If you’re planning to become a book author and turn it into a career, you need to be prepared to face 5 scary truths about the profession. Don’t take it the wrong way: becoming a successful author is rewarding and yes, it can be lucrative. But before you get to that point, you need to keep the following in mind:
1. You Can’t Turn It Into a Day Job
…at least, not right off the bat. The industry is difficult to break into, and once you do manage to break through, you’ll find that it’s very competitive. You need to have something else that will pay the bills and feed your family while you’re waiting for your career as an author to take off. Ideally, you can get a job related to writing – such as copyediting, technical writing, business writing – and make that your day job while you pursue being an author on the side.
2. Your Work Will Be Criticized by Amateur and Professional Critics
Having an ego is normal, but you need to develop a thick skin if you plan on being an author. You could consider your work perfect, but critics will find something wrong with it, because that’s their job. Don’t take it personally. It’s easy to say but not being affected by criticisms becomes harder once you realize that your work can be torn apart even by people who aren’t even providing valid criticisms. Trying to get back at these reviewers will only reflect badly on you, so suck it up and try to see if there’s feedback that you can use to better your craft. Ignore the rest.
3. You Have To Learn Skills Not Related to Writing
If you’re publishing traditionally, your agent and your publisher will look after you, but depending on them all the time is asking for trouble (especially since you can’t be sure that they won’t be the ones who will take advantage of you). You need to learn how to read contracts, do basic accounting, and even brush up on Intellectual Property Rights law. None of these things are part of a writer’s skillset, but they’re incredibly important if you want to avoid lawsuits in the future or just to ensure that you’re receiving the correct amount of royalties.
4. You’ll Need to Compromise Your Vision
There are successful authors who pretty much get their way when it comes to their work, but it’s likely that they took a long time to get to that point. If you’re successful enough that your name on the cover is usually more important than what’s written inside, publishers might give you more leeway. But if you’re just starting out as an author, you have to understand that you could be required to change a lot of things in your works, make concessions, in order to make your book marketable.
5. There is No Immediate Reward
Last but not the least, when you become an author and you turn it into a career, you need to accept that you are in it for the long haul and you have to work at it because things take time. You won’t land a book deal immediately, your royalties take months to arrive from the time the books hit the shelves, and even if you are really good, you won’t get rich and famous overnight. If you really want to make a career out of being an author, you have to be patient enough to wait, and create other income streams that will pay the bills while waiting for your career to take off.
Image credit: Jelle on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]