Talk

Advanced search

To ask if any mumsnetters write for a living?

(151 Posts)
squishyeyeballs Thu 30-Jul-15 00:30:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RitaKiaOra Thu 30-Jul-15 00:51:08

Imperial blether is the person you need.
She also knows other novelists on here including the rather fantastic Fiona Jane Collins (sorry, I do not know her MN persona) but I read her chick lit and loved it.
Think many set a set time to it and just write/take off the rough edges later.
Or maybe stupid o'clock or when kids are in bed or a couple of hours if kids are in nursery. I could not do it with pre-schoolers, that's for sure! ignores number of mumsnet posts

RitaKiaOra Thu 30-Jul-15 00:54:11

Oh and if the AIBU was: to think there are other writers out there then No YANBU there are wink
If it was AIBU to think it's not possible to write whilst wrangling kids YAPNBU
(probably though some must do).
But....YABU to put this in AIBU rather than books topic where the authors hang out wink
<rocks back and forth in Pedants' corner>

Fatmomma99 Thu 30-Jul-15 00:55:00

My DH is a published writer <boasts>

A short story in an anthology. Took him a year to write/be published. We are VERY proud!!!!

RitaKiaOra Thu 30-Jul-15 01:04:26

So you should be. Which anthology? We can play Guess the DH Is it available on its own anywhere? What style of short story? <nosey>

emopod Thu 30-Jul-15 01:04:43

DH writes for a living (many things published). Took care of our DTSs for 20 months until a ruptured disc meant we had to get other childcare.

He had to cut down hours when they were born, but when they are home with him, he does most work between 8pm and 2am, and I do mornings stuff. It takes a lot of discipline with small kids in the house, but it is possible.

RagstheInvincible Thu 30-Jul-15 01:08:15

DW is a published writer (novels and short stories). Writes late at night/early in the mornings when rest of us are asleep.

KateAdiesEarrings Thu 30-Jul-15 01:09:33

I'm not sure if I count as I write mainly for businesses, journals, etc, rather than fiction. However, when DS was tiny, I followed a similar schedule to emopod 's husband ie I wrote when DS went down for the night. I found it impossible to write during the day.

Sceptimum Thu 30-Jul-15 06:40:30

I was making decent money as a freelance features writer (worked 4 days a week in an office, the other one freelancing) but since Childzilla's arrival 2 years ago I have failed to write, pretty much, as my 4 day a week job now takes 5 days as I am constantly taking time off for medical appts, daycare stuff, tradesmen visits etc. Need to muster up some willpower, turn off MN and Facebook and get going again!

RhiWrites Thu 30-Jul-15 08:03:23

I have 14 professionally published books but I don't have children.

I joined mumsnet to learn about the needs of young parents because my sisters between them have 3 under 3.

I find it's helpful to set aside dedicated time to write. But I don't deny it's difficult to keep that discipline.

squishyeyeballs Thu 30-Jul-15 12:20:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GoooRooo Thu 30-Jul-15 12:23:10

I have a non-fiction careers book published and a blog that I write on regularly. I have written pieces for newpapers and industry mags in the past but I wouldn't describe myself as a professional writer.

Mostly I'm a recruiter and trainer.

GoooRooo Thu 30-Jul-15 12:24:00

Oh and I wrote that book while on maternity leave. It was hard! I'm about to go on maternity leave again and have laughed at anyone who suggests I write another one.

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 12:32:01

I have written (and had published) some trashy historical romance novels (written indeed a pseudonym grin) and some scientific papers/texts (related to my previous career). They bring in a nice supplemental income.
DH and I own and run ranch in South America, plus have a toddler so I don't get much time to write, though I do have insomnia so often write in the middle of the night, or very early morning when I cannot be caught blushing in shame. grin

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 12:32:31

*under, not indeed

Imlookingatboats Thu 30-Jul-15 12:37:48

I am fascinated by your life, Stars! I noticed you the other day when you posted in the what do you do for a living thread.

In my mind you're a Catherine Zeta Jones lookalike dashing about on a trusty steed, baby at your hip.

Now you tell me you write!

(don't burst my bubble)

FallingGoldfinch Thu 30-Jul-15 12:48:47

I went into writing books when my kids were younger because it was so flexible, so I definitely think it can be done. They're all up and running now, so don't really need me that much, but I found it so useful to have a job that I could just dip in and out of (and that I could do in my pyjamas).

