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What They Don't Tell You About Being a Writer

Updated on November 14, 2014

Before We Get Started

This article is meant to be a wake-up call. This is a cold bucket of water over the head, a slap in the face, and a large dollop of reality, all rolled into one.

Before I undertake any challenge, I gather all the facts, mull them over for a bit, mix and match different ways to attack the problem, and then devise a strategy. It’s just who I am and how I rock n roll, but I suspect most people, when facing challenges, want to know as many facts as possible. Eliminating the unknown moves us one step closer to the known, right?

So that’s why I’m here. If you have ever considered being a freelance writer, or if you have ever considered writing a book and actually selling that book for money, then this article should be of some use for you.

I’ll try not to slap you too hard.

Writing is not a nice stroll along a paved path
Writing is not a nice stroll along a paved path | Source

Traditional Publishing

So, you have your bookshelf lined with your favorite books. They are all there, those written by Hemingway, Lee, Steinbeck, King, and Koontz. You dust them weekly, pull them down occasionally for inspiration, and dream of the day when your own novel will sit among them.

You have heard that in today’s world of publishing, it is almost impossible to attract a publisher unless you have an agent, so you go out and get a copy of “Guide to Literary Agents,” and you proceed to write queries to them all, and lo and behold, two months later, you hear back from an agent who is interested in representing your book.

Success is yours! Your book will be published!

Not so fast, bucko!

Having an agent in no way guarantees that you will have your book picked up by a publishing firm. It increases your chances, but does not guarantee a darned thing. The latest estimates suggest that a full two-thirds of books represented by agents are not published.

Ouch!

Sorry about that slap. A bit harsh, ‘eh?

There are no guarantees in the ebook publishing world
There are no guarantees in the ebook publishing world | Source

Ebook Publishing

It’s the latest thing. It’s the wave of the future. It’s easy to do and easy money.

Three of those four statements were correct. It is the latest thing in publishing, it is the wave of the future, and it is easy to do.

Easy money? Are you crazy?

Here’s a statistic that will sober you up quickly: 87% of ebooks make less than $100.

Come to think of it, that statistic won’t sober you up…it will drive you to drink.

Literally anyone can publish a book these days. If your dream is to see a book with your name on it, then go for it, and may the gods smile down upon you.

If your goal is to make money from ebooks, then may those same gods take pity on you.

Yes, yes, I know, there are some great stories of people making six-figure incomes from writing ebooks, and those stories are correct….but….for every one of those stories, there are thousands of stories about writers making zilch.

Just so you know.

Writing a Book Is Not As Difficult As…..

For those of you who want to write a book and actually make money with it, consider this statement: writing the book is about 30% of the work involved in making money from that book. In fact, writing the book….six months of writing 100,000 words, is the easiest part of making money from that book.

Welcome to Marketing 101.

A writer must learn marketing to attract an agent and/or publisher. A writer must learn marketing to sell his/her ebook. A writer must learn marketing and then practice it with the fervor usually reserved for mothers protecting their babies from harm.

Let me share a true story with you. I’m not going to tell you the author’s name because I don’t have their permission, so you’ll have to trust me that the story is, in fact, true.

One day a fine writer finished their book, and decided to self-publish it. They contacted printing houses for the best price. It turned out to be $5.25 per book. They then took their life’s savings and ordered 10,000 books printed. Before this writer ever made a penny, he was fifty-thousand bucks in the hole.

He then purchased a used RV, and he and his wife set out on a massive road trip. He scheduled book signings and book readings. He wrangled his way on to radio shows and public broadcasting stations. He spent a year on the road and, through his tenacity and personal marketing skills, he sold 100,000 copies and was eventually contacted by a major publisher (Penguin) and signed a contract.

Six months to write the book….one year on the road promoting….a fifty-thousand dollar investment….but success was found.

How serious are you about marketing your book?

Making Money As a Writer Is Easy, But….

I’m dead serious. Hire me as a consultant and I’ll have you making a decent supplemental income as a writer in three months….but

There’s that but again.

