Defining Your Writing Career

Today’s Indie Author Life post is featured on Pubslush! Here’s a sample:

People sometimes ask me, “What was the defining moment in your writing career when things really started taking off?”

First, I appreciate the use of the term “writing career” and not “writing hobby” (that’s not sarcasm). For the longest time, it felt like a hobby, and I treated it as one by assuming no one would ever read my work besides myself, and close friends. 

Over time, I started thinking more like a businessperson. To begin, I created my own domain: I also narrowed down my “pitch” for people who ask what exactly what I do for a living. It’s not enough to simply say “writer,” as this is very general and non-specific. My response now is brief but to the point: “I’m an independent author of young adult fiction, memoir, and poetry. I write about difficult social issues such as abuse, feminism, and religion, with guides for book club discussion in the back.” When you know who your target audience is, you will know who best to direct your pitch. For me, that includes women’s groups and churches.

I’m more on my way to a “writing career” today than I was six months ago, but I don’t think there’s any one technique or particular moment when I suddenly went from hobby writing to Career Writing. I’ve asked other authors this question, and they mostly agree: a writing career happens over a series of publications, marketing decisions, and just plain shooting in the dark, hoping something works. If there was one foolproof method out there for authors to get noticed and make money, we’d all be using it. You can only keep trying new things and stick to something that works for you.

Read the rest here.


About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
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7 Responses to Defining Your Writing Career

  1. Transitioning from hobby to career is so much of a mental challenge, isn’t it?


  2. eclecticalli says:

    Really appreciate this — I’m in the process of figuring out exactly my focus (I know what I want, but is that what I’ll be best at?) and getting my footing. It’s so nice to get to read the experiences and reflections of people who are further in the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth Caplin says:

      I hope I sound like I know what I’m doing! That ‘shooting in the dark’ line is probably more accurate 90% of the time 🙂 but I’m working on it! Where are you in your writing process?


      • eclecticalli says:

        I’ve been writing for a VERY long time, but just recently have realized that, if I want anything to happen with it, I have to be willing to put in the hard work (in other words, this spring realized that I wanted it to be what I DO, not just a hobby or pastime). I’ve got my blog up and going pretty well, and am working on a fiction-blog (with more than a bit of world-building going on there as well). Now, trying to get my first draft of a fiction novel ready to edits, and deciding how else to proceed (do I want to look at freelance, if so what kind? I also want to do some non-fiction historical work, so trying to figure out the best places to start in my research for that, and debating doing some work with the thesis I finished a year ago to put it to use in some way).
        Watching how everyone else is stumbling through the dark helps me to see at least some of the obstacles that might trip me up on my own shooting in the dark 🙂


  3. Congratulations on the feature! It was another great post in this series. It is surprising how the shift can happen when we don’t expect it and sometimes be so organic. I really enjoy this series of posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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