I ghost - but am thinking of starting fiction - and that really works for me as I have to work to (often very tight) deadlines, so can't faff about. I don't work to set times as such, but when a deadline is looming, I'll do a specific amount of words a day. If I get nothing done during school hours, then I'll just stay up until I have - I do seem to work better from about 8pm anyway, so finding your own natural work time is a good idea.

It's the easiest, most indulgent, best job in the world grin.

TwistInMySobriety Thu 30-Jul-15 12:52:32

I do. I have a day job too but it's a nice lucrative sideline.

Saltedcaramel2014 Thu 30-Jul-15 12:56:09

Hi. I am a writer of women's fiction (novels). I'm writing my eighth at the moment. I write full-time, so have childcare 4 1/2 days a week. I don't think I'd manage to get much done otherwise, endless respect for those who write in naps/eves - I can't do it! So I guess I do it just as every other working mum does their job. I set a word count each day and do my best to stick to it. I love what I do and feel lucky to be doing it, now even more so as the flexible hours help a lot. I'm extremely skilled at ignoring all housework.

pinkdelight Thu 30-Jul-15 12:56:32

I write scripts for a living - TV, radio, theatre etc. It's a great job but I couldn't do it while looking after the kids. I've used a LOT of childcare. Like any freelance career, it's hard to turn work down. You have to be available, work weekends, whatever it takes to hit the deadline. And because of the nature of the job, you're kind of in your own world a lot. It's quite a selfish job, I think. Sometimes I feel bad, but then I bet Tom Stoppard didn't feel bad when he shut himself up in his office. And I'd go nuts if I didn't do it.

Good luck with getting your novel finished. Just gotta find the time somehow and keep going, and going, and going...

pinkdelight Thu 30-Jul-15 12:57:51

Ha ha, salted, I ignore all housework too. Somehow I just step over the mess and don't see that the dishwasher needs emptying. It helps to have a very lovely and supportive DH.

Saltedcaramel2014 Thu 30-Jul-15 12:57:58

stars your life sounds amazing! Can I ask what country you're in?

squoosh Thu 30-Jul-15 12:59:00

WordFactory writes for a living. Successfully by the sounds of things too.

Saltedcaramel2014 Thu 30-Jul-15 13:03:45

pinkdelight the dishwasher is in my blind spot. Having a partner who thinks you being a writer is a good idea is a really, really useful thing.

TheRealAmyLee Thu 30-Jul-15 13:04:42

I used to do it. I am trying to get back into it now kids are all at school. You need to find a quiet time of day and set that aside to write in. I struggled when DC were small.

FallingGoldfinch Thu 30-Jul-15 13:06:09

I think you also have to decide what you want from it. It's my job so I would only write books that get published - and maybe, from that, there comes a method/structure of how you actually go about it. That's not to say I don't get distracted - I get very, very easily distracted - but then I can always pull back to the deadline when I need to. So, with children, I would do what I wanted to/needed to with them, then, if I still had 5,000 words to write and it was 11pm, that just needed to be done before I went to bed.

CaoNiMa Thu 30-Jul-15 13:09:45

I'm a writer. Travel guides, fiction, non-fiction, features journalism. Also literary editing.

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 13:13:49

I'm in the same boat as you. My mother has had a couple of books published in her field, one for her historical interest and is currently writing a children's book, so she inspired me to give it a go. I am in the begining of the book though- a thriller/romance that I decided to set in the country we now live in- so I seem to spend most of my time researching things rather than actually writing. That's partly because I'm a perfectionist for accuracy. I also have moderate dyslexia so it makes for an extra challange. I do know one other person who got a book published but she seemed to pay quite a lot for that to happen and is still employed in her main job even though she is on her second book.
Stars how you have ANY time to write is amazing? You have me intrigued about your country as we are both on the same continent, making a living from the same thing (although actually DH is the rancher, I know didly about farming and work in town). grin

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 13:26:25

I'mlookingatboats not quite I'm afraid, I do love my life, but it hasn't been an easy path here and I'm currently banned from riding as I've had more major surgery recently, so am supposed to be resting, boring as it is smile.

saltedcaramel thanks, and we're in Argentina.

tomato thanks, we're in Argentina but wee have some holdings and investments in Brazil too. I'm very ill at the moment with cancer which isn't responding to surgery or treatment, and the prognosis isn't great, so writing is an escape for me, a way of keeping my mind in order so that I can function during the day and still be upbeat and positive. The insomnia ia very bad, I rarely get more than three hours sleep a night, and writing occupies my mind so that I dont spend that time lying in bed worrying or wallowing in self pity.

