As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. My earliest imaginings had me as a successful author, wealthy enough to live a reclusive life in a big house in the country. Back then, it wasn’t an entirely unrealistic dream; authors could make big bucks.
A few decades later, and I’m told things are very different. Less books are getting published, advances are pretty much non-existent and publishers don’t throw their marketing budgets behind a project unless they’re sure it will sell; which is why you see a lot of high profile books with celebrity names or sequels to very successful books.
When I tell people that I write for the 9-12 age group, it’s common for them to say something like, ‘Oh! You could be the next J.K. Rowling!’ I always say, ‘Well, wouldn’t that be nice!’ but the chance of achieving that kind of success is minuscule.
The reality is more as described by Jon Mayhew in the Children’s Writers and Artists Yearbook 2015, where even as an award winning author of several children’s books he still makes more than half his money from school visits, appearances and the like.
So, a few months ago I put my thinking cap on as to what I could do to enable me to keep on doing the thing that makes my soul sing, writing, whilst also bringing some money into the household budget. I’ve read Alfie Slider to 90+ school children, and am working on developing workshops that I can take to other venues.
I’ve also started working on a business idea that will launch soon – watch this space. It’s an idea that makes me want to jump up and down with excitement, and whenever I’ve explained it to other people I see their eyes light up too.
Money isn’t the measure of a successful life, happiness is. Since I started writing full time in September 2015 I’ve felt the most fulfilled from work that I ever have and each new challenge only increases that. By all the important measures, my writing career is already a success, and I’m incredibly grateful for it but I must admit I am looking forward to the first ‘paycheck’.