Thursday, August 7, 2014

How To Make A Living As A Writer. Part #2 Don't Compare, Compete & Create.

Part #2: Don't Compare, Compete & Create. 

Here we go again. You are over there, I am over here…we should so hang out. But there is a problem, you have a cool car and nice hair, I on the other hand… well don't. 

Sounds silly yes. But that is what a lot of Indie authors do. They look at what some other author is doing and their personal expectations go through the roof. H.M. Ward sells over 4 million in one year, CJ Lyons kills it and Bella Andre is unstoppable. So instead of writing because we love to write, instead of putting our heads down and working the plan we get caught up in the compare game. 

Avoid this trap if you really want to make money as a writer. Remember when you worked a regular job? Yeah, 12 $ an hour. Now you want to make millions and work 20 hours a week? Wait…you are telling me that you want to make more than a doctor, more than most any job out there and do it from your recliner? Seriously? I bet before you began writing if I told you that you could make ANY money writing you would have been blown away. So stop comparing. You are you, they are they. 

"Be content but never satisfied." 

If you had to choose an author that you feel is competing with you on a head to head level. Meaning that someone could buy their book instead of yours. If you name anyone besides a big name author like Tom Clancy you are missing the mark. I know this sounds like I didn't read the first part of this post but comparing and competing are different. 

I am competing with James Patterson. My covers have to be better than his, my eBook layout and print files must blow his away. Why are you trying to out sell some other Indie? I know that this sounds bad but most of the Indie published authors don't sell and they are panicked and fighting for the scraps. Don't even play in the playground. One thing people like Hugh Howie do is they are trend setters, they make new rules. 

Here are some questions you can answer to find out if you are competing against the big boys or not. If you answer YES to any of these you could be falling short. 
1. Did you make your own book cover?
2. Do you publish with Smashwords?
3. Did you do your own eBook conversion?

And if you answer NO to the following:
4. Do you have a Newsletter?
5. Do you have live book links in the back of all your books?
6. Do you change your keywords every month?
7. Do you have your book in Audio, Print?
8. Is your book in libraries? 
9. Do you spend money promoting your book? 

"You are only limited my your own fears, and or a lack of skill."

We are all writers and creatives but sometimes this hurts us. We feel like we have to come up with the next best idea and write a book that is so out there that people stare and wonder at how smart and creative we are. NO! Look, it has all been done and take it from me, as a publisher one of the hardest books to sell is one that is different. Amazon and other stores have keywords and categories and if your book if so different that there is no place for it you can run into a wall. 

Tell a story. That is all you have to do. Most all chick flicks are the same and have been for years. Boy meets girl, they hate each other and something happens, they fall in love but one of them lied…oh no! The other finds out, they break up and there is music and flashbacks to when things were good. Now they get back together in the end and kiss in the rain or in the street. Guess what? They still sell! Sometimes being the same but different is a good thing.

"You are not special--if more parents told the truth, we wouldn't have American Idol." 

Making a living as a writer is easy as long as you can take off the writer hat and put on the business hat.  
Hope this helps and as always… nah I'll tell you next time.

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. So do you make your own covers? They are all so different, I really like "The Naturals" and the "Airel" series (not so keen on the Steele ones). For me covers are important and it's one of the things I really miss on my kindle that I can't see the cover well or often enough.

    Great article by the way - lime many people I'm dreaming of becoming an author - it's not gonna happen but it's great to read this and think I maybe could do this lol

  2. Totally agree its not about trying to compete with the big writer, its about have an idea in your head and putting in to paper. Thanks for the insightful advice.