We’ve had lots of questions about how to make money writing fiction. Many authors are concerned about Kindle Unlimited (KU.) Me too. Then I did an experiment.
For several months, I went all-in with Amazon. Everything — even my books under pen names — went into KDP Select, which meant that they were all free via Kindle Unlimited. Initially, the results were great. Lots of pages read, and my income overall went up. Then it went down. I decided that KU wasn’t for everything I published, and I pulled the majority of my books out, so that I could publish on the other ebook retailers.
5 tips to make money writing fiction
Of course, your mileage will vary. Nothing works the same way for everyone, and nothing works all the time. This is something that new self-publishers find challenging — it’s also a lot of fun, and you can boost your income with small tweaks.
Today, you can make a lot of money writing fiction. If you can tell stories that readers want to read, you’ll make more money than you ever expected that you’d make as a writer.
Let’s look at some tips which will help.
1. Focus on writing and publishing: be professional
Today, self-publishing is mainstream. It’s no longer publishing’s poor relation. In fact, major publishers are scrambling to catch up with indie authors. As an indie, you don’t need a publisher.
That said, you do need to be as professional as possible.
- Editing help and beta readers;
- Professional ebook covers;
- A publishing program which makes sense for you;
- Patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc. 🙂 Be aware that the more you publish, the more income you’ll make, all things being equal.
2. Study what sells: write what’s selling, if you can
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Yes, self-publishing gives you total freedom. You can write what you like, and publish what you like. However, you do need to study what’s selling, and try to work out why it’s telling, if you want to maximize your income.
In my fiction writing career round 1 (back in the 1980s), I subscribed to Publishers Weekly. At great expense. It cost a lot, back in the day, to have the magazine airmailed to Australia.
However, keeping up with the publishing industry — I read the magazines cover to cover — meant that I knew as much, and often much more, as the three literary agents with whom I dealt. That was immensely useful. It meant that I could trust myself.
No one know you as well as you do. Study helps you to make bets on yourself. Yes, occasionally you’ll lose a bet — a book you thought was a sure hot seller turns out to be a dud. However, that loss will be immensely valuable to you going forward. You learn much more from mistakes than you do from successes. To your own chagrin, no doubt. 🙂
Then as now, you need to keep your wits about you.
To repeat: you need to study what’s selling, and why.
You also need craft.
3. Learn to write well: each and every one of us can improve
Are you a talented writer? If you are, kudos. you’ve been blessed. It’s up to you to make the most of your talent.
On the other hand, if you feel that there’s lot of room for improvement in your writing skills, welcome to the real world — we can all improve.
There’s a lot to learn, and you never stop learning. While you’re learning however, don’t stop writing. You need to put what you learn into practice.
4. Your success depends on YOU
When someone else publishes your books, you can make excuses. Your agent dropped the ball on your contract. Your editor coaxed you to write books you hated — and readers hated them too. Your covers were horrid. Your distribution was lacking. Your books weren’t marketed… and on, and on. Excuses, one and all.
As an indie author, the buck, so to speak, stops with you. You’re your own publisher. You can make the wrong decisions — but don’t make excuses. There’s no point.
Take the sensible attitude that although you’ll make mistakes, you’ll learn from them all, and you’ll keep moving forward.
All that counts is that you keep writing. There’s a lot to learn, and a lot to do.
5. Do or die: keep writing
There’s no magic fairy dust. There’s just you — your writing. And readers. Love your readers, and keep writing.
You CAN make money writing fiction — keep writing, until you’re successful.
You can do it. 🙂
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You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.More info →
Updated: September 27, 2016
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