark! Just kidding.

    ” …the review system operates on a lot of book sites these days, they do their darnedest to put people off buying books written by every writer they hate…”

    Times have really changed, because these days I tend to not read things that have gotten good reviews or show up on best seller lists. Often it’s that controversy that draws me in to take a second look. Nothing intrigues me more than being told I shouldn’t read something because the author is a horrible, no good, very bad person.

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  5. Pingback: What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer — Have We Had Help? – poetry, photos and musings oh my!

  6. Thank you, Jack. Well written and true… I am a ‘serious writer’ with a love of humour but I certainly don’t live off my earnings. What earnings?! Fortunately, I’m retired with a small pension and some savings .You may even have heard the gnashing of my teeth over the years as I am familiar with ‘mainstream publishers’ (was commissioned -moi?! – to write two books for an established company in 1984). What followed was sheer joy: an advance (?) payment on publication (?) and regular royalties which continued for a FEW YEARS. Plus small library payments. One book (both modest) was reprinted. My eldest son (an artist) was allowed to design the cover of one. In love with words, I wrote much poetry and many short stories over the following years (several published) BUT the publishing world was a changing…Fast forward to the 2000s. A jerk with technology (I push when a door states PULL…) i am left to flounder, with one son’s help and some tuition… in this ‘fabulous?! digital world.’ I just want to write!! Somehow or other,with the help of good friends, I’ve managed to have five more books published but it’s hard work ‘networking’ and keeping my name and books ‘out there.’ I genuinely like interacting with people, who I find endlessly fascinating, (well most!) but can”t even afford a weekend in Bognor or Benidorm! PS I also post on my blog when I have time and am writing another book. https://joylennick.wordpress.com/ If anyone is remotely interested, my latest slim volume of humorous poems and jokes was published with my husband Eric: THE MOON IS WEARING A TUTU (Amazon & Kindle). Perfect for Christmas presents! Cheers. x!

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  7. Jack, guess I’m half a serious writer, I have half a life. True, in retirement I have free days to write. However, family, even far away, take up time. Thank God I don’t need to be rich or famous when the “first book” is finished & published. It’s a family legacy story, part real, part fiction. The family intrigued by how the fiction parts fit. Your post so true to form! You tell it like it is, and us newbie writers need to know the rocky road serious writers walk!! Credit & good thoughts go to you!!📚🎶 Christine’s

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