While I'm sure the proper artist stance to take is that writing is an art and money is a filthy thing that should never cross your pure, creative mind, personally I'm awfully fond of it. I like eating and travelling and having pretty dresses. I also like writing stuff that other people read.
The stuff I write under my pen name is written to market. I write what I think will sell. I released the first book in what was going to be a new series in December. It didn't sell so I've start work on a new series. No personal investment, just maximising how I invest my time.
So, how do you make money writing fiction? I'm not the kind of person who'll give you 10 tips on how to succeed as a writer because I'd feel like a total wanker doing that. But, the key to making money is no big secret. Promotion.
I mean, you have to have a few things in place to start with - a decent story (not necessarily a masterpiece) and a professional looking product with an eye-catching cover.
I've been lucky with promotion lately. The first bit of luck was totally unplanned and unanticipated. I decided instead of having my books available exclusively on Amazon, I'd make them available on all major retailers. Then some magic internal promotion happened at itunes and I rocketed up the charts in some countries.
The funny thing was the big explosion in my sales happened when I was in Japan, at the Arashi concerts. So, instead of going crazy with joy, I looked at the sales numbers and thought they were a bit higher than usual. Then, about a week later, it registered in my brain that they were much, much higher than usual.
Then, just when that was dying down, I got accepted for an ad spot with the biggest promotion site for online book sales - Bookbub. :Promotions with these guys are insanely hard to get and they work like nothing else works. The promotion ran on Jan 26th and I'm still getting the ripples of follow on sales for my other books.
The upshot of this is that I have a lot of money due to me. I created a financial plan of sorts at the beginning of the year and the first level I wanted to hit was to have enough money to live frugally for the first 6 months of the year then to travel for the next 6 months.
I've hit that level. That means if I don't make a single cent more for the rest of the year, I have enough to live on. Of course, it helps that I do live very frugally. I'm not talking about a fortune here. But hey, it's the start of February and I'm ahead.