If you want to make a living as a freelance writer, and by “making a living” I mean paying all your bills and having enough money to really enjoy life, then plan on working your butt off.

In other words, if your goal is to make one hundred bucks per month, then that is very, very doable in a very short period of time. If your goal is to make a thousand per month, then I would suggest you buckle your seatbelt and get ready for one hell of a ride.

And Speaking of Working Hard

Working hard is not as important as working smart.

I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.

Marketing means meeting real life people
Marketing means meeting real life people | Source

Marketing Is More Than Facebook

In fact, if you are relying on Facebook for the majority of your writing promotions, then you really need to get out of the writing business.

Let me tell you something about Facebook, or Twitter, or any of the other social networks. Are you ready?

They are SOCIAL networks, first and foremost.

Do a little experiment. Take an hour out of your day and read the feeds on Facebook. How many of your “friends” promoted their latest music gig, book, poem, art exhibit, etc. during that hour?

There are so many of them that they tend to just become background noise. I see one of my friends is having a book signing, but I really don’t pay much attention to it because, well, there are SO MANY and I have a life to live.

Close friends pay attention to your latest article or book; fringe friends could care less.

So your Facebook marketing campaign is just part of the picture. Sooner or later, and sooner is best, you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty, and that means going out into the real world and selling your product. It means establishing relationships in the literary world. It means establishing relationships with book store owners, with agents, and with the buying public. It means pounding the pavement and working your butt off.

And once you’ve done that, then do it again, and again, and again….and say a little prayer while you’re at it.

That’s Enough to Get You Started

You now have some information to get the ball rolling. Reality is harsh at times, but it’s necessary if you are to have any shot at all of making it in this writing business.

I hope my slap in your face didn’t hurt too much. I really do want you to succeed, so call this tough love, given to you in the spirit of friendship.

Best wishes on your journey.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Newjerusalem, you are very welcome, and thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • newjerusalem profile image

      victor 2 years ago from India

      Great tips you've shared.

      I think earning is not that easy for every writer. One has to persistently try in many ways with the appropriate use of social media. But, it's possible to make a living by writing. I also find this common advice from many writers, " Don't lay all your eggs in one basket".

      Thanks for sharing useful information.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nils, I'm going to include this question in next week's mailbag, but the quick answer to your question is YES! If we don't promote ourselves, who will. This is a long process, and the sooner we plant in the brains of our readers and friends that we are writers, the better. Hang in there and keep plugging along.

    • Nils Visser profile image

      BOOK REVIEWS 2 years ago from The Low Countries

      I have been following this thread with great interest. I have given myself a year to try to am now running into all sorts of things; unforeseen tasks and unforeseen expenses. There are few places to get good advice; people around me either think I sit around all day being supremely lazy or think I am in the grasp of some sort of insanity (I write non-stop). This shows the value the Hubs can have, as opposed to some interactive platforms which have writer's groups where the only thing accomplished is the endless self-promotion.

      A question: I may scorn those interactive platforms but am out there thumping my own chest as much as I can. I am somewhat concerned with this new habit. Does it help to promote your image as a 'writer' at all? To create a brand as it were?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Easy, you summed it up quite nicely. It is work. I write ten hours each day, five days a week, and I still haven't broken into the big time yet. I may never make it, but it won't be because of a lack of effort. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Very practical advise. Yes, it is easy to make $100 a month writing - but self-supporting income from writing - wow! That is a tall order. Many people do it but it is akin to being an entrepreneur where you work long hours. And writing is work - if you know what you are doing, you know it is work!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Perspycacious, and I think you summed up the publishing game pretty well here. It's not like the old days for sure, and I'm not convinced that is a good thing...but it is what it is, and we either adjust and learn to play the game, or we condemn ourselves to obscurity.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Brad, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. I'll take a look at those hubs of yours and let you know, and I'm not sure how I feel about Christmas lights up this early..I think we tend to overplay Christmas as a society, but that's just me.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      A would-be writer can buy all the Writer's Digest books on effective writing, getting a literary agent, and getting published, but it's easier and cheaper to read this hub and reconcile goals with reality. The agent, if the writer gets one, won't do much leg work, the publisher may or may not get enthused enough to do much, and the writer in us wants to get on to the next writing project, definitely not marketing. The computer has made the writing and editing so much easier, and online marketing can sell some books, but two keys are (1) the soundness of the project, and (2) the commitment to succeed at what it takes for success. We all agree you have made that clear here.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

      Speaking of Thanksgiving, hp said that my Thanksgiving hub and my Color purple hub didn't meet hp quality standards.

