By Shannon

We don’t have to go to school, eat all our
vegetables or do what anybody says just
because they say so. We can buy all the
sugary cereals we want (so says the giant box
of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my pantry),
stay up way past our bedtime and watch R-
rated movies.
But being an adult also has its downfalls.
All the things we dreamed of as children —
careers, houses, cars, etc. — come with hefty
price tags.
As a kid I had this board game called “Payday” that I absolutely loved. Players moved their pieces through a calendar month, trying to make money with risky investments while also paying for bills, groceries, and other incidentals depending on what spaces you landed on during the course of the game.
The goal was to get to the end of the month
without going broke so you could get your
“Payday” and start the month all over again.
I couldn’t figure out why my parents hated
playing that game with me until a few years
ago when my pal Toni hunted down a copy for
my birthday so we could relive our glory
Five minutes in, I realized some sick
individual had made a game out of every
adult’s struggles to earn money while
covering our financial responsibilities.
That’s not a game, that’s just called being a
responsible grown-up and it blows.
What weirdo would make that into a fun
activity for kids?
How do you pay your bills, bills, bills?
Are you working nine to five (what a way to
make a living), at a full-time job outside of
writing? A lot of us author folks have no
choice but to work at a real job so we can
find a way to pay for the roofs over our
heads, clothes on our backs and food on our
But what if things were different?
What if we could all achieve that golden
dream of actually doing what we love for a
The good news is it’s possible. The bad
news is, it ain’t easy.
To help you figure out if a financially
successful author career is for you, we’ve
put together six laws you must abide by if
you want a shot at having your cake and
eating it, too.

Start by figuring out how much money you
need to make each month to sustain
yourself. Don’t just add in the bills,
groceries, and gas – you have to have some
spending money as well (everybody needs a
movie ticket, new CD or new purse every once
in a while!).
Understand that while it may be
unreasonable to hope for Twilight-level
revenues, you can aim for and achieve a
decent monthly income with moderate sales,
but only if you learn to…

Making the jump from writing as a hobby
to writing as a career requires a change
in mindset. Leave behind the notion that
writing is a passion you squeeze into your
spare time and acknowledge that you are
running a business.
You will have to get hands-on with all facets
of your career, not just the writing part.
From proofreading and editing to public
relations and marketing, you are the CEO
who makes the decision. Educate yourself
as much as possible so you can run your
business with the confidence of a visionary
What’s your first decision as CEO? Long
term success requires a line of products, not
just one.

One book isn’t going to cut it. The best
business model for a career author
involves multiple books spaced out so that
each one builds off the momentum of the
last one like falling dominoes. Hook your
readers in with one book and keep them
coming back for more to sustain long term
sales and growth.
Your books don’t have to be part of a series,
but your genre and writing styles should be
similar so that your author brand becomes
familiar to your readers.
Not sure how you will have the time to do all
that? That’s why it’s a full-time job.

When you announce to your family that
you’re going to become a full-time author,
they will assume you plan to spend your days
sleeping in and shopping at Target. But right
in line with Law #2, a successful author has
to treat his/her career as a business and put
in the time accordingly.
You might not work from nine to five, but
you’ll definitely find at minimum that
forty hours a week split between
marketing and writing is necessary. You
may even need to put in a little more time,
especially in the beginning, to get your blog/
website/social media tools in order so that
you can begin building the foundation of your
writing career.
Don’t like marketing? Tough cookies, my

For career authors, marketing and writing
go hand-in-hand. You can’t get around it, so
just accept right now that you will have to
take the lead in promoting your books on and
off the internet. It will soak up part of your
writing time and drain some of your
resources, but it’s necessary.
Because it’s a required component, it’s best
to adopt a positive attitude about it from
the get-go and learn how to love your
marketing. It helps if you work on forming
relationships with your fans, instead of
feeling like you constantly have to sell to
them. Engage first, sell later!
And what happens on the days when you
just don’t feel like it’s working?

Take the word “impossible” and toss it out
of your lexicon right now. If you plan to be
a career author you have to work hard for
that dream every day, rain or shine. It won’t
be easy, but it’s your dream and if you’re
willing to work for it, it can be achieved.
Push yourself and on the days when you run
out of energy, make sure you have a good
support team around you who will step in to
keep pushing.
If you can dream it, you can do it!
Being a full-time, financially successful
author is definitely within your realm of
possibility if you follow these six laws (and
probably a few more we haven’t thought of).
Are you currently trying to make it as a
full-time author or do you know someone
who is? What lessons have you learned along
the way? What would you do differently if
you had the chance?
If you’re dreaming of leaving your day job to
become a full-timer, what’s
holding you back? What goals can you set
for yourself to move closer to your

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