Life as a jobbing writer

Back when I was 8-years-old and my first ever piece of writing was published (My Cat, a poem that was included in the Anthology Poems by the Children and People of Bracknell), I imagined that life as a writer was pretty cushy. You wrote an amazing book, someone paid you a fortune for the privilege of publishing it, and then you flounced around the place being lauded and cherished for your brilliance. Turns out, real life isn’t like that.

Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter was published in January, and although I’ve had payment for the direct sales I’ve made, I won’t get any royalties for copies that were bought from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks or through ‘real’ bookshops until later this month. In fact, at the moment, I don’t know how many copies I’ve sold.

I knew that sales alone weren’t going to generate me an income, so I started contacting schools, libraries and other such places to see if they’d like me to go and visit; but of course the schedules for those kinds of things are planned well in advance so, while people are interested, they won’t be able to slot me in until next year, or later.

My motto has always been: Start where you are, use what you’ve got, do what you can. Being a qualified fundraising consultant as well as a writer, I wondered if perhaps I could get some grant money, so that I could offer schools free author visits, rather than tying up their budgets. Research is currently underway on that one, but watch this space.

In the meantime, I am using my skills to earn money in other ways – I’ve edited work for other writers, and I offer a critiquing service too. I’m writing blog posts for a whole range of freelance clients, mostly through copy-writing portals, but I’ve also had some direct approaches; and today I did a test piece for a transcription service. That work involves listening to audio recordings of meetings and writing them up, sometimes verbatim and other times giving them a bit of the old polish so they read more naturally.

These are the things that will keep the wolf from the door (and hopefully mean I can be there at school drop off and pick up every day for my kids) until someone finally realises my genius, and starts lauding, cherishing and paying me squillions to do what I love.

Fingers crossed 🙂

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