Book Plug Friday! Seven Steps to Make Money From Writing

[Sarah says:] I presume if you’re writing indie, you’re doing it to make money.  Maybe you’re not.  People write for all sorts of crazy reasons, from having decided at six that they were going to be writers, to their mommy wanting them to be writers, to wanting fame, acclaim and honorary degrees.


Heck, the times are changing and maybe you can get all of those and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

But right now, and particularly if you’re a PJMedia reader, your best chance is at money.

Sure, there will be other reasons.  For instance, I want to make money, and at this point, after staying home to raise the kids (now young men, thank you so much) my writing cred is all I have.  The multilingual scientific translation is a thing of the past since I’m now losing my Portuguese (I found out recently I’m not unique, but yeah, there are disturbing implications.)

However, I also enjoy writing more than I ever enjoyed translation.  I like making up stuff, and if I don’t do it for fiction, I start feeling the need to invent really big lies, which as you know doesn’t pay outside fiction, unless you work for the MSM.  And working for the MSM would be bad for my soul.

So, yeah, it’s more than money.

It’s probably more than money for you too, because if it weren’t you’d be doing something easier like running for office, or being a bureaucrat somewhere.

However, no matter whether you want to do it for fame, plaudits, or to spread your message, money is a really good measuring device for how many people you’re reaching.  And you’re not going to get fame or spread your message unless you also are reaching a lot of people.

So, how do you make money from writing?

First, divest yourself of illusions.  When I started out I had this bizarre ball of ideas about what constituted “good writing.”  Most of this was stuff my professors had thrown at me during my education, and yeah, a good bit of it was undigested Marxist crap.


So, if you have illusions that you need to have such and such symbolism, speak for the downtrodden, or whatever, get rid of them now.  If you actually turn your book into a billboard or a lecture, it won’t sell.

Second, go look at what is selling.  Now, don’t be a dummy.  Yeah, some books published by big people make a lot of money/sales because they are pushed out the wazoo (which is a place in most publishing offices.)  Your little indie book won’t have that.  You have to get word of mouth.  So go look at indie books that are selling really well (most of them have no publisher name or are one-writer presses is how you tell.) Then decide which of these you can write.  No, I don’t mean just hooking words together.  If you’re going to make money from this, it has to be something you want to write, or at least don’t hate.  For instance, I was once offered real cash money, at a time I was desperate.  All I had to do was write a political thriller and never talk about it.  The author who was contracted to do it was very ill, so the agents were hiring someone competent to write the book.  Problem is I wasn’t competent to do that.  I had no interest in reading the previous books, and I certainly couldn’t come up with a plot about “the corridors of power.”  So I passed on it, and thank heavens I got a similar one for an historical fantasy which kept us in mortgage.

There are books you can’t write.  If you think the book is stupid, if you think it’s going to be easy, if you look down on the readers of that genre or subgenre, then don’t write it.  You’ll fall on your face and annoy everyone.


Find a book you can write.

Three, read a lot of books in that genre, so you get a range for what is expected.  Unless it’s already your favorite one.

Four, write.  Write a lot.  Three or four books a year are a good idea.  No, please, don’t tell me no one can write four decent books a year.  People write more.

Five, put out eight books.  If you’re not selling by the fourth, and your numbers aren’t increasing, figure out why not.  Maybe your book doesn’t actually fit the genre as well as you thought.  Maybe you’re getting big competition from the big houses.  Adjust your strategy.  Hint, unless you’re actually physically incapable of making sense in writing, the answer is probably not “I’m not good enough.”  The proof of this is that there are many people who aren’t good enough and are making a mint. There always were.

Six, network.  Someone else in your network will help you figure out what you’re doing wrong, whether it’s blurbs, covers, or whatever.

Seven, write.

FROM MICHAEL MAYO:  Alex Walker and the Circus of Secrets (The Adventures of Alex Walker Book 1). The book is the first of a series about a young boy who discovers he has the power to understand all animals’ speech and that because of this, he is seen by them as “The One,” the legendary human who would end mankind’s cruelty against them.






