As a Writer Who Works

Writing as a Job?

The title “as a writer who works” is not to be confused with a writer whose work is writing. Someday, I might transition to the latter, but the math on that is pretty daunting. I’m selling my ebooks for $5 each, so let’s see what it would take to bring in a salary of $50K annually. 

First, we need an estimate of royalties per book. Here are some rough estimates: 

$5 @ 70% = $3.50 – 0.75 KDP fee = $2.75 – 0.222% of $5 B&O tax = approximately $2.739 per book.

Next, I will translate that into the number of sales necessary annually. 

$50,000 / 2.739 = ~ 18,255 books 

My series will have four books in it. If we assume everyone who buys one will buy all four, that translates to 4,564 new customers of the series needed every year. This calculation is not factoring in any costs for cover art, copy editor, or other costs associated with publication. 

While this is not impossible, I don’t expect to achieve this level of popularity anytime soon without some serious advertising and promotional backing. Book four is still a couple of years out as things currently stand. What all of this means is that I need to keep my day job for a while longer. 

Work/Write Conflicts

I have struggled to find balance this month. In a previous post, I mentioned it is budgeting season at work. This process sets the budget for my organization for the entirety of next year. It is the measure against

which we will score our financial performance, and it is due this week.

The whole process is a lot of numbers work, and it is complicated this year because I just started with this company in July. I’m still learning all the terms and measures for a company and industry that is new to me. It translates into long workdays and a fair amount of stress. The latter is mostly due to my limited experiential knowledge. The budget is an important deliverable, and I constantly feel like I am missing something that will become a big problem for us next year.

With this on my plate, when the workday ends I don’t feel like writing. The computer reminds me of work, and I think about everything I still have to complete. Instead of writing, I spend my hour of downtime in front of the TV. October is almost over, and I have only gotten through one chapter of my book in the entire month.

I could probably force myself to use that hour to write, but the result would likely be something unreadable and need to be completely re-worked later anyway. This is one of the perils of being a writer with a different primary job. A person’s brain only has so much capacity for everything demanding our attention and time. At some point, you become overloaded and need to step back and prioritize. What is important? What is urgent?

Years ago, I took a 7-Habits mini-class that focused on using those questions to prioritize, and I often fall back on it to determine my next steps. Any goals can be daunting if you don’t break them down into the component steps. That is what I’m doing now. 

Work will slow down, and I will get my weekends back. As long as I revisit my book outline and re-read the recent chapter additions, I will be able to hop right back into it without too much issue. Until then, writing will remain on hold. With a clear head, the entire writing process will go more smoothly than if I tried to force it while there is so much other activity. 

Hidden Sanctuary has an August 2022 release date. A month of work drama—maybe even two—is baked into that schedule. I’m a writer who works, and my time is not always available for writing, but I will push through!

Hang in there, fellow writers, whether to are a writer who works or your work is writing. If you are stuck, break the tasks into pieces and keep moving forward. 

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Photo by Monstera on

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