Ruby Allure's Books

Ruby Allure's Books
Ruby Allure's Books

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Reality of Being an Author

The Reality of Being an Author

For some reason when people find out you are an author they have belief that you can waft around thinking of literary prose. The have images of cafes, days just dreaming and literary events with horsey-style laughter. In truth, I don't know many authors who have this luxury. In fact, most of the authors I know, who make money and are having films produced, still work. The image painted in films is remote beaches, romantic views and international jet-setting. Nope, and I don't want to disappoint, but the reality is usually a full time job, often in an unrelated subject, so that there is mental space for writing.

Let me give you some examples, my friend who is having a film produced of her book, by day works in a care home. The shifts enable her to attend literary meetings. She has an internationally renowned agent but can still be found bathing old people in their beds and you know what? She loves being able to care for others. Another friend of mine, who also writes and earns money from her book sales, works full time as an English teacher. So much of her inspiration comes from her students and what they say.

One author, who was catapulted into stardom overnight, maintained her job working in a bookshop because she loved working with books. She also said that she was going to remain humble and monitor her sales. The first book sold more than fifty thousand copies but her royalty was around fifty pence per book. That is only a basic wage for one year. It was a 'nice to have' in addition to her income and she was glad that she kept her job. Finally, another author I know works as a lawyer, her relaxation time is writing because she gets to dream.

It seems everyone has this idea that you write a book and are catapulted to wealth and stardom. For a few that happens; however, I was discussing an author, who was at the top of his field with my brother. It turned out that the author accidentally let it slip that he worked as a decorator to supplement his income. It seems that people prefer the ideal rather than the image of their favourite author painting a wall.

The years that I spent teaching creative writing evening classes revealed the aspirations and illusions so many people have. Numerous fresh students professed that they desired to be the next J.K. Rowling and that was their reason for learning to write. You never want to smash peoples dreams; however,  if that is the one and only motivation to write then there is a very long and arduous journey ahead.

I am not saying that it isn't possible to become a full time author; and I do know one author who earns their living purely through being an author. He gave up his job when he reached one million sales. He is signed with a publisher and releases a book a year. He has over ten books on the market. He said that once he had made a million sales and had a three year reserve in the bank he would then write full time. So it is possible, yet what you might not realise is your work place is the perfect place to observe characters, understand human dynamics and listen to people's stories. My advice is if you want to be an author live, work and gain inspiration. In the meantime, set yourself a goal: say three years income in your bank before jumping into the financially unknown.



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