Sue’s seven useful things to know about writing for money

As I write novels, serials, short stories, articles, columns and writing ‘how to’, I’m sometimes asked for my tips. I’ve collected them together in this post:

1 You need to know about more than just writing.

2014-05-13 10.39.462 You need to know about publishing. Publishing is an industry and has to make money to survive. If you don’t learn something about how it works you’re making your life unnecessarily hard.

3 You may need/prefer to know about self-publishing. You get control and you get more of the cut each time your book is sold. And you get all of the work, or have to pay/persuade people to do some of it.

ios_homescreen_icon4 You need to know what ‘discoverable’ means. Promotion will almost certainly be part of your life. Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, ELLO, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram … OK, you don’t need to know all of them but many publishers expect you to have a platform. Readers want to find you and tell you how cool you are. Journalists need to research you before interviews. If you’re self-publishing the need may be greater than if you’re traditionally published.

Group shot, Summer Party 125 Networking can be fun, if you enjoy parties, conferences, seminars, literary festivals, forums and classes. Or it can be a nightmare if you don’t enjoy parties, conferences etc. Either way, it’s almost always useful. You get your name in front of editors and agents and learn a lot from other writers. You hear about possible destinations for your work and a lot about what-not-to-do. Learning what-not-to-do is a lifelong process for me.

*You can network on social media, too.

Study6 You can’t be without self-motivation, if you want to be a writer, unless you’re already a staffer on a paper or magazine and motivation is provided for you in the form of ‘You’re fired!’ if you don’t write. In your study at home you can work in your dressing gown, you can drink tea all day, you can go on Facebook whenever you want. But a month’s work takes a month. If you want work done, you have to do it. Nobody will fill in for you when you’re sick or on holiday, either.

7 Rejection. (Cue scary music and a feeling like cold mud in your belly.) Almost every writer gets rejection. A lot of rejection. The trick is a) to learn from it b) not to let it stop you writing. Swear and throw something at the wall if you must (I must, personally) but then get back to writing.

Final tip: Become reasonably proficient with every piece of technology that will help you in points 1-7 or identify which skills you’ll pay for in others. Learn to type. Touch type. Yes, really! Your writing life will be so much easier.



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17 responses to “Sue’s seven useful things to know about writing for money

  1. Thank you, Sue, these really the most helpful tips I’ve read in a long time. Also cheered me up to realise I’m doing as much of these as I can. I like to greet rejection with the same response as acceptance i.e. cake/chocolate/wine in any order and any quantity and swearing for both usually works too!


  2. Thanks for the sensible down-to-earth home truths! Especially the bit about self-motivation.


  3. Reblogged this on Writing, Work and Wine and commented:
    Great post by Sue Moorcroft on writing … Enjoy! Nikki x


  4. Good tips, Sue – thanks!


  5. Reblogged this on Medway Mermaids and commented:
    Some great advice from novelist Sue Moorcroft…


  6. Read your blog on Medway Mermaids. Hope our members find it useful.
    Susan Pope


  7. Oh, fab tips, succinctly outlined, Sue. And I so agree with the learning from rejection and moving on. Just channel the emotion. It works for me. Thanks for sharing. x


  8. Great post, Sue. I learned to touch type at college when I was 16. I used to dread those lessons. jjjjjjjj kkkkkkkk lllllll mmmmmmm fffffff dddddd and so on and so on. Yawn, yawn. BUT it was the BEST skill I ever learned in life. It’s great to just look at the screen now and watch the words appear on the page, without having to look at my fingers. And I can pretty much type at the speed I’m thinking: added bonus!! Mind you, I did play the piano which must have helped. Have a lovely Christmas holiday and I wish you continued success throughout the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny because I’ve come to learning the piano in the last few years and think being able to type hinders me! Maybe it’s because I have been typing for too many years rather than learning the two skills alongside one another. But typing’s a great skill. A life skill, like learning to drive.


  9. Pingback: Late New Year Links | Becky Black

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