      I made some changes in both of them, and I would appreciate your critical eye on what I didn't do to get the hp quality stamp.

      I did get it for the other three hubs.

      Thanks

      A lot of people on my street have already turned on their Christmas lights.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe it does, Rebecca. As long as they don't quit because of that reality. :) Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for a dose of humility, billybuc. It is good to know the true facts about agents, publishing and marketing. You are right. Most people want the truth up front. It saves heartache in the end.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Unfortunately yes, aziasaaa, and most writers never conquer their hesitation and fear of marketing. Best wishes to you, and thanks for stopping by.

    • aziasaaa profile image

      Azia 2 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Ouh this is so so so true. The marketing has to come as a whole. Reading through this makes me want to break down and cry. Even writing a simple short story needs marketing and 'selling'.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glenn, I'm afraid that's the truth that so many writers ignore. We are our marketing department. Who else will do it for us if we don't? I don't know about you, but they aren't lining up in front of me asking to be my agent or publisher, so it's all on me. Best wishes with those books, and thank you.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks for the slap, I needed that! I had self-published two books with Lulu, and one with Amazon's Create Space. The books on Lulu are personal and the one on create space was for business. The business book sold well only because it was basically a users guide for my phone system. But my other two books just have a trickle of sales every once in a while.

      The last thing you said near the end of your article made a huge impression on me... that we need to establish relationships with book store owners, agents, and so on. That is something I didn't do. But for good reason. I have a business.

      The conclusion I got from your article is that to be serious as an author who wants to sell books, one has to make it a full-time job. Oops, is that another slap?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, that's happened a couple times to me of late. I think HP has a few glitches to work out.

      Thanks for trying...twice....it's always a pleasure to have you here.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly right, Flourish. I've been singing that song for a long time now. Thanks for the reminder.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Where the heck is my comment? I know I wrote one, three days ago. Ah gee, did I forget to 'post comment'? Duhhhhhhh.

      Well...as I was saying...what was I saying?

      Thanks Bill for another great lesson and you can give me a slap anytime.

      Love,

      Audrey

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This is why it's important to have one's goals straight, right up front whether it's earning $100 monthly or making a living off one's writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, thank you, but more importantly, stay safe on those roads. I hope the weather does not cause too much of a problem for you.

      blessings my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As always, my pleasure, Lori! Thank you!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Hello Bill;

      Truth is truth and never hurts when coming from the one who suffered enough to know by experience to be a friend.

      A lesson of life or a lesson for living/ existing: You are so generous, unselfish and sincere in this article that all what you have said can be converted and applied in any field of work/ production: Provide an above average product and you'll be sought out ( by agents/clients/customers ). Your artistic performance will sell you out and a money won't be issue as a main goal...

      Awesome and beautiful

      Sorry my friend, I have to discontinue, getting late and tomorrow again at 5:35 my day is starting then on the road again, driving early under these weather conditions is quite demanding then again my beloved production...

      Good night and blessings.

    • profile image

      lambservant 2 years ago

      Yep, a definite reality check. Thanks Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks, Eddy. I never mean to offend, certainly, and I'm happy to hear it does not come off that way. Thank you and have a wonderful week in Wales.

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for returning, Ann. That happened to me, too, as I was just too tired last night and forgot to comment after reading. Too much to do and too little time.

      And I don't even have a trip to London planned. :) Have a great time, Ann, and thank you.

      bill

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Another great read and leaving much food for thought.

      I know that I need to work harder at my writing. I am so guilty of not promoting my books; as Ann points out Billy your message comes over loud and clear and we take pointers from you because you say it in a way as not to offend. A sign of a great and wise teacher I would say. Here's so many more lessons from you and lots of love coming yours and Bev's way all the way from Wales.

