It is kind of sad, but being a professional author in today’s world means studying writing craft, keeping abreast of an ever-changing industry, publishing to social media at least once a day, sending out a monthly newsletter, running your own ads and other marketing endeavors, and… what else? Oh, yeah! Writing the best damn book you possibly can!
Not much… (author breaks down into tears)
But wait! There’s more!
Even with all that, we have to do to merely be a professional writer, still, a lot of authors don’t earn enough to go out for dinner once a week. To supplement their incomes, they also edit, design covers, format books (ahem!), help other authors with marketing, are book coaches (ahem-ahem! Sorry, I’ve got something in my throat), or anyone of a myriad of other author support positions because, honestly, no one can do all this alone! (self-publishing… hahahahahahaha!)
Sometimes my husband just looks at me and shakes his head. He works for a large, international organization. He has one job. Granted, it has many moving parts, but not even close to as many as I have. Here’s what I do:
- Write my books
- Write this weekly blog
- Teach writing
- Format books for other authors
- Coach other authors
- And starting this week, I’ve also got a podcast with Pru Warren — because I wasn’t already doing enough.
Is it enough to drive me a little insane? Umm… yes? Well, it certainly keeps me busy!
Thank goodness my children are all grown because for years I had that job as well — and yes, I do count being a mother a full-time job. But with the pandemic, I have to say, it’s been kinda nice having my husband here to cook dinner sometimes (he’s a great cook, but never had the time to stretch those muscles because he was at his office until late every night or traveling).
Joanna Penn has talked about the need for authors to diversify their money-making and marketing efforts (this blog and my new podcast can be counted as marketing, teaching can as well). She acknowledges that it is essential for authors to find something at which they excel and work at that in addition to their regular writing schedule.
The trick with juggling all these different balls is not to drop any — in particular the writing part.
It’s so incredibly easy to spend my time teaching, planning courses, working on my website, or fooling around on social media. And then suddenly I realize I’ve got a book to write! I’ve got people waiting for my next book to come out and here I am putzing around with other stuff.
Or maybe it’s the opposite. My writing is going so well that’s all I want to do. I have been known to get annoyed when a client comes to me and asks me to format a book for them because all I want to do is write. Of course, when I don’t have any formatting clients, I get anxious that I’ll never have another one and can’t concentrate on my writing. Basically, I can’t win.
But that’s when I turn to something else — something like teaching, or marketing, or coaching. There is always something else that needs to be done!
Right now, though, I’m really excited about my new podcast — you should absolutely listen to it! It’s going to be a lot of fun and you’ll learn a lot too! And don’t worry, it’s not just me talking. It’s a conversation between a newbie writer and me discussing how to write, self-publish, and market your book. You couldn’t get any better!
So, join us every Friday. Subscribe to it. You’ll find it wherever you listen to podcasts!
And tell me what secondary occupation you have! What do you do besides writing?