With the popularity of self-publishing exploding in the past decade, more people than ever before have the opportunity to become full-time fiction writers. If you have been writing and publishing work for a while, you may consider the shift from your day job to a career as an author yourself. However, this decision comes with a lot of uncertainty and risk. How do you know if you are ready to be a full-time fiction writer or not?
Is Your Fiction Writing Dream Realistic?
Statistics, friends, and family members will answer this question with a resounding, “No!”. A very small percentage of both traditionally and self-published writers do not do it full-time because they do not make enough money to pay all their bills with the income they get from book sales. That is the simple truth about fiction writing as a career choice.
However, with the proliferation of self-publishing in the world today, those statistics are changing slightly as more and more people can quit their day jobs and follow their dreams. To determine if you are one of the few who can do this, you need to ask yourself some questions. More importantly, you need to answer them objectively and with complete honesty.
- Do you have the skills necessary to write well enough to make a lot of sales?
- Do you have enough marketable book ideas to keep creating fiction products?
- Do you have access to professional help, including book formatters and editors?
- Do you have enough money to invest in these professionals to create quality books?
Of course, you also have to look at your finances and responsibilities to answer this question for yourself. A single person in a low cost of living area has a much better chance of making enough money to support themselves with fiction then a person with a spouse and three children who just took out a large mortgage.
Preparation for a Full-time Writing Career
Before you even consider leaving your regular career for life as a full-time fiction writer, you must make careful preparations to protect yourself, your home, your family, and your future. At the very least, you should have six months to one year of living expenses saved up. If you have a significant other or dependent family members, you also need their approval and acceptance of your plan. It is simply not fair to follow your dream if other people have to foot the bill or suffer because of it.
Your preparations must also include getting all the skills necessary to create marketable fiction and get the attention you need to sell books. Learn everything you can about writing, publishing, and marketing before you take the plunge. Also, take time to study the market overall, so you have realistic expectations of your future earning potential. Remember that the vast majority of fiction writers do it part-time on the side and have full-time jobs outside the writing world.