Friday, August 29, 2008

_The Career Novelist_: Don't quit your day job too soon

I am still enjoying The Career Novelist. It's filled with audacious ideas, when you approach it as someone who always-wanted-to-be-a-novelist-with-10,000-maniac-fans-and-a-pony. I just finished a chapter that's all about advising you not to quit your day job too soon.

Maas advises you to wait until your royalties pay enough to cover your expenses. This makes a lot of sense. Other writing monies, especially advances, are more likely to fluctuate.

He also advises getting 3 to 5 books in print and selling well first...saying that this is a strong indicator you've got a tidy authorial brand going, a long-term business. And he admits people aren't likely to follow his advice...that they make this decision from excitement and from the heart.

This is an exciting idea and scary way to think. Why plan on writing one novel? Let's dream about the day when you've got five novels in print and making money at the same time.

But heck, if you don't dream about it, plan for it, how will you ever get there? It's not like I haven't thought this way all my life. But Maas's expression of this is very practical. I know I always saw myself as a published novelist, but I don't think I thought about what it would really take to make a living from novels. Developing a string of books and a loyal readership will take years, and that's what you need to make noveling pay the bills.

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