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How to Supplement Retirement Income -- By Writing a Book

Updated on August 1, 2015

My Next Career -- Writer

For as far back as I can remember I have always dreamed about being a writer. Once I mastered reading the printed word, I became convinced that I had it inside my brain to be the next Agatha Christie or Jacques Cousteau. My brain was fertile, flitting from one idea to the next, hovering here, touching down there, sampling the thoughts and prose of other writers. Each time I sat down to put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper the same thing happened. Absolutely nothing. No words, no page turning prose, nada.

Never mind writers’ block. I had a terrible case of writers’ cramp. All those great ideas were so busy chasing themselves around in my head that they had tangled themselves up in such a knot that there was no way they were going to make it out of my brain down through my willing arms to my fingers and finally out on to paper.

My First Career Lasted a LONG Time

A break through – of sorts – came when my husband and I were courting. Since he was left-handed, I decided to teach myself to write with my left hand. Our courtship was a long distance one, well before the age of keeping in touch with twitters and tweets, so I began keeping a journal of my innermost thoughts at the same time. For this endeavor, I used my left hand, partially to tap into the creative right side of my brain, but also to disguise my handwriting at least a little so that if my Mother happened to stumble across these musings she wouldn’t recognize my handwriting. Who was I kidding? Mothers have a built in radar just for that kind of stuff. Oh well . . . I filled two exercise books with lovesick rambling, my Mom had a good read and eventually I got married, all without my “cracking good novel” even making it on to paper – come to think of it I still can’t write very well with my left hand either.


As often happens, Marriage led to motherhood for me. As I herded four boys through their school years, a training session was given for parents who wanted to work as Teacher’s Aides in their child’s classroom. I happily participated in this and one of the assignments was to write a story that could be used as a teaching tool in our child’s classroom.

Hooray. This would finally be my chance to shine.

I did finally manage to get words onto paper, but suffice it to say that while my story was not the worst one on offer, it didn't really stand out very much, to my chagrin. Turned out in this particular instance that I was much better at making babies than writing books for them.

Two more children and two more moves later I found myself finally managing to get something down on paper that people were willing to read. True, it was training manuals for the software courses that I was teaching but still – a book is a book. I was on my way!

Moving On

Fast forward twenty years or so and I’m driving along listening to an audio essay on the changes that the digital age has wrought on the publishing industry. One interviewee even pointed out that ebook publishing has grown 200% in the past year alone and conservative estimates have ebook sales outstripping conventional books within the next six months or so. Since I have been able to find some writing work over the past few months – okay it is some pretty basic web content but hey, at least I’m getting paid for it and it IS writing – my brain is on fire. So many ideas are jostling around waiting to be put into ebook format it’s hard to know where to start.

Let’s see, where should I start. I’ve been having some success selling my nature photos on line, maybe a picture e-book is the route to go, how about the job possibilities to be found on-line. Then there’s travel, we live in a tourist destination spot that is second to none, to say nothing of a salmon fisherman’s paradise. So many ideas, so little time . . .

5 Sites to Learn From

The Internet is filled with how to pages about e-books and writing. The Google search that I just ran using the the search phrase "how to write an e-book" returned 140,000,000 links in 0.24 seconds. Google suggest search terms like "how to write an e-book and make money", "how to write an e-book for Amazon" and other things that hadn't even occurred to me.

There are quite a few sites that will offer to guide you through the process of creating an e-book, here are the top five listings that turned up when I did a Google search on how to write an ebook and sell it.

  1. Friesen Press (in Canada)
  2. Ebook Publishing (in the United Kingdom)
  3. Copyblogger - Wordpress consultant
  4. E-How
  5. MoneyCrashers


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