We're the opposite way around grin I do the overall management and DH is the assistant foreman, we have a great foreman who's teaching him a lot, and DH has taken to it like a duck to water.

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 13:41:18

Glad you're are managing to stay postive, I guess South American lifestyle can help with that a little and being closer to nature, it must be hard. flowers

You're in proper Gaúcho country, we're in Brasilian southeast, do you produce wine? We're toying with the idea. I don't do any management and we only stay on the farm at the weekends (DH commutes) but it is a great lifestyle, just not as exciting and glam as it sounds though is it?

-- sorry to derail the thread......as you were!

Romanceauthor Thu 30-Jul-15 13:41:30

I do! I write romance for M&B. It can be hard to find time - I have 4 kids and lots of other stuff to do, but I set myself a word count and stick to it. You find the time if you're serious about it.

squoosh Thu 30-Jul-15 13:45:18

I've often wondered how long it takes a M&B writer to write one of their books Romanceauthor?

kungfupannda Thu 30-Jul-15 13:52:01

I do. Non-fiction for magazines, and some short fiction. I'm on novel number three after near-misses with one and two.

I find that the novel writing is fairly all-encompassing. If I have spare time and I'm not sitting down writing, I get twitchy.

I think with a first draft you just have to keep ploughing on, no matter how crap you think you're being, because once you've got the words down, and the very rough plot in place, then you know where you're trying to get to.

I read quite a good blog post (can't remember where) about the purposes of different drafts/edits. The first one is unlikely to be anything other than writing yourself into the story and the characters. Then there's a plot/structural edit, and then one focusing on characters, and so on. The last one was the language/fine-tuning edit. It didn't entirely correspond with the way I edit, but I certainly recognised some of the processes, and thinking about it that way might take the pressure off the first draft.

I'm at the bleeurghing words out stage at the moment. I've managed to resist the urge to go back and make changes so far. I'm just making notes of things that need to be reworked, and ideas that I've refined. It goes against my natural instinct, as I usually get bogged down in editing as I go, but it means I've almost finished a first draft in less than three months. Now I just need to worry about the fact that it's coming in at about 50,000 words longer than I told my agent it was going to be...

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 13:54:53

Thanks tomato it does, it helps massively, it feels like a much simpler way of life, which is very freeing. We live on the ranch full time, and its extremely remote where we are, but we love it. Nope it certainly isn't! My best friend came out to stay with us recently, I think she was expecting it to be a bit like Romancing The Stone, she got a bit of a shock! I felt pretty bad but I did try to warn her.
Yes we do produce wine, we're hoping to expand that side of the business again this year, last year we scaled it up a lot but its still in its infancy commercially speaking.

blondegirl73 Thu 30-Jul-15 13:59:22

I'm a staff writer on a magazine, and I have just finished my sixth novel. I write my stuff on my commute, at evenings and at weekends. It's very hard to fit it all in - I have kids though they're both school age now - and I'm aiming to be able to write novels full time one day. Hopefully by the end of the year.

My approach is very similar to Kungfupannda's. I start at the beginning and just plough on. I never stop to edit but just make notes about what to change or other ideas. I think of it as building a skeleton and then fleshing it out on the second draft.

I also find novel-writing consumes me. I'm not writing anything at the moment - I've done a lot this year and it's worn me out so I'm having a break. But I also get twitchy when I'm not writing. Have started thinking about trying to write a script next...

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 14:07:23

I've had guests with the same burst bubbles, mainly that our cowboys were not quite what my friend had in mind wink

We're very remote too, when I say town I mean that in a very loose sense, it's still a good 4 hour trip to a cinema or shopping mall and 10 hours drive to anything that could be described as a major city. I like it that way though, simple and very freeing! I would say you are in the best place, not biased or anything, obviously!

dontrunwithscissors Thu 30-Jul-15 14:09:33

I don't exactly write for a living--I'm an academic (historian), which involves a good chunk of writing up research. It's obviously different to writing fiction, but I have one book published and I'm currently writing my second. I've found routine is everything. I've also found that I have to be in the right environment to be productive--I can't just sit in any old room/place and write. A do my best work sat in a coffee shop with earphones in. I think it's because I find it difficult to get into 'work mode' at home. I need a physical distance between the two. Of course, I also have an office at work, but I tend to do my other stuff (admin, teaching prep) there.

kungfupannda Thu 30-Jul-15 14:17:49

But I also get twitchy when I'm not writing. Have started thinking about trying to write a script next

I've got what I think is a great idea for a script, but I'm trying to ignore it until I get this novel finished. I also have no clue what I'm doing where script-writing's concerned.