      Eddy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I've just searched through the comments 3 times as I was certain I'd left a few words last night - obviously in my sleepy state I forgot to press the 'post comment' button!

      Anyway, this advice is necessary for many people. Yes, it's a slap in the face but you can get away with that where others probably wouldn't because you do it so nicely!

      We need to work hard to get anywhere, of course we do. There is too much of 'but it's not my fault' these days because so much is handed to us on a plate.

      Ramble over! Great hub, as always, bill. I'm off to London on Wednesday, to see what's left of the poppy installation at the Tower of London, then I can finish my related hub!

      Have a great week, bill.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, it's a tough road, but it's worth it when you make it to the destination. Good luck my friend. You've got the talent. Now comes the other 70%. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Sherry, it you enjoy what you are doing then fantastic! Carry on my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dressage, you got it right my friend. Pay your dues is what my dad taught me, and I'm paying them daily. Will it pay off? Who knows? But I do know there is no chance if I don't pay them. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, no joke, and no laughing on my part. My memory is slowly fading, and I find it a bit disconcerting. I hope it hangs in there long enough for me to write the next great American novel. If not, well...it's God's fault for not giving me enough time. LOL

      Thanks for being here...you are a joy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! Isn't it funny how we can go back to old stuff and find out it no longer pleases us? I wish you luck with the computer and the editing.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Ouch! Now that hurt, Bill. You are a mean man.......just kidding. I get the message loud and clear. Your counsel about not relying on SOCIAL media for marketing is well taken. I have a job ahead of me if I decide to proceed with my current writing project. I appreciate your encouragement on that subject as well. Thanks for this very timely and important information. I know you learned it the hard way; by doing it.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      The thing that I like about online writing is that I can do it alone. I put something up, then wait for people to find it. I probably won't ever make much money doing it, but at least I enjoy it. All that marketing really puts me off.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 2 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Great Hub realism is what we all need from time to time. No musician or writer has ever made it without the slog part. It may be possible to make a name for yourself on YouTube or Facebook, but is it really likely? Hell no you need to do the grind like it or not same for NHL, NFL, NBA etc players they all start on the treadmill and the ones that keep going longest might make the grade. All 5% or less of them!

      Interesting and Useful and best to remember as it is the cold hard truth of the matter just like climbing Everest or K2!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro....I kept passing by this Title . I was positive I had read it and commented already. Today I checked.

      So OK, since you are always so generous with sharing important info with all of us and I believe in "Paying It Forward," let me share something here:

      As we age, for a while we get used to the subtle memory issues. Eventually we accept it, be courageous and carry on. Everyone forgets little things now & then regardless of age. Right?

      Alas my aging buddies....soon enough comes the time when you start to remember doing something.....that you did NOT do. If we take the time to think about this....it can be extremely frightening. You doubt me? Fine....THINK about it for 5 minutes.

      Your bucket of ice water and a few slaps is precisely what I need. Today, tomorrow and every day, obviously.

      I was rather aware of the horrors of writing, publishing, marketing and selling a book. I appreciate you reconfirming it all in black and white. I keep thinking, any book I may write will be simply for my family and friends. Id prefer not to set myself up any more than I have in this lifetime. Maybe next time around, when I come back as Sylvia Platt.

      I must go now to finish what I was doing. Don't you DARE ask me what that was..........Great work, Bro....it always is. UP+++ pinned & tweeted.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. You're coming in loud and clear. I know there are hits and misses in writing. First I most solve my desk top computer break down problem to get to material I was thinking of making into an ebook volume of poems. The problem? Suddenly I realized I was not too happy with my poems from years back so it's time to rethink my strategy. Passing this on.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, the first part of your comment had me laughing out loud. Too funny! As for you being ninety, who knows where the publishing world will go. I still hold out hope that one day real books will become popular again, so you can see that I'm obviously stuck in the past. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, kind lady.

      your friend

      bill

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Hi Bill,

      I stood for a long time pushing the elevator button, but the door did not open. I am tired from walking all-way-down---stop being so popular because women over 40 needs wings to fly after reading your hubs. This is raw and real advice, but wise to read before going forward.

