Many writers want to make the switch from freelancing drudgery to writing fiction. It’s an enticing idea. Instead of tapping your fingers to the bone writing dull articles about celebrity makeup and cosmetic dentistry, you daydream about exciting heroes and heroines. You sell your imagination. Could it work for you?
If you read fiction, and make up stories in your head, of course it can work for you.
From the messages and calls I receive, what holds writers back is the fear of the unknown. That’s OK. Even the best writers are scared of the unknown, viz Tracy Hickman, judging by his convention speech which recently got a lot of attention. Publishing’s changing, and Hickman’s writing much more than he used to…. He’s clinging to traditional publishing, and resents self-publishing writers. However, as Joe Konrath points out:
If people can write 12,000 words and sell it for $4.95, what is preventing you from writing 12,000 words and selling it for $4.95? Have you heard of Hugh Howey? Wool? Or are you so entrenched in the legacy system that you feel there is really no other way?
Read Konrath’s article, and realize that if you’re scared and uncertain, you’re not alone.
Then, realize that self-publishing isn’t rocket science. Amazon makes it blindingly simple. The challenge for Hickman, as it ALWAYS is for ALL writers, is the fear of the unknown. Once you get into a comfortable rut, it’s very hard to leave the rut.
The Cheese Has Been Moved, and There’s MORE Cheese.
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson is a small book, first published in 1998. Its subtitle is: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. The subtitle says it all. The cheese always gets moved, and when you least expect it. You’ve got to scurry around and find its new location. Or you’ll starve to death.
Here’s the amazing news about the cheese for writers. Yes, the cheese in publishing has moved. And that’s wonderful for writers. You don’t need literary agents, publishing houses, or anything else. The cheese is easy to get at. And there’s a lot more of it too.
How to Sell Your Imagination.
Start by realizing that you CAN sell your imagination. If you’re interested in writing fiction, you can sell short stories, novellas and novels… Complete your story, edit it, get a cover, and upload it to Amazon. Done. Then, write another story.
Here’s a heartfelt warning: no one can promise you success. You could conceivably upload 100 stories to Amazon, and sell nary a one. However, if you can give readers an emotional experience in the genre of their choice, that’s unlikely.
If you’re already making money from your writing, you’ll sell fiction. You know how the writing world works, and what you need to do to sell your writing. All that’s changing is the environment. I started my writing career writing romances for the British publisher Macdonald-Futura. Copywriting – writing marketing and advertising materials for money was a big surprise to me. Who knew you could make money writing for businesses? At that stage (I was young) I certainly didn’t.
Writing advertising and writing fiction may seems different activities, and they are. But they’re more similar than they’re dissimilar. If you write and sell articles and Web content, you can sell the stories you make up in your imagination.
On the other hand if you’re a totally new writer, and have yet to sell a single word, that’s great. You don’t have any bad habits to unlearn. Established writers get used to the cheese being in a certain place. It was hard work finding the damn cheese… and now someone’s moved it… 😉 Keep in mind that the cheese always gets moved, as we’ve said.
I created Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances to help you to find a huge stash of cheese on Amazon – writing romances. I’ll be creating more guides to help you to make money from fiction writing.
If you want to make money selling your imagination, you can do it. Writing stories is much more fun than other forms of writing. I’ve written a lot of nonfiction in my time. I mostly enjoyed it, but some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, and when I did, I wanted to toss my computer out the window. If someone’s paying you to write, you have to write whatever it is — even if you hate every second of the gig.
The joy of writing fiction is that you can write pretty much whatever your imagination delivers to you. Although the romance genre is huge, other genres do well too. Start reading some of the freebies on Amazon. If you think your imagination can do better; you may indeed be right.
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