EeekEeekEeekEeek Thu 30-Jul-15 14:47:24

I can't say I write 'for a living', but I've had a few short stories published in anthologies and magazines. The aim has always been to build a portfolio with a view to getting a novel published. I've just had my first child and I have to say I'm despairing about how I'm ever going to achieve that. Having said that, I've started writing short comic pieces for a friend's blog recently, and just realising that I can still knock out a little finished piece a week has made me feel so much better.

I'm interested to read about those who are writing whilst raising kids. It seems so out of reach for me right now that it gets me down sometimes . .

pinkdelight Thu 30-Jul-15 14:50:20

I started doing prose but loved switching to scripts as you can cut out all the shit... uh... I mean all the lovely description, and just get on with it! smile

Seriously though, it's a very different form so best to read a lot of scripts and maybe some of the better books - McKee's 'Story', Snyder's 'Save the Cat', and anything by William Goldman.

There's a lot more redrafting too with scripts. Ever bugger gives you notes, from the Execs to the interns! Certainly in film and telly there's less sense of having any power/respect as a writer. In theatre, more like books, no one will change a comma without checking with you, but for the forms with more money/jobs at stake, you have to take a lot of shit and suck it up.

If you want to keep control of your story, you're probably best sticking to novels. But then again, when it works out well, there's nothing like seeing your characters come to life.

Romanceauthor Thu 30-Jul-15 15:11:16

Hey Squoosh. It really depends. They're 50,000 words give or take, depending upon which line you write for. The shortest time it took me was ten days. I did 5k words a day and just zoomed through it. The story was just there, at my fingertips and I was really lucky with that. Now, doing a first draft, I aim for 2.5k words a day and a few extra days for tweaking and redrafting and I can get one done in a month. But it never works out like that, because once you've sent it in and your ed looks it over, she sends it back with revisions which can take another couple of weeks and even when it's been accepted for publication, you get line edits and author amendments to do and you can still be tweaking a book months after you finished it and whilst you're working on another.

Fatmomma99 Thu 30-Jul-15 15:19:50

I can't tell you that, RitaKiaOra, it would 'out' me [shocked]

But it's pretty trashy (we're still v proud).

I'm really impressed and in awe of all of you who write.

Has anyone ever read Barbara Trapido? There's a dedication in one of her books (thinks it's "Brother of the More Famous Jack", but could be wrong) where she says she writes at night while her children are asleep.

AmazonsForEver Thu 30-Jul-15 15:53:48

Has anyone read Night Waking by Sarah Moss? She writes all night when her children are asleep (I don't recommend it!). I think Sarah Moss is probably a MNer, she has the temperament!

RitaKiaOra Thu 30-Jul-15 16:05:41

No worries momma trashy is fine wink Barbara Trapido was recomkended to me years ago. What should I start with?
OP I was only teasing you about the Fiction section. smile Lots of luck with your writing shamrock I, too, am in awe of anyone getting anything done ever [bad SAHM day today, baby has daubed himself in indelible pen. He is very proud of his work].

RedDaisyRed Thu 30-Jul-15 16:16:03

I might hold a mumsnet record for number of books - 30 law books+. I also write a lot of other paid things (on law) and own some publications (small publishing business). It all links to my law firm and speaking work too.

squoosh Thu 30-Jul-15 16:22:38

Thanks Romance, that's really interesting. 2.5k words per day is a lot even without 4 kids vying for your attention! You must be so disciplined.

