Okay, I know I’ve harped on about my dissatisfaction with the fact that my writing has not resulted in my ability to support myself.
Most of the time, I’m actually fine with it. Sometimes, though, I get all in my head about it. That terrible little gremlin that lives there tells me that I haven’t sold many copies because I’m a terrible writer, and a terrible person, and my lack of success with writing is a direct result of karma, and I deserve to languish. Forever.
Listen, my brain is a massive arsehole when it wants to be.
Whether or not this voice is right, I have received some funds from my writing, and that’s not nothing. Sure, it’s an occasional cup of hot-chocolate’s worth, but that’s still not nothing.
The truth is, I’m not sure how to turn this love of my life into something that will support me as much as I support it. It doesn’t help that no one knows, really. There have been more articles than I care to mention about how no one, even those in the business, really know what makes a book hit it big.
My preliminary research into book marketing has been frustrating, to say the least.
There are a few things about my writing that will remain true:
The first, is that I’m not particularly interested in self-publishing. I’ve been there, done that. It was too much for me, producing a book from start to finish. It’s long, and expensive (because I lack the ability to self-edit, book cover design skills or formatting skills, and so outsource those particular tasks). I’m very happy for someone else to take that on, and leaving me out of the responsibility and the expense.
The second is that I will always want writing to be my primary function in life and work. I couldn’t stop writing even if I wanted to. I’d go mad. I might one day get too frustrated with the publishing scene to want to continue trying to get published. In that case, when I die, there will be probably be manuscripts or parts of manuscripts stuffed into every available space in my abode for my beneficiaries to deal with. I apologise in advance.
The last is that my writing might never get me where I want, and also that I swing violently between okay with that and wildly, irredeemably, unreasonably upset about it all.
I’ve been trying to wrack my brains to come up with some sort of strategy that will give me greater chances of success beyond the typical:
- Write book
- Acquire agent
There must be something more I can do.
More research is needed. I’ve a lot of work ahead of me. But I’m reading up on book marketing, and other ways to make money with my fiction. I might even be able to leverage my other projects (more on that later) to help out here.
One option that keeps coming up is Patreon. I’m giving it some serious thought, but I can’t quite figure out a way to make it work for me that doesn’t involve self-publishing, which, no. I am thinking about it, though. I’m trying to think of ways I could make it work that don’t make me feel all icky.
Another thing that might help is “Book Tube.” It’s literally just a YouTube niche that’s all about books - from reviews of specific books and book clubs, to writing advice and coaching. The thought of being in front of a camera a lot gives me the hives, and I’m not really the sort of writer that anyone should take any sort of coaching from. But what I can do are video essays - I don’t have to appear on camera for those. Just some pretty images and a voice over. I can also maybe do some actual vlogging about any conventions, book launches or trips I go on that have anything to do with my writing life.
I do plan on leveraging YouTube. I’ve already started to make changes to my channel, which is currently a graveyard of YouTubing attempts and an archive of my gaming efforts.
Like making a living from writing, any success I get on YouTube will be down to luck, really. Still, the chance that some income might one day be a possibility from this platform makes it worth a proper shot. I’ve never been lucky, so I’m not expecting anything, but I’ll give it a shot in any case.
If I’m very diligent, I will be able to re-launch my much-cleaned up YouTube channel before the year is out.
Well, I have to get to work. Wish me luck.