      I am still typing away on two novels and I might be 90 when they are finished. By then I should be able to send them to the Internet by Parapsychological ways instead of ebooks or hardcopies.

      I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving if I forget to tell you.

      Your Hub Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Laura, for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with your writing career. What you do I couldn't do, so you have my respect.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I think there are thousands of great self-published book. Whether they die in obscurity or become known depends on that marketing aspect, something most writers hate doing. Best wishes to your daughter and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Nell, if we smashed them, then we'd have to go out and buy new ones, and who can afford that? LOL Have a wonderful Sunday, my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I appreciate your thoughts and comment.

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 2 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Excellent article with sage advice! Any type of writing is hard work. Very, very hard work. I know someone with sixteen published books that are popular who gets peanuts in royalties. From a major publisher.

      Wanna-be writers need to know what you've said here! Thanks for putting it in perspective. (I'm a full time technical writer in the corporate world, and that's not easy but it pays living wages.)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I have honestly never had any desire to write a book. I have written many short stories of my growing up "way back when" in the country. I have printed each story and given the stories to my family in a binder. They enjoy reading my stories, but they are just meant for my family.

      I do have a daughter who owns a barber shop. She wrote what I think is a great book on how to get a perfect haircut. She self published the book.

      I wrote a review about her book here on HP. I don't know how many copies she has sold. She could sell more I'm sure if she did a better job at marketing her book. I think it is an excellent book, but then I'm her Mother!

      Good advice for those people who want to write and publish their book.

      Voted this UP, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It does indeed, Besarien, and many writers fall by the wayside because they lack that set of skills. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good to know, Blaber...Pinterest has actually been my best social network for marketing...and I have no idea why. Anyway, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good to know, Catherine! Thanks for sharing that pointer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara Kay, I agree with you. I hate to see fine literature go unnoticed. Thanks for sharing that story...maybe someone will learn from it.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      You always tell it like it is billy, and that's fantastic! if we all looked through rose colored glasses we would soon smash them! lol! great advice as always, nell

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is useful advice, Bill. It's important that writers think seriously about the points that you've raised if they want to make money.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      Great advice billybuc! I don't think a lot of unpublished writers think much beyond finishing a book. Promoting one would require a very different set of skills. Voted up!

    • Blaber Blogger profile image

      Nischal Gurung 2 years ago from Muscat, Oman

      Facebook hasn't been much help to me.. maybe twitter did.. being a part of a lot of social network actually helped me market my blogs and articles... social bookmarking sites are also a lot helpful lile digg, stumbleupon etc

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Very good advice Billybuc. I've written a book and self published. I suggest authors use print on demand to buy their books a few at a time. (10-20-100-100o--whatever you think you can sell in say a month's time.) I sell my books when I give a speech. I don't think I have sold even one book to a stranger out of the blue.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      It all sounds discouraging, but worth it if someone wants to have a book published. I hate marketing, so I think I'll just stick to online writing. There is enough marketing doing that to last me for my lifetime.

      My daughter-in-law's Grandmother just wrote a book and put it on Amazon this year. The book amazed me because it was one of the better books I've read. She has sold about 5 copies to her relatives and that is about it. The reason is that no one knows the books exists other than family, because she hasn't marketed it at all. So sad that the world is missing out on it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, my realistic outlook comes from so many defeats. I won't quit, but at least my eyes are wide-open now as I carry on. Thank you for your thoughts, which are right on.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Susan! Good of you to stop by. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, numbers like that would discourage quite a few writers. Me? I just think it adds to the challenge, a challenge worth taking. Thank you for being here and sharing that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, it sounds to me as though you are doing quite well without my advice. Carry on with what you are doing, and thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Frank! It would be nice to be hired as a consultant, but I'm pretty busy writing a novel right now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stick with that story, John! Those are great reasons to write....love it and flourish! Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M....you are a kind man and I appreciate you greatly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MJ from my home state, thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a challenge, Genevieve, and one we can meet. I love your attitude...thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, I think those are wonderful reasons why you write. Carry on my friend, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again m abdullah javed!