TwistInMySobriety Thu 30-Jul-15 16:22:53

Sorry reddaisy, I have about a hundred publications to my name all told... Niche sector, not fiction.

squishyeyeballs Thu 30-Jul-15 18:49:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmazonsForEver Thu 30-Jul-15 23:33:16

No! smile I just liked her books. I would have been proud to have written them myself.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Fri 31-Jul-15 00:57:48

Mrs Pete Bevan is on here somewhere - pssst wink Mrs. B - could you just give him a nudge and tell him to Get On With It and write some more please? grin
Give him a nice blowjob massage or something and tell him he has a fans waiting agog grin
<Ends total thread hijack and sidles out whistling innocently>

Potterwolfie Fri 31-Jul-15 01:02:19

I write; not books, but I do write for a living and it fits in beautifully with young children. Even now they're at school, working from home has enormous benefits for our family. I don't bring in masses of money, but I do still contribute financially whilst being there for the before/after school stuff, school events and emergencies. I don't think I would like to go back to a 'proper' office job now, though I do freelance from time to time.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Fri 31-Jul-15 01:12:04

This thread has given me the determination to be a bit more disciplined and crack on with my writing... Not easy during the school holidays but I do find many other excuses like MN

Writerwannabe83 Fri 31-Jul-15 07:52:58

I would love to be a professional writer. I have wrote and printed off one fictional novel but it's doing nothing but sitting in my bedside drawer.

I am now half way through a second one but am finding it very hard to find the time now I have a DS alongside working F/T.

How do people break into the publishing world? I would love to get my finished novel looked at but have no idea how to go about it.

Tuskerfull Fri 31-Jul-15 08:01:50

I do, but not fiction. People are always telling me I should write a novel, and I will one day!

Twentyninedays Fri 31-Jul-15 08:18:47

I wrote a non fiction book a while back.

RedDaisyRed Fri 31-Jul-15 09:29:14

" TwistInMySobriety Thu 30-Jul-15 16:22:53

Sorry reddaisy, I have about a hundred publications to my name all told... Niche sector, not fiction."

I will have thousands if we do it by "publications" rather than books but I wasn't really trying to start a competition and I have been doing it for 30 years. In fact I started entering writing competitions when I was about 12.

FallingGoldfinch Fri 31-Jul-15 09:46:42

Writerwannabe83 - you have much more of a chance with an agent. When they approach publishers, your proposal gets read, so you've missed a whole layer of slush pile. Writers & Artists Yearbook is usually out of date - you're better Googling yourself.

Loving the competitive publishing posts . . . but the jackpot is ALWAYS when someone says their friends say they should write a book grin. I've never had anyone say that to me in my life, but I get calls from people every day who are being told it left, right and centre and, of course, they would, but they don't have the time, and they think a ghost writer might be handy . . . wink.

squishyeyeballs Fri 31-Jul-15 13:46:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squoosh Fri 31-Jul-15 13:53:53

Yes. For example most celebs use a ghost writer when 'penning' their autobiography. They tell a few anecdotes and then ghosty turns it into a book.

shovetheholly Fri 31-Jul-15 14:56:51

I am!

I'm not sure you can call it a "living" though. More like a "scraping by". grin

vpillow Sat 01-Aug-15 07:01:00

I used to write for a living as a journalist, now thinking about fiction writing.

Going back to the thread which inspired this - how much do you authors earn from a published novel?

squishyeyeballs Sat 01-Aug-15 15:20:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmeraldKitten Sat 01-Aug-15 15:47:20

I wouldn't say 'for a living' but I used to do work for The Poetry Studio, writing personalised poetry.

Easiest money I've ever made...used to get £12 for a 50 line personalised poem based on a form of details and anecdotes, which I used to knock out in about 25 minutes. I was doing about 6 a week so a nice little evening job.

RedDaisyRed Sat 01-Aug-15 16:19:18

squish, I think fees have gone right down and you're right. I wrote about my eye operation about 20 years ago and was paid £500 from Vogue and £350 from weekend FT for an unsolicited article which was a lot of money 20 years ago. Nowadays I bet they do not even acknowledge receipt from unsolicited items.

I write about law for fees every few days under regular contracts so I suppose if you are one of the few specialists in the UK able to write about a particular subject then it's easier and of course if you can write the next Harry Potter or 40 Shades you are laughing all the way to the bank but it's not an easy way to make money. So many people write for nothing on line. I do still have paid subscribers to 10 small circulation newsletters although I imagine that will wither on the vine too.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Sat 01-Aug-15 16:45:50

T'internet must surely have driven down writers' fees - so much free content out there, so many more people vying for paid work (because it's easy to advertise it to a wide audience and let them bid themselves down to do it)

SheGotAllDaMoves Sat 01-Aug-15 16:57:49

I write for a living ( I'm a name charger and saw my old NN up thread).

