Author Topic: What makes a 100k author?  (Read 47307 times)  

Offline JaclynDolamore

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #475 on: June 19, 2017, 05:57:58 AM »
People buy into this idea that making a lot of money frees you to do what you want. But keeping your expenses minimal has the same effect and you don't have to put yourself through the wringer to keep 'making it'.

This has been my entire secret. Live somewhere cheap and keep your life modest and you can be free on very little. I live an hour west of Baltimore and DC. It's just a little too far for most people to want to commute, so it's pretty cheap (not 60k cheap, but still pretty cheap), but everything you can dream of is an hour or less away. It's also gorgeous out here! And there are so many farms. *noms on cherries grown down the street* There are so many nice places to live if you don't need to be right in the center of the action.

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Offline SkyScribe

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #476 on: June 19, 2017, 06:01:12 AM »
This has been my entire secret. Live somewhere cheap and keep your life modest and you can be free on very little. I live an hour west of Baltimore and DC. It's just a little too far for most people to want to commute, so it's pretty cheap (not 60k cheap, but still pretty cheap), but everything you can dream of is an hour or less away. It's also gorgeous out here! And there are so many farms. *noms on cherries grown down the street* There are so many nice places to live if you don't need to be right in the center of the action.

Life choices do make a huge difference in how much you need to live. I actually know people who are able to get by entirely on very minimal sales.

Offline kathrynoh

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #477 on: June 19, 2017, 06:05:23 AM »
Just to continue with this digression, I think you have to be careful with the whole idea of moving to a cheaper area. My mum lived in a very cheap area in rural Australia which provided a cheap living but when she got sick last year, the medical care in the area was abysmal. Other support services were pretty much so under-resourced that they may as well have been non-existent.

Of course, every area is different but we met a lot of people who'd sold up their lives in the city to make a "sea change" and all of them regretted it or at least wished they'd done more research first.

Japan is great but if I spend more than three months here the passive aggressiveness makes me want to punch people. And it has more busybodies getting up in your [crap] per capita than any other country in the world.

To tie this back to the original point, I've travelled and lived in places where the cost of living is next to nothing but I'd far rather live a minimalist lifestyle by choice and earn the big bucks than be forced to live that way.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 06:07:37 AM by kathrynoh »

Online MClayton

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #478 on: June 19, 2017, 06:19:35 AM »
That hit a chord with me as well.

Me, too.

Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #479 on: June 19, 2017, 06:32:10 AM »
Japan is great but if I spend more than three months here the passive aggressiveness makes me want to punch people. And it has more busybodies getting up in your [crap] per capita than any other country in the world.

When I was an ALT I had a little bit of that, but when I started teaching literature and moved to Kagoshima City, almost never had anyone being nosy. Not even my in-laws, who lived in the same building as us.

As for the passive aggressiveness, the Japanese have nothing on my mother's side of the family, so there's actually less of that.

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #480 on: June 19, 2017, 06:52:44 AM »
Nothing cheap about DC. I'd have to be at $200k+ for multiple years to consider quitting my day job. Family Health Insurance isn't cheap. Even a low-end house will set you back $300k, but once you own, the housing market appreciates very nicely.

I don't know about DC itself, but northern Virginia is super selective about what housing areas are hot and which are dead. I had a condo in Loudoun County that I could not sell for the life of me, and the townhouses and condos near where my wife and I bought in Alexandria are rarely listed for more than a day without multiple contracts crashing in. It's hyper location sensitive around here.

Online Douglas Milewski

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #481 on: June 19, 2017, 07:13:24 AM »
I don't know about DC itself, but northern Virginia is super selective about what housing areas are hot and which are dead. I had a condo in Loudoun County that I could not sell for the life of me, and the townhouses and condos near where my wife and I bought in Alexandria are rarely listed for more than a day without multiple contracts crashing in. It's hyper location sensitive around here.


Some places are evergreen expensive (hello, Georgetown), while others get trendy (such a Clarendon in the '90s), and others aren't much to talk about. Still, a rising tide lifts all boats, and even my first cheapo house in a "very questionable" area (just about the opposite of hot that you could get), at the bottom of the housing market, sold in one day, and made me a good profit when we relocated to a better school district.

Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

Offline Crystal_

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #482 on: June 19, 2017, 09:33:52 AM »
Not everyone wants to live in a rural area.

Be careful counting on spending less. It can go very wrong if you have a medical problem or need to support a family member or put a kid through college. It's always good to watch your spending, but it's better to do it because you're saving money rather than because it's your only option.

Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #483 on: June 19, 2017, 09:48:09 AM »
Not everyone wants to live in a rural area.

Be careful counting on spending less. It can go very wrong if you have a medical problem or need to support a family member or put a kid through college. It's always good to watch your spending, but it's better to do it because you're saving money rather than because it's your only option.

You don't necessarily have to move out to the boonies. You can find places that are semi-urban with decent health care facilities.

Offline Martitalbott

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #484 on: June 19, 2017, 10:38:21 AM »
I swore I'd never come back here, but if it helps... I have 44 novels, 2 discount price omnibus, and 5 permafree (4 first book in a series and 1 collection of 3 free books).

I've hit 100K and more a few times in my seven years with this little hobby. I've made a lot of mistakes along the way too, and suffered sharp painful drop-offs. One of which was moving from wide, to KU, and then back to wide. It was like starting all over.

Of course it is the story that sells. It is also the ability to keep the readers engaged from the first page to the last. The way to do that, I learned early on, is to make every book a mystery no matter the genre, and every end of chapter at cliff hanger. Basic stuff.

There have been many changes in marketing and most of them not good for authors. Believe me, I've tried them all. Last week I got an email from a company that claimed it could make me a bestselling author by (them) enrolling my books in KU. Really? What a novel idea!?! Anyway, the world of marketing changes almost as fast at reader trends, so you just have to test them for yourself. 

Social media is time consuming, but can be rewarding. There are readers out there who love talking to an actual author. They'll help you promote if