How to Quit Your Job and Make Millions as an Indie Author

Because it’s just that simple.

I’ve seen too many articles like this. Stories with titles exactly like or very close to that, who talk about having a spark of inspiration, deciding to leave everything behind and write a book. Inevitably they poke out something that looks like a book, feed it to a few agents, half of which grab it instantly, and they’re launched on their way to fame and fortune and move off to Tahiti or something happily ever after. (It is a magical place, after all.)

Pardon the language, but these stories piss me off.

It’s not that simple. It’s not like you can just bash at a keyboard like a trained monkey and produce something amazing just on a whim. If you look into these stories a bit more, the people writing them often have years if not decades of experience doing grant writing or some other kind of professional/non-creative writing, and as such, have knowledge and know-how that the average citizen does not. But the story is written in such a way that it leads people to believe that you can just throw everything away, walk this way, and everything will be right.

I’m sorry, but the publishing world isn’t like being called to be a disciple of Christ.

If it was, I’d be rich and famous by now.

I lost my day job back at the end of February. At the end of this month or the next, I will run out of unemployment benefits, and I have no idea what I’m going to do after that if I don’t find a job. I’ve been writing and looking for jobs and hoping to find a way into freelance work. The articles on that are a joke as well. “Here, look at this website!” The trouble with a lot of the websites that I’ve found is that either they need you to be an expert in areas I simply don’t know, or they pay less than or close to a cent a word, and only want 200-300 words per article. Even if I picked every article I could even hopefully write about, I’d never make a living wage on that.

I’ve also heard in theory about being able to monetize your blog, but again, I can’t find anyone telling meĀ how to do that. Or, perhaps more reasonably and still not in the necessary time frame, I see lots of places saying that you can make money with them, but it may take upwards of 2 years in order to make that happen. And while that might be good in the long run, it’s not going to help me pay the bills come September and it’s not what the people in the articles are claiming.

I’ve pitched my novel. I have a folder of email of rejections. I’ve sent out short stories. I’ve been published once for a token payment. My lack of payment isn’t for lack of trying. I desperately want to make a living with my writing, and I just can’t figure out how to do it–and no one’s talking who’s done it.

So save me your “I quit my job and now I’m making so much money as an author!” posts. It’s false advertising at best and outright lying at worst. I lost my job and all too soon, I’m going to be the starving artist who can’t pay their bills. When someone can write me a blog post that actually talks about how to make your way in the world as a writer, then I’ll read them and see what I can do. But the ones who want to make it look flashy and simple just make me frustrated.

Because not only is it usually not that simple, it just shows me what I’m still falling short of.


2 thoughts on “How to Quit Your Job and Make Millions as an Indie Author

  1. Winning the lottery is “simple,” but most people don’t make it. When I hear those stories of someone selling a One Direction fanfic for a six-figure advance, I have to stop and remind myself, that person got lucky and won the lottery. It won’t happen like that for most of us. The rest of us have to keep doing what you’re already doing–working our butts off and hoping it eventually pays. Chuck Wendig has some real blog posts on how he makes a living as a writer. I’d suggest checking with him, though his tale wasn’t easy or quick, and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s not making millions.

  2. have you checked out any of MCA Hogarth’s blog posts/business webcomic/business ebooks? She discusses the business side of being an author (and artist) quite openly, and a lot of the content is free to read (except that ebook about running a kickstarter). I’m not sure who else does it so consistently. Karen Wehrstein will occasionally drop a comment on the subject on her site, and I know she does quite a bit of nonfiction freelance in addition to going the trad-now-indie published route, if you want someone else to ask questions of.

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