FROM KEVIN W. BATES: Crossing The Border. Peter Gillen is fleeing his past. Rose Horne is seeking her future. Private BT O’Connell is serving his country and trying to forget a lost love. They are all headed to the Lost Land. In an alternate universe, religious refugees who were fleeing persecution in the U.S. established a home in Mexican territory—the Great Basin of the western North American continent. In this land purchased from Mexico and never integrated into the United States, the refugees flourished. Their state, widely known in the U.S. as the Lost Land, has survived three U.S. invasion attempts. Now, the U.S. threatens the Lost Land once again with open probing actions and a secret plan for its destruction. While international tensions mount and violence in the U.S. escalates, the Lost Land summons its people home and the U.S. closes the border. Amid this swirling chaos and hunted by human predators, Peter, Rose and BT embark on a harrowing journey in the wilderness to cross the border and save the Lost Land from annihilation.

FROM DAVID WELCHTales of the Far Wanderers. To Gunnar of the Tarn life is wandering. A half-breed with no home to return to, he has escaped the endless wars of his father’s people to drift through the vastness of a land once known as North America. Slow to trust and swift with a sword, he had resigned himself to a lonely, itinerant life. That all changes the day he meets Kamith of the Red Horse. The last of her kind, Kamith barely escapes being sacrificed and joins Gunnar in his wanderings. Together, they will try to build some sort of life in a wild and brutal world. Mad priests, crazy fertility rituals, roving slavers, land-hungry kingdoms, desperate sieges, sprawling civil wars, and deranged warriors are only a few of the challenges they’ll face. Their only reward? To survive and live another day by each other’s side.


Inspired by the sword-slinging pulp heroes of old, this story cycle tells the tales of two vagabonds spurned by the world, and forced to fight off its madness at every step. But they’re nothing if not tough, and find in each other much to fight for, and to live for…

FROM MIGUEL FLIGUER:  Cooking With Lovecraft: Supernatural Horror In The Kitchen.

TL;DR: Get this book and prepare to be deliciously horrified.

The book of which S.T. Joshi wrote “As a contribution to Lovecraftian humour, it ranks very high… a delightful compilation.“; and that W.H. Pugmyr described as “… a real treat, deliciously delightful.

Cooking With Lovecraft is a collection of short gastronomical weird tales, that will also give you directions to make real, tested, delicious dishes. Sometimes the recipe will be just an excuse for the story, sometimes the other way around, and occasionally there won’t be no recipe at all. Most of the stories are tongue-in-cheek, even outright silly, as an affectionate tribute to Lovecraft and the Mythos; but a couple of tales are a bit different.

And this is not your typical “Lovecraftian cookbook” full of inedible witches’ potions. All recipes here are real food, tested and tasted by friends and family, and fairly easy to make.

You will find treats like “Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut” (diary of the cook at the U-29 from “The Temple“); “Anziques Kebab“; “Gulab Jamun“; extra-crispy “Fried Honey-Garlic Chicken of Tindalos“; the Jermyn family recipe for “Banana Bread“; and Theodorus Philetas’ Necronomicon “Spanakopita.”


There is also a spine-chilling take on Robert Bloch (“How I Fed Your Mother“); an alternate-history riff (“The Horror From The Ice-Cream“); straight-out retellings of Lovecraft classics (“The Feastival“, “Commonplace Cookbook“, “The Flavor Out Of Space” and “The Uneatable“); a Kafka/Zappa pastiche (“The Dangerous Kitchen“); and much, much more for your literary and culinary pleasures.

FROM CLAYTON BARNET:  The Fourth Law. 23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time. Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely-functional smaller states, and vast swathes of barbarian badlands. Her sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead. Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd, but dear friend, whom she met online: a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image. Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seeks only a quiet, normal life. But, that past and her present conspire against her. A new Morning has come, and with it, delights and terrors, happiness and adversity.


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