How did Shawn Jones become a full-time writer?
December 12, 2014
A Guest Blog from Shawn Jones
How did I go from self-published to full-time writer in six months?
Sacrifice and commitment.
Before publishing Warrior’s Scar, I researched my target audience and the market. What I found after crunching the numbers, was that the Kindle market has access to more than ninety-five percent of my prospective readers. Kindle also dominates the eReader market. As much as seventy-five percent of all eBook purchases are through Amazon. So I drank their Kool-aid and published using the KDP Select program, making my books exclusive to Amazon, but doubling my royalties to seventy percent.
Next, I trimmed nearly every ounce of fat from my budget. I went from cable, to streaming and an HD antenna. I cut back my phone data plan since I am now at home full time and have more wifi access. I went down one tier on my ISP speed. Driving fewer miles meant lower car insurance and a lower gasoline bill. That was a huge savings. I went from filling my truck twice a week to filling it twice every three months. I quit paying a yard guy. Date night was cut back to once a month.
The remaining expenses made up my bare minimum income requirement for each month. I added twenty-five percent to that number to cover taxes, and to put a little in savings. That number was how much I have to make each month to be a successful writer.
The only thing left was selling books. I push them in reading communities. I blog. I peddle them on Twitter, G+, and now both Ello and Tsu. I talk about them at the grocery store checkout. I have t-shirts with my covers printed on them. I toot my own horn. Because here’s the thing, I am the greatest writer since Homer, and if you don’t realize that, buy another one of my books and it will change your mind.
The point is, you have to want it, and you have to believe in yourself. You have to overcome shyness and tell people you write. You have to show off your new cover to your friends. You have to shout to the world that you are a writer. As indies, we don’t have a marketing department doing that for us. We have to do it ourselves.
Finally, get paid. You can have ten million readers, and if you don’t get paid by them, you aren’t a professional writer. Some people say you have to give your work away to get noticed. That’s great if writing is just a hobby. If it’s no different than crocheting a doily for a friend, then by all means, give the blood you write with to anyone who will take it. But I’m a professional writer. If you want to read my work, you have to pay me for it. This is the most important thing I can say to anyone who wants to write. Get paid. If you don’t get paid, you are not a professional writer. I could repeat that sentence twenty times.
Now, go out there and buy my books. It’s the best decision you will make all day.