Tuesday, June 5

Joe Konrath: Are You Ready To Quit Your Job And Write Full Time?

Isaac Asimov

Joe writes:
Every writer needs to figure out what their goals are, and decide upon the best ways to reach those goals. Quitting your job to write full time is a big risk, with no guarantees. Remember that luck is extremely important. You can write a great book and it could take years to find an audience. It might not find an audience within your lifetime. Betting your entire future on luck may not be a wise way to approach life.
- Guest Post by Jude Hardin
I couldn't agree more.
As I read these words Isaac Asimov came to mind. Asimov, one of my all-time favorite authors, was a professor of biochemistry at Boston University and one of the most prolific writers of all time. Did you know he wrote or edited over 500 books? 500! By the way, that information comes from Asimov's Wikipedia page, which is bursting with interesting facts. For instance, I had no idea he had published books in all 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal System. That's prolific.

Back to Joe.
If you are thinking about writing full time, here are some questions you might ask yourself before telling your boss to go to hell.

Do I Write Quickly? The faster you can write, the better chance you have at making a living. I can comfortably write four novels a year, plus a handful of shorts.

What Is My Financial Situation? You need to understand how much money is required to stay afloat, and when you guess how much your book income will bring in, guess low. Ebooks aren't a steady paycheck. Sales fluctuate. 

Do I Have A Back-Up Plan? Do you have money put aside if things get rough? Would your job take you back six months from now? Do you have an alternate stream of income (spouse, investments)?

What About Insurance? I couldn't afford health insurance the first seven years I was writing full time. I got really lucky my family had no serious health issues. 

Can I Write? Every writer thinks they can write good books. But not every writer actually writes good books. Obviously, some people are deluding themselves. Are you one of them? How do you know for sure?

We all have different goals, and there are many ways to reach those goals. There are no right ways and wrong ways. The best plans can be derailed by bad luck. The worst plans sometimes succeed. But the more informed we are, the more we understand, the likelier we are to make smart choices.
- Guest Post by Jude Hardin
It's all about risk management.

I once took a course at my alma mater that was taught by the owner of Talon Books Publishing. His main focus was on drilling it into our heads that the number one thing we had to focus in any business was on was how to manage risk.

This is true for writers as well, at least writers with their business hats on. The creative artist inside us doesn't give a fig about risk, nor should she, but when we think about marketing, sales, etc, when we think about how nice it would be to continue eating and not having to fight Big Joe for the good cardboard box, then we don our business caps and think about risk management.


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