Budding Authors: Don’t Be Fooled!

If you spend more than two seconds on FB and other social media, you have no doubt come across at least one sponsored ad post announcing how, for just a nominal fee, you too can begin making extra money by writing books.

Where do I even begin with this crock of crap? *insert eye roll here*

Okay, so the first thing you are probably asking yourself when seeing these ads (or at the first hing you should be asking yourself when seeing them) is: if making extra bucks being a writer is so easy, then why are you so eager to tell me how to do it? Why aren’t you out there writing books and making extra cash instead of trying to teach others to essentially become your competition?

There were over 100m new books uploaded to Amazon just in 2018 alone. What could these “gurus” possibly be teaching that literally tens of millions of other authors do not know? 

Here’s the quick and simple answer to these questions:

First, they are not making money by writing books. They are making money off of gullible people who are all looking for that pie-in-the-sky promise to quick and easy money. Sure, they probably have a few books out there for show, but they are basically making their money off of you, not by writing earth-shattering novels that people are flocking to in droves.

 

“There are only so many spaces at the top, and chances of you landing in one of them without

a ton of hard-work & a whole lot of books under your belt are slim-to-none.” – unknown author

 

Second, there is absolutely nothing easy about being a writer.

Third, here’s what all these “gurus” aren’t telling you:

  1. Writing the book is just the first step. If you independently publish, you will still need to vet and hire a developmental editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, a book formatter for all the different platforms, and a cover artist.
  2. Thanks to all the basement-built “companies” sprouting up all over the place and put together by work-at-home moms trying to cash in on the “writing boom,” you have to know enough about all the different aspects of each of the above mentioned professional jobs to be able to properly vet and hire someone who actually knows what they are doing, rather than hiring someone who is just blowing smoke. And here’s a little hint – just because they have a large client list doesn’t mean they actually know what they are doing. With several million authors out there now, it’s easy for even the absolutely worst businesses to still turn a profit and boast a large client list.
  3. Writing isn’t cheap. Contrary to what everyone tries to tell you, it can take upwards of $10,000 (yes, that’s right, ten grand) to properly produce a quality product. Note I said quality.
  4. If you want to actually make money as a writer, you have to treat writing like a business. That means you have to learn to market everything yourself, and you also have to have a lot of disposable income to invest in marketing in order to compete with the heavy-hitters in your genre(s). And if you don’t know anything about marketing, do not want to learn, or do not have the time to learn, be prepared to come off even more cash as you plow through the PR firms and companies trying to find one that actually knows what they are doing and proves that they can turn your latest adventure into a profitable book.
  5. Unfortunately, just writing a good book isn’t going to make you any money. No one is going to buy a book if they do not know it exists. And marketing, at least in this day and age, is super difficult. Thanks to Amazon, all writers are being forced to compete with literally tens of millions of “first, rough-draft” books, a lot of which are burning up the charts on Amazon. You may ask yourself – if these bad books are making money, then why can’t I do the same? Well, if you have a few hundred grand sitting around to piss away, you can. Some of the most predominant authors in the romance and PNR categories have admitted to spending a hundred thousand dollars or more each year just on Amazon ads. Even the smaller authors who write in a very small niche spend upwards of $50K or more each year on Amazon ads, and that’s not counting the BookBub deals and all the other marketing that goes along with it. These days, it’s more pay-to-play, with those authors who have the cash to burn being just about the only ones who are able to claw out a space for themselves and keep their hold on the market. Thanks to Amazon, being a good author no longer means you can find an audience – it’s all about who has the largest bank account and can buy their way into a large fan base.

The takeaway for this is simple: if it sounds too good to be true, it properly is. “Make money writing books” is just the latest in an ever-evolving line of get-rich-quick money-making schemes.

Here’s a truth bomb: If I had figured out a way to make a nice chunk of change by writing books (or doing anything else for that matter), then the last thing I am going to do is sell my secret to others, create more competition for myself, and basically run myself out of business. But if I can find a few thousand people who buys my load of BS, then I’m sitting pretty with a fat bank account. Sound familiar?

And that, my friends, is why you need to ask the tough questions.

 

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