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      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      LOL! Your are anything but not realistic. Thanks for telling us like it is. It is particularly difficult today to get a book published because so many are doing it through ebooks escpecially. That's why ebooks don't do that well. They are a dime a dozen because everyone publishes them and it is difficult for our books to stand out among the slew that are out there. It is best to get an agent and publisher to publish books, but so many are doing that also that it is difficult for that to happen. Writing is not for the faint of heart. As you say, market, market, market is how to get a book published and then people to buy it. Thanks again for a real thought-provoking article.

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      Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great advise Bill and oh so true!

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      Theresa Franklin 2 years ago from Hemphill, TX

      Very few people make a killing on one book now. The reason? According to my publisher, there are 15,000 titles released every day. So on the day your book hits the airways, you are 1 in 15,000. Easy to get lost in that number.

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      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting about the publishing world. I have made a substantial amount of cash on my online writing over the six years. I have great sales on my ebooks and quite pleased. You make valuable points. I have marketed and still am and doing fairly well for myself.

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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thanks for this hair--rasing, eyebrow twisting, nose crinkling fact of reality.. I agree with you and share your opinion my friend.. for someone who needs a slap in the face wake up reality.. this is a start.. great useful stuff.. and someone might just hire you to consult.. because you are often dead on...:0

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Ouch! that hurt Bill :)

      No, seriously I know all you say is oh so true....lucky I write for relaxation and my own entertainment. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Great advice.

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      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      You are really so helpful and always caring for writers providing them some stuff or other so that they can start walking and running on their feet. I love your attitude so much. Thanks for these harsh but true revelations.

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      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 2 years ago from Washington State

      Inspiringly true, thanks for your shining wisdom.

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      Genevieve Nicole 2 years ago from Providence, RI

      On the contrary billybuc!!! I find this hub motivational!! I love that with all things social media these days, an article like this brings the real, physical world and interpersonal skills necessary to succeed, into a writer's focus. It's a challenge in a way...love it!

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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      OUCH! that hurt Bill, lol. I never thought of making money so... no scare. I write because I love to write and read and make friends like you and all the other hubbers on here.

      God Bless you, voted up, UAFI and shared. I hope you make a million.

      Shyron

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      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      Obiviously we do hope gentleness from the gentleman of our time. Thanks Bill Sir!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, in truth, I've never heard of him, but what a fascinating story, and an inspiration as well as guiding light for those who self-publish. As you know all too well, this is work, and those who shun work better take up another trade.

      Thanks for sharing that...great story and example.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      m abdullah javed, you are very welcome. No kicks here...gentleness all the way my friend. Thank you an peace be with you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, your comment should be a mantra that is required reading for every would-be writer. Beautiful thoughts and passion here my friend. Carry on...I believe in you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Will, I thought I read somewhere about a new Eastwood movie...was that yours? :)

      Keep on keeping on my friend. One of these days, right? RIGHT????

      Thanks my friend. Have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I try to be about that, Bill. Thank you and Happy Weekend to you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      David, I love that advice, and I think it is filled with truth. If you want instant gratification, leave writing alone. This is a marathon that required staunch willingness. Thanks for that great comment.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Martie, now I'm depressed. LOL

      But what you say is true, and we write because...well...we are in love with the written word...and that's good enough for me.

      Thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you nanderson...Happy Weekend to you!

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      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's what Alfred Wainwright did. AW walked the fells, climbed Lakeland mountains, crossed England between St Bees Head in the west and Robin Hood's Bay in the east (there's an Alfred Wainwright Bar at the Dolphin, overlooking the fishing and lifeboat slipway), made his own maps and drew diagrams as well as views of the landmarks along the way.

      Then he wrote about them, published and printed books with jobbing printers in his own area of North Lancashire, took them out on the road and sold them in batches to hotels, walkers' suppliers, B&B's, cafes, souvenir shops, post office/local stores. He had to travel by bus or train because he didn't drive, and put them in his backpack. He made a lot of money from them and autographed them cheerily when asked.

