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How to earn a living as a self-published writer

Updated on January 17, 2016

Becoming a full-time writer entails spending countless hours each day sitting in front of a computer typing, researching and having minimal interaction with others. This is certainly not a team activity. Remember, if you’re not writing, you’re not productive, and if you are not productive, you’re not earning a living.

A full-time writer should possess the following abilities in order to earn a living:

  • Discipline hard worker
  • Deadline oriented
  • Focus and organization
  • Extreme organization
  • Cater to your audience
  • Ability to sell your work to editors
  • Financial means to market and promote yourself and your books

Consider writing additional books as well as contributing articles to newspapers and magazines as a freelancer. Depending on how well your book sells, you might find that by supplementing book sales with paid author appearances, lecturing and freelance article writing in order to earn a full-time living.

Reasons why many authors fail to achieve success

Unfortunately many authors do not achieve success for a wide variety of reasons. If you do not have the skills you may not be ready to become a full time published author.

Lack of knowledge about the topic they are writing about

You need to become an expert on any topic and the necessary research is critical before you actually begin writing.

The inability to cope with writer’s block

The best thing to do to deal with writer’s block is to ensure that you have as many ideas lined up about what you want to write about ahead of time and that you have done plenty of research and you are investing the time to fully develop your idea before sitting down and write.

The failure to hire out specialized tasks, particularly book design, to quality professionals

Self-published books usually look amateurish because the author/publisher have decided that they can handle design themselves even when they have no experience. The result is often an unattractive cover that eliminates the word-of-mouth potential with satisfied readers.

Poor marketing and promotional skills

The ability to self-promote is one of the most important skills a writer should possess. If this ability is not developed people may not know that the book exists and they may never read it.

Consider starting on a part time basis, perhaps a hobby. Build your experience and don’t give up your day job until you have established yourself as a writer with enough earning potential to support yourself.


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    • truthfornow profile image


      2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I don't dedicate the time and work necessary to be a full-time writer, but I so admire those who do. Great tips here.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great info. I want to do it but so far it is a hobbie. I guess I am not as dedicated as this Hub suggests.


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