When you’re trying to make a living as a writer, it can seem at times that you live in a pretty merciless world.
Being a writer is not just about making money - but without money, things get very tough indeed. There is no forgiveness for insolvency from society. So what can you individually do to improve the state of your operations as a writer?
If you are sincerely trying to write as a living, you’re probably working extremely hard already. To be told that you have to do more is not an easy thing to hear. But the truth is that, unless you do something, the harsh financial facts of life will catch up with you.
To have high financial volume as a writer, you need to
(a) Create like crazy within established patterns
This isn’t about distracting others with new projects or ‘bright ideas’ -do what you know works, but do it with style! Use your initiative in handling story problems. The best solutions are already built into genre patterns, but they need your life and energy to make them work.
Design characters who will excite your readers; organise a superb presentation; arrange for readers to see a new project. You have fantastic imagination and skills - use them!
(b) Make it a pleasant and happy thing to work in your environment
Make it worthwhile to be a writer with all that you do and say. Look around - there are many highly competent people also striving to do their thing. Treat each other with courtesy and respect.
(c) See that results get rendered to readers on a highly personal basis.
Always try to give good service. If you keep a website to display your work, look at the reader responses every week and see how they look and act accordingly.
(d) Don’t spread bad rumours
Someday you might be a respected writer and will be looked to for advice. Right now, handle this by keeping your morale up and winning. A bad or over-critical atmosphere drives off and reduces morale - it’s no light problem.
(e) Ensure that the spirit of your work is recognisable in whatever you release.
The spirit of your work may be hard to pin down, and that’s probably as it should be. Go into agreement with the idea you're ‘just another writer’ and you've had it. Cultivate quality wherever you can. Be a rebel, a free thinker - and get results.
(f) Get lots of people moving through your social media platforms.
Make sure that lots of people move through your website, no matter whether they pay for anything or not. Work all the time, where you can, to move people through the pages you’ve put up. You have to make sure that you look after them enough so that visitors want to do more with you. That’s a really key point: when they arrive, service them!
Don't let anyone or anything turn people away: be friendly!
Don’t let readers get upset: be caring!
Don’t give anyone the impression you haven’t got time to listen to them: be safe!
Your instinct sometimes may be to keep things quiet. Don't let it happen. Just keep people pouring in and out, no matter how or for what.
Your first job is to see that people move through your pages and sites and build an operation that interests them and then to keep them moving through and increase the volume. All else, if other points here are in place, will follow.
Write to and for readers, e-mail them - a large volume of communication going out gets a large volume of answers coming in. Do your best to hold quality up and keep mistakes down - but get communication pouring out! Your social platforms should be a second home to your readers. Create an atmosphere which encourages them to linger; make it pleasant and the better option for them to stay. Keep the channels open for new people, no matter how crowded things get. However you get them in or why, do it.
Success in our society is unfortunately measured by quantities and material gains. You’re considered basically successful or unsuccessful by your balance sheets. It’s just a measure. But good income means good facilities, a cheerful future, and more successful writing.
You may not be in it for the money, but solvency is your best broad yardstick of consistent service and high activity and the quality of any operation is judged accordingly.
Given just these things, success is certain; given one or more of these poorly done and failure starts to creep in; given several out and there's no writing, no writer.
Given just these things, your reputation would be second-to-none, you would be happy to be successfully doing the thing you love, and your pockets would be overflowing.