It Takes Time…

I should be writing right now. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to write at least 20,000 words per week for 26 weeks of the year. My thought was I’d front load that and write 20K words a week for the first couple of months in case life comes along and kicks my butt. Well, I’m 4,500 words shy of that for this week. Which means I need to sit down and knock out a short story before the day’s over.

But…my brain doesn’t want to cooperate. So, a blog post it is. (My goal in February is to make a post a day because I have so many bookmarked links to share at this point that it’s almost obscene.)

Today I thought I’d share some encouragement/interesting data.

On one of forums I frequent a very successful self-publisher just posted an update of her numbers for the year.

She thinks she’ll be somewhere in the range of making $700K for the year. That’s right, $700K. For one year of writing.

How did she get there?
Year 1 (I think it was 10 months of writing) $3,000
Year 2 $60,000
Year 3 $360,000

And now year 4. $700K or so.

This is for someone writing novels in series, all in a related world, and in a popular genre.

Another user of that forum shared numbers a while back that looked like this:
Month 1 $200
Month 2 $300
Month 3 $1200
Month 4 $1700
Month 5 $3000

By month 5 they had 40 titles published. Also in a popular genre.

And then there’s another user who posted numbers from 2012:
Month 1 $80
Month 2 $238
Month 3 $535
Month 4 $3,346
Month 5 $5,060
Month 6 $3,694
Month 7 $5,227
Month 8 $7,862

This person had 41 titles out as of month four and was also writing in a popular genre.

The key thing I take away from these numbers is that you have to keep going.  None of them started off making great money.

It’s easy to publish eleven stories in your first month, get bad reviews, only make $80, and throw in the towel.  (Which is what happened to the third one above.)

Or to publish twenty stories in the first two months and only make $238 and throw in the towel.

But look at that last person. By month four they were making over $3K per month on their stories. They kept going, kept improving, and look where they are now.  (And improving is key.  They took those early bad reviews to heart, did some reading in their genre, and fixed what was wrong.)

Now look at the numbers for that first person.

$3,000 for almost a year’s worth of effort. But she didn’t quit. She kept going. And the next year, she saw 20x the returns of year 1.

It’s not easy. And not everyone can achieve those numbers no matter how much they publish. (Because, contrary to some opinions, not everyone is a good writer or storyteller. Editing help or not, some people will never be top-sellers.)

But for those that can write and are willing to stick with it and put in the time…amazing things are possible.

But it’s not always obvious from day one.  You have to keep going, keep trying, have faith in your ability and vision.

Or so I tell myself when I have those little dark moments of doubt.  (Which happens, I don’t know, every other day?)

Of course, that doesn’t mean you just put your head down and write.

You have to keep learning, keep improving.  Personally, I just signed up for a couple more writing classes. I don’t think you can ever learn too much about the craft of writing.

There’s always room for improvement. Always.

And there’s always the possibility of success just around the corner.  Always.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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