      A W was always amiable, although he was fairly shy, didn't like crowds and sometimes went out of his way to avoid people.

      Wainwright's books will become rarities, they're sought after - a signed copy is already worth £000,s - and when his prints come up on the 'Antiques Roadshow' (on TV) everyone drools. They almost fall backwards when experts give them a value in multiples of £000,s.

      Did it go to his head? He was always mildly surprised when asked for his signature, as though he didn't believe it was him they asked. A W died in 1991 aged 84.

      There's an Alfred Wainright Society and Julia Bradbury has made films of his walks, including the Coast-to-Coast, and the walks are waymarked. Yet he's hardly known outside England, let alone Britain.

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      Thanks again for the guiding hub sir. Learnt a lot. At the end I realised that even slap in the face can be a privileged act. Thank God you didn't mentioned 'kick' along with bucket of cold water and slap in the beginning...:)

      Thanks again Sir, keep enlightening us.

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      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      So true! I remember meeting with my short story professor and asking him questions about declaring Creative Writing as my major. I asked him what are my job prospects were. He basically said I was shrewd and that the only way to make it was to get a teaching credential. That's what he did, taught by day and wrote by night. He's got 6 novels in the can and no publishing deals. From the very beginning I knew I was on a precarious journey.

      Even if I never make tons of money writing--which is a horrible reason to write--I feel content and accomplished as a writer. I feel that the wind is finally catching my sails and I am proud of the work I have done. That's all that matters at the end of the day--was my life's work meaningful and I am personally happy with it?

      If I wanted to make money, I would have studied to be a doctor, but that is not my gifting. I was made to write. In fact, I just don't feel right and satisfied if I don't write. Stories literally keep me up at night and don't give me rest until they are written. Writing is an obsession!

      It's a long hard journey, but something magical happens when you start walking the writing road--more doors open. Before you know it, you look back and are stunned at all you've done. A mountain looks huge from the valley floor, but every step up it makes it look smaller. Before you know it, you're standing under the summit, that once looked impossible to climb.

      I know I have the talent, now it's time to focus on being tenacious.

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'm sitting here waiting for a call from Hollywood, probably from either Clint Eastwood or Kevin Costner, waiting to film one of my westerns.

      But while I wait, I'm submitting stuff to publishers, just in case.

      Good Hub, Bill!

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Reality check, for sure. Every once the truth. Hope it helps someone new, today. That is what you are about. Thanks for sharing, again! ;-)

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      David Stone 2 years ago from New York City

      Excellent summary of the challenges and opportunities. As I learned when I was much younger, the singular difference between a failed writer and a successful one is that the successful one never gave up. You can get there, just keep trying, just keep learning until you've got it. Great tips here to help keep your eye on the ball.

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      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Every word you have written in here is so-so true, Billy, and actually quite depressing. 10% of all people have the talent to write. Only 10% of that 10% ever make an effort to write. Only 10% of that 10% makes writing a hobby. Only 10% of that 10% achieve some success. Only 10% of that 10% becomes well-known writers. Only 10% of that 10% eventually hit the jackpot...

      But here we are, we write because we write because we write....

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      nanderson500 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      This is great advice. Definitely true that it's easy to make $100 a month, but much tougher to make a real living off of it. Nice work as always!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I could have inserted your name into that section. :) Have a great weekend my friend. I hope it warms up there.

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Yep, marketing is that annoying 70% of writing a book (or anything else) for a living. But you know what? That's the way it is for almost anyone in business for themselves. I spend more time marketing my business than helping customers with their marketing. (You knew I'd understand, right?)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, so nice to see you on a Friday. It is true my friend, I did not think I could make it as a writer...had serious doubts about my abilities. If it can happen to me, then all of you have reason to hope. :) Happy Friday to you, and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks, Kim. Have a lovely weekend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Go get the, breakfastpop...and have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Rachael. Thank you for the kind words. I believe in your writing abilities...hopefully those abilities will equate to success.