How to make money with your writing? Don’t try to make money with your writing!
Agreed, there are some authors that sit down to write, deliberately, their “next hit”. What differentiates you from all those other writers out there is… your stories, your thoughts, your style – put them to paper! You will need to allow the flow of words to come out, your ideas. Be your own most critical editor. Read your texts as if you are a stranger: would you buy this book? Would you actually read it, if someone gave it as a present?
When I started writing as a boy, I used to re-read my own texts weeks later, and most I tore up in frustration. I hated my own words. My style sucked. I was too young and impatient to write long sentences, writing a single page took me hours. As a result, I tried to cram too much action onto a single page, and that made for very bad writing. Other sentences were full with beautiful words, that I had read in other books. The words weren’t my own. I lacked experience. As a young boy or teenager, your life may be overflowing with experiences, but in reality, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. As an adult, you have seen it all, and your mind is filled to the brim with memories. The only thing that you need to do is to knit these memories into a story. That doesn’t mean that good authors do not copy: but not from authors, instead from the life that they have lived and the people that they have met. I am not implying that young people shouldn’t write or that they can’t be good authors – experience helps create a great story – and so does practice.
Writing then and now
Book publishing was always a stressful business. In the past, a typical author sat down with a stack of paper, and wrote an initial manuscript (sometimes by hand). This was passes on to a publisher, who would accept or decline the book. A contract covering the royalties would be signed. A typist would turn a handwritten manuscript into a printable text. The book would be published, and with each edition, typos and errors would be removed, based on feedback from the readers. An author was a literary craftsperson, a rare species, focused on getting compelling stories to paper.
Nowadays, anybody can be an author. If you have a laptop, you can create a story within weeks (even days), and in the space of half an hour, you can switch the book live at an internet publishing house, and your novel is automatically pushed out to half a dozen types of devices. There is virtually no interaction with the publisher, royalties and taxes are dealt with by ticking a couple of checkboxes. Today’s author is a cowboy with a laptop, one amongst many, and focused on getting a story out, fast. This is also reflected by the publishing houses: Smashwords specializes in publication of eBooks. Ironically their homepage dominantly states: “Words Published: 16,867,232,325″ – obviously, it isn’t QUALITY that counts, but QUANTITY.
As an author you have one option in this publishing madness: create the books that you believe in. Don’t enter this market with the illusion to get rich – most authors die poor. That hasn’t changed.
More about the books by Clemens P. Suter https://clemenssuter.com/books