The Secret to Launching a Career in Writing

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jun 22, 2018

Jun 22, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

So you wrote the new book and now it's published. Do you sit back and wait for the royalties? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The only way your book can sell is if you have readers. But gaining readers is easier said than done.

Today, you can't just take a year to write a book and immediately launch a successful career as a published author. And since so many authors are self-published, tasks such as editing and marketing fall into the writer's hands.

There are ways you can jumpstart your writing career, work for yourself as a writer, appeal to readers and gain success from your book. If you strive for a career in writing, here's how to profit from your book.

Write Your Book

This may seem silly to include, but to launch a career in writing you need to write your book. Seriously, write your book. Don't procrastinate. Don't put off that second draft and fix those errors.

Follow all cliche writing advice: draft everything, give yourself a timetable and write for 20 minutes each day.

The saying is true: the hardest part of writing is writing. There are easy ways to get published and attract readership, but the hardest hurdle to conquer is actually finishing that book.

How do you overcome your procrastination? Find where you struggle. For some writers, it's getting started. For other writers, it's staying organized. And plenty of writers hate the editing and drafting process.

But many writers also have one major struggle: fear. Judgments from readers and critics are enough for writers to hide at the thought of typing out that novel idea plaguing their mind.

Competition is another factor that discourages writers.

We all know that one colleague who seems to get a publishing contract and earns the New York Times Bestselling Author status in one day. But try and focus on yourself and bring your books to life.

Publishing Matters

Now the book is written, edited, and you're ready for the next step: publication. So you send out some query letters and hope your dream publisher reaches out.

Now with self-publishing options, more writers are preferring control over their books and their marketing efforts.

But each publishing method has pros and cons. Here's a breakdown of each.

Going With a Publisher

If you sent out some manuscripts and scored a publishing contract, you deserve a medal -- especially if you landed the deal on your first book.

Publishers receive hundreds and thousands of queries every year. If they saw something in you and your book, your idea must be amazing. Or, you got a lucky break.

But for the rest of us, you'll have to first sign a contract with a literary agent. These professionals have many connections with major publishers and can promote your book.

If you contact major publishers yourself, your queries are considered "unsolicited" and won't be taken as seriously.

But even gaining a contract with a literary agent is difficult. Agents also receive hundreds and thousands of queries. You'll have better luck catching an agent's eye, but it's still a challenge.

Now let's say you achieve this goal, you get with a major publisher, and your book is now published.

Is your job done? Nope -- you need to attend book signings, TV and radio appearances, and keep up with any critic reviews.

Self-Publishing

What was once a stigmatized method of publishing is now one of the most accepted and recommended forms of publishing -- especially for first-time authors.

Self-publishing offers an easy way to make your book available to the public.

Today, many readers get their literary fix by searching Amazon and other online retailers.

There are plenty of publishing options in both print and digital formats. The publishing platforms will take a cut of your pay, but you'll receive the bulk of the profit.

Now the most major drawback is marketing your book.

Unless you know the ins and outs of the industry, marketing your book is difficult. Since you don't have a middle person, those book signing and TV appearance opportunities are slim to none.

If you decide to self-publish, do your best. Start a blog, stay active on social media, attend conferences and conventions, and connect with other leaders in the industry.

As you grow as a professional writer, you'll learn some tips and tricks that will make you more successful.

Reach Out to Your Readers

Have you ever attended a concert and the singer (or musician with the microphone) thanks the crowd, saying they wouldn't be here without the fans?

Even though you're not on stage looking amongst a huge crowd, the same mindset applies as a writer.

Without your readers, you wouldn't have a successful writing career. Regardless of whether you're with a major publisher or you self-publish, your readers are everything to your career. So connect with your readers as much as you can.

Respond to fan mail, emails, and social media messages. During book signings, be as personable as possible.

If you're self-published, you have more ways to offer rewards. This includes regular book sales, free signing with a book purchase, or maybe a complimentary story or book preview.

Connect With Other Writers

Finally, a writer's backbone is their network of other writers. Keep your writer colleagues as support.

Say you're stuck with a bad case of writer's block or you're book sales aren't performing as well. Your writing group can help you overcome any obstacles.

In addition, offer support to other writers. This is especially true if you become an experienced writer and you meet an aspiring author. Offer assistance and help them with their career.

Now You Know How to Launch a Career in Writing

If writing is in your blood, a career in writing seems like a dream. But this dream can easily be a reality. All you have to do is kick yourself in the butt, finish that book and get published.

But book sales matter and you need to know all of the ways to market your book and reach out to readers.

For more writing career advice, visit our resources.