I began my writing career with dreams of working in Manhattan for a glossy consumer magazine like Self or Glamour. I wanted to write, but my degree in magazine journalism had trained me to edit as well. I knew I’d have to start out as a newbie journalist in an editorial position.
Starting out as an Editor
Unwilling to take an entry-level position in New York City as a receptionist, I took an editorial job at a regional magazine instead. I went on to work for several such magazines and later for a corporation and then a small business prior to taking the Big Leap and hanging up my full-time freelance writer shingle. Although I considered myself a “real” writer at this point, editing jobs for a variety of publications and businesses continued to provide me with income.
Then, one day a friend asked me to edit a book. That event was one of two that changed the trajectory of my career. I remembered my college professor telling me, “A book is just a string of articles on the same topic. If you can write an article, you can write a book.” I assumed that meant with my journalistic and editorial experience I could also edit a book, so I did. And then I did another and another…
The Decision to Become an Author
After a number of years, I began to wonder why I wasn’t writing books. I entertained the thought of becoming an author. I soon learned that I first needed something called a “platform.” (A platform is everything you do that creates a base of fans ready to buy your book when released.) So I started blogging to promote myself and my forthcoming book. That was the second event that changed the trajectory of my career.
I loved blogging. So I started another blog and another and another…And the popularity of those blogs helped me attract a literary agent. Then I got the crazy idea to start a blog on which I would write a book post by post to teach other writers how they could write, publish and promote their books by doing the exact same thing. In other words, I blogged a book about how to blog a book. And low and behold, my agent got me a contract for a publishing deal! I went from freelance writer (and editor) to author.
How Authorship Changed My Writing Career
Becoming an author changed my writing career in profound ways. It helped me gain:
- More writing work
- More editing work
- More freelance assignments
- Higher pay for writing assignments
It also helped me get more traditional book deals. I have a new book coming out in March. (I get paid an advance for these books and then royalties on sales.)
If you decide to author a book—even if you self-publish a book, a whole new world will open up to you. That published book means you know something about writing books. Thus, you can offer your services as a:
- book writer
- ebook writer
- booklet writer
You also become the expert on the topic of your book. This means you can get freelance writing assignments on that topic—and command more pay for those assignments.
Of course, you can write more books, make more money from those books, and then again increase the income from your freelance writing business in general, too.
Some writers and journalists don’t want to author books. Becoming an author has enhanced everything I do as a freelance writer and journalist. In fact, it’s made it more possible for me to make my living by getting paid for my words.
If you are a freelance journalist, tell me if you plan also to write a book—or not, and why? If you’ve already done so, tell me how becoming an author affected your writing career.
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