I've been writing full time for almost fifteen years and have had 8 novels published. I've recently branched out into scripts ( radio and telly) and am currently writing a novel and its TV adaptation concurrently for a US production company.

When DC were little I wrote a book a year flexibly around them and never used child care.

They are teens now and I am working far more but life is a hundred times easier grin

FirstWeTakeManhattan Sat 01-Aug-15 17:00:04

I've just started writing 'properly' although I've been fiddling around with it for years.

I've ghosted two books, have three regular magazine columns and pick up odds and ends of other freelance stuff. I"m also trying to find time for writing my own novel.

I'm new to it, don't think I'm charging enough, but it's bringing in a regular few hundred quid so far whilst I find my feet.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Sat 01-Aug-15 17:02:06

Sorry should have added, I have three young children at home, including one baby. I write when I can, I'm productive when I do, and I enjoy it, so I see it fairly relaxing when the kids are finally in bed.

FallingGoldfinch Sat 01-Aug-15 18:01:27

Absolutely to the PP who said fees have gone down sharply - I don't charge for ghosting so am subject to vagaries of advances, and have been offered some that are a tenth of what I started on sad.

achieve6 Sat 01-Aug-15 18:09:52

Falling, may I ask how you got into ghostwriting please?

I used to do some freelance writing, only commercial stuff, but I found the rates plummeted. I had other options that seemed more secure and steady so I don't do it anymore. I do miss it but having had a couple of bouts of ill health, I'm grateful to have permanent work and sick pay.

SheGotAllDaMoves Sat 01-Aug-15 18:34:57

I'm just glad I started my writing career before the recession or the advent of ebooks.

My first advances were generous and my publisher spent good money building up my readership.

It means that now the numbers can justify a still decent advsnce.

FallingGoldfinch Sat 01-Aug-15 20:40:03

achieve6 - I was a journalist for a few years before, then I covered a few stories where the person wanted to 'do' their book. I wasn't really that keen, but circumstances made it seem a decent option at one point and I've kept with it smile.

I've always had an agent as I'd be rubbish at asking for money but I know plenty of people who represent themselves.

I have a few health problems too, and I find it fits in perfectly as I just take on work as and when I feel up to it. Feel free to PM if there's anything you'd like to know.

achieve6 Sat 01-Aug-15 21:21:47

Falling, thanks for info
I was just curious really as I will be hanging on to my job as long as possible. Sounds like being a journalist was your way in in any case?

I've also wondered about proof reading, I see loads of courses advertised but never meet anyone who does it...

ditherydora Sat 01-Aug-15 22:00:11

Red Daisy - can you tell me more about your law books. How did you get a publisher/choose a subject?

And do you actually make any ££ from them? grin

fairnotfit Sun 02-Aug-15 09:19:29

I write for a living - not fiction, sadly, but I write articles, guides and web copy for financial institutions (fund managers/investment banks/financial advisers...) Audience ranges from high-level institutional reader to private individual, so I have to pitch the tone, level of technicality etc. I also have to back up all facts and figures with primary sources (e.g., central banks/official statistical bureaux/government ministries rather than BBC/Reuters).

As a rough guide, I would charge about £300 for a 500-word article, but that includes all research and fact-checking. On average, I work the equivalent of about 3.5 days a week. I really enjoy it; more importantly, it allows me considerable flexibility around the DCs' school days and holidays.

KateAdiesEarrings Mon 03-Aug-15 10:09:02

achieve most freelance proof-readers I know started as journalists. I don't know anyone who completed a course and became a proof-reader.

That's not to say they don't exist - just that it's not the most common path. I edit and proofread for some clients. It's mainly business documents. My background is in journalism so I trained as a sub-editor.

RedDaisyRed Mon 03-Aug-15 10:29:16

dither, I keep getting outed on the internet so don't want to be too specific about the law books. Yes, I only write for money. It also means more clients come to me as they think I know about the subject. It is not in the Harry Potter earnings league however.
Actually i think an English teacher at Middlesex University made some of the highest royalties who wrote a book about how to learn English for the Chinese which was sold in China. There are a lot of Chinese in China so it sold huge numbers of copies.

