Over the past couple of years, we’ve talked about writing fiction on the blog, because it SELLS. My aim with this blog has always been to help you to sell your writing. It doesn’t matter much what you write; sales matter. You’re writing professionally, to make money. Of course, if you’re writing purely as a hobby, that’s fine too, but on this blog, we’re all about sales.
Writers have asked me whether you can write both fiction, and nonfiction. Yes, of course you can. You write; you sell. That’s what a professional writer does. The questions’ subtext is: what will make me the most money, soonest?
Anything you write can make money for you. I started out as a romance novelist, discovered you could make money copywriting (when people waved money at me). Then I went on to write for magazines and (when other people waved money) wrote business books.
Consider this: the more you write, the more you can write. In this article about making the switch to writing fiction, I said that your skills are transferable:
Expect that training yourself to write fiction will take a little time until fiction becomes comfortable. Know this: your fiction writing will IMPROVE all your writing. I don’t expect you to take this on trust, but you will be amazed to find that your nonfiction improves when you write fiction.
In a nutshell: it’s impossible to predict where lightning will strike. Both fiction and nonfiction can make money for you. No one knows what will make the most money for you soonest… 🙂 So, if you want to write both… go ahead.
In light of that, let’s look at some things you may want to consider.
1. The Size of Your Catalogue on Amazon Counts.
If you publish five ebooks on Amazon, you will sell. If you publish 50, you will sell more. That’s logical. In some genres of fiction, short story writers report that it takes a catalogue (your “publishing catalogue” is the number of books you have under one name on Amazon) of 30 stories to make enough money to pay some of your bills each month.
So whatever you write, focus on writing and publishing. Do the best you can for your readers. If you’re writing fiction, provide entertainment that’s worth $2.99 or $3.99 or whatever. If you’re writing nonfiction, give readers information that’s worth what you charge.
Put yourself into your ebooks. By that I mean, write with conviction. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, believe in yourself. If you’re struggling with a lack of confidence, write more. WRITE – then you won’t have the time or energy to wonder whether you’re confident or not. 🙂
2. Consider Using Pen Names for Branding.
Whether you write under one name, or several, is up to you. You could write nonfiction under your own name, or choose a name for each topic you cover. Similarly with fiction; choose a pen name for each genre in which you write.
As far as Amazon is concerned, you can have as many pen names as you like. My understanding is that under one Amazon account, you can have three Author Central author pages. I could be wrong. When you get past three, ask Amazon. 🙂
The point of pen names is branding. Let’s say you write on several nonfiction topics: skin care, home schooling and genealogy. You could use your own name for all topics. When you write nonfiction, readers don’t care about author names – they care about the information.
With fiction, it’s different. Readers look for books by an author. So it make sense to use various pen names. If you write romance, that’s one pen name. Write a few mysteries, another pen name, and so on.
3. Forget “I’ve Written a Book and I Need to Market It” – Write More Books.
Marketing your books is HARD. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. Of course you can market, but what counts is the size of your catalogue, under each name.
Some newer authors lean more towards marketing than writing more, even though they hate marketing. If you seriously want to market, that’s a full time job. You can be like Tim Ferris, and really push the boat out with marketing. Certainly do that if you love marketing; that’s excellent.
If you hate the idea of marketing, consider that writing another book is all the marketing you need to do. Let Amazon market your books for you. Whenever you publish, you’ll be on Amazon’s New Releases lists. Whenever someone buys a book, you’ll be on Also Bought lists. Write more. 🙂
4. Compartmentalize: Create Schedules and Stick to Them.
Do you have a writing schedule? You can write both fiction, and nonfiction, if you schedule. I use Todoist to schedule all the writing I do. You can use any calendar, but create a schedule, and stick to it. Produce!
Focus on what you’re writing when you’re writing it. Over time, it will become easier for you to compartmentalize. Your concentration is a muscle. It will develop.
5. The More You Write, the More You CAN Write.
Ideas come when you’re writing. If you write every day, you’ll discover that you write more. Start small. If you’re a new writer, set yourself a low word count – say 200 words a day. Or, spend half an hour writing. Whatever daily writing goal you set – in words, or in time – make it non-negotiable.
Over time, your writing muscles will build. You’ll discover how much you can write in a day without exhausting yourself.
Updated; November 11, 2016
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