It’s a question we all have to ask ourselves at some point. And I know I’ve brought it up here more than once. But you really need to think hard about what it is you want as an author.
Do you want to write because not writing isn’t an option? Are you willing to spend the countless hours promoting and marketing and staying upbeat even when your book hasn’t sold a single copy in three months? Are you open to constructive feedback that will help improve your story and writing overall? Are you willing to do the actual work necessary to gather a loyal readership?
Are you dreaming of instant fame and fortune? Do you think your book should sell millions of copies within days of release? Do you look at editors with hate in your heart as they ‘destroy your work’ because they suggest a single change? Do you think the job of promotion/marketing is ‘beneath you’ and ‘someone else’s job’? Do you see the life of a published author nothing more than cocktail parties, tweed jackets with patches on the elbows, and pipes?
Are you in love with writing, or the image of an author?
There’s a huge difference. The image, quite frankly, can make a great Halloween costume. Might even try that one next year. The reality…most authors are not prepared for it.
The reality of being an author is a life where you write when the house is quiet, even if that’s at 3 am. It’s doing 1-3 day jobs to pay the bills. It’s learning there’s a difference between promoting and being a jerk who screams ‘BUY MY BOOK’ all day long. It’s being gracious when someone tells you they don’t read your genre. It’s not monopolizing the conversation about your book at the office holiday party. It’s being the type of person that makes people want to read your book over the one they avoid because the author’s a jackass.
It’s cultivating a readership, not demanding one. And that takes time.
Yes, your house will get dirty. Dishes might not get done as often, or the floors might not be swept. But, if you invest the time in a positive image, the payout will be amazing. It won’t happen in a day, week, or even a year. It’s a constant grind for what will seem like a lifetime. Eventually, though, you might get to where you can go down to just 1 day job. Some might even be able to stop working outside of writing entirely. Most won’t, but it does happen. In the meantime, you keep growing. As an author, as a person.
And that’s something we should all want.