Without doubt I make more money from advising my clients than the law books though. I am trying not to write whole new books now though as it's a lot of time and effort so just do new editions whcih is updating and lots of updating of other law products/books for publishers for fees.

achieve6 Mon 03-Aug-15 22:45:56

Kate, thanks. I have to do a fair bit of proofing at work but probably not enough to get into that if there's a lot of journalists, writers, editors, subs etc doing it.

minitoot Mon 03-Aug-15 23:16:18

I'm a writer (published, professional etc.), though realistically most of my income (such as it is) comes from teaching creative writing. how do I juggle it and kids? With great difficulty smile I have 3 days a week to myself and I just try to fit everything in there. Have no social life, which helps.

minitoot Mon 03-Aug-15 23:24:44

The post about writing 2 novels a year to make £40,000 + = utopian, I'm afraid. Very few have the chance to do that. Average earnings of Society of Authors members from writing is something like £5k per annum. Most of the writers I know are traditionally published novelists, and almost all of them are supported by their partners or family money. Those that aren't mostly either do other full time or part time work (for example, creative writing lecturing in HE) or survive on tax credits. I would hazard that maybe two out of a hundred writers I've met could live in reasonable comfort (say, about £20K) on earnings from books and related rights sales. Once you have children, of course, it all gets more difficult - more expenses and less time to write.

ChopinLizst Mon 03-Aug-15 23:33:41

I would never, EVER normally divulge information like this but I write for a living and I bloody love it. Just go for it if you want to do it! I earn around £500/per week (sometimes less, sometimes more) and I work freelance and from home which is perfect with two DDs.

I had my first book published in 2010 and it started from there. It isn't fiction that makes the money though.

The only reason I'm saying anything is so that others can see that it CAN be done.

Merrylegs Mon 03-Aug-15 23:44:45

www.alcs.co.uk/About-us/News/News/What-are-words-worth-now-not-much.aspx here is the link to the ALCS earnings survey - (authors licencing and collection society).

Anilec Tue 04-Aug-15 00:17:54

Sorry, haven't read the full thread but I've been writing fiction full time since June 2014 and make a very decent living. Absolutely love what I do and having the opportunity to interact with readers directly. Am an indie author and write crime fiction. You don't have to chase a traditional publishing deal - in fact, I'd say that unless you write literary fiction, don't bother. Self publish instead/

achieve6 Tue 04-Aug-15 00:38:54

Chopin, if you think there's money in non fiction, I'd love to hear more, especially re whatever topics you think are hot in the non fiction sector.

I don't wish to out myself either but I have been thinking of writing a book that links to my line of work, hence I was really interested in your comment.

Anielec, I guess you pocket all your profits by self publishing? I could consider that too I guess, for my work related idea.

Anilec Tue 04-Aug-15 01:01:59

achieve6, yep - I make 70% royalties from Amazon and much the same from the other platforms. As I've got more professional, though, obviously my costs have got greater. I now pay for a professional ebook and print book formatter, editor, cover designer, virtual assisant, etc.

ditherydora Tue 04-Aug-15 06:29:49

Thanks RedDaisy - I'm afraid I already know who you are! Your posts are quite distinctive. I was wondering if you approached the publishers or you approached them. I have been/am quite an expert in my own right but I have been out of private practice for a few years though (although still working). I'd really like to get away from client work and something which I could do anywhere and on my own schedule.

RedDaisyRed Tue 04-Aug-15 09:02:01

Yes, some people do but not everyone.
I don't think legal writing is particularly well paid. I get £6k a year for updating one of my books for example (I update it 3 times a year and it takes about half a day to day 3 x a year which I suppose for that amount of work is not too bad).

I wrote the first book just by writing to a publisher offering to write about a topic there was not much on and it went from there. The book on anther legal topic where we had new law in 1993 again no one in the UK was an expert on that as the law was totally new so again I could easily know more about it than most. So I think certainly to start with it was I writing to publishers not the other way round but it might be harder to do that these days and the reason one comes back to me to update books quite a lot is because I am always on time which not all writers are so it is probably easier to use me than others.

One reason I can work when I choose on my own schedule from the house is because I set up my own law firm and the writing fits around that. It's 9am, I've done about 2 horus of work and dealt with the man who came to kill the wasp nest and have 2 painters in the house and 2 teenage sons one of whom I can drive somewhere at 10.30 and all that is fitting around work so I do recommend women set up their own law firms if they can. It's not hard.

muminhants1 Tue 04-Aug-15 09:35:57

I write for a living, but I write for a law publishers, rather than writing fiction books.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 04-Aug-15 09:40:34

I write non-fiction, mainly books, a few magazine articles. I'd say about 70% of my quite meagre income comes from writing, the rest from bits and pieces of copy-editing, proofreading and occasional illustration/photography.

Pastaeater Tue 04-Aug-15 09:55:34

Sorry to sound totally clueless, but can anyone explain how self publishing works? I am writing a novel and was intending to send it to an agent, but even I can see that the chances of getting anything published in this way are fairly remote (still determined to get book finished though!)

minitoot Tue 04-Aug-15 18:31:45

It's worth a try though Pastaeater - you'll never know if you don't try. Unless you actively don't want to go the traditional route. With self-publishing as I understand it there are many different routes - depends if you want print books, POD books, e-book only - the main thing is to be clear about what you are paying for and why. (Not an expert in this though).

Diamondsandpears Tue 04-Aug-15 19:51:27

Totally inspired by this thread. Been considering going for it but not been sure how to go about it. Please PM me with any advice. ChopinLizst RedDaisyRed

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 04-Aug-15 20:33:11

I wouldn't say I make a living, but I sell pieces to magazines in the UK and US - mainly US - on crafts, history and genealogy. I could earn a lot more money if I worked faster - but it's research-heavy, unfortunately. I also have a book due out but it's been due out for ages and is painfully slow - mainly due to things beyond my control.

MmeGuillotine Tue 04-Aug-15 20:47:25

I write for a pretty decent living and have to juggle it around two children, which isn't always easy! I write historical fiction (both self published and for a publisher), articles for history magazines, a history blog (not all that lucrative really but I get cool stuff like invites to private viewings at Buckingham Palace and stuff like that all the time so we get some good days out from it!) and historical biographies (I've just published my first, about Marie Antoinette, and have another, about Marie de Guise, coming out next spring.)

It can be really hard work, especially at the moment as I've just had a breakdown and ended up on anti-depressants and it's the school holidays so they're here all the time, but it's worth it when I trot into a shop or library and see one of my books on the shelf. smile

Pastaeater Wed 05-Aug-15 09:50:00

Thanks for the info mintoot - any more info/advice from anyone re traditional or self publishing would be gratefully received!

squishyeyeballs Thu 06-Aug-15 14:14:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MintJulip Thu 06-Aug-15 18:24:39

SheGotAllDaMoves Sat 01-Aug-15 16:57:49

are you able to give us any figures please on early books - ie on your first book how much you - roughly - ball park could get?

Or is that too personal?

MintJulip Thu 06-Aug-15 18:25:10

( sorry its just people say they scrape by, but give no numbers as to what they think - scraping by - is)

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 06-Aug-15 18:46:37

I never worry about word counts. Although if the pay for a piece isn't great I won't write too much. ;o)

I dunno how typical I am of writers, but I tend to rely heavily on good sub-editors. Don't concern myself about some things as I hope the edit will catch them. But I'd guess from the outside, it might look like word count is important. It's never really been an issue for me.

I might take days, weeks or months to do the research but write very quickly, once I have it all clear in my head.

Spent today writing a piece - after a long hiatus due to Life Stuff. It's a bit like permanently having homework hanging over you. I never write on spec but always sell a piece before I write it. So I know that if I want to get paid, I will have to come up with something usable. Preferably more than usable.

I have a friend who self publishes in the craft field, and she is extremely well known and makes a good living. But she pays out a fortune for tech editing, decent photo shoots, has a good sense of style and how something looks on the page. Also her books (hard copies) don't look amateur or "self published". In fact they look better than many books from large publishers. But the cost of having all that expertise from other people is unbelievably high. Writing fiction, if I was self publishing I would pay out for decent graphic design/cover art and get blurbs written by someone with professional experience as it is about selling - nothing more, nothing less.

I suspect what distinguishes published writers from many unpublished is that killer instinct - it's no good 'just' being able to write. You have to be able to pitch. You have to be ruthless with yourself, and give the publishers and readers what they want. You have to know what you're on about if doing non fiction as readers set the bar high.

Blog, and then analyse your blog traffic, if you're a would-be writer. This tells you very clearly what interests people; what bores them.

Linds53 Thu 06-Aug-15 19:55:23

I'm widowed with teenage kids and I wrote a children's novel (40,000 words) last year. It was traditionally published a couple of months ago and while the experience is very exciting and I'm totally thrilled to see my novel in bookshops, I still work full time and I can't see that changing in the near future. I read somewhere that the average British author earns around £11,000 a year, but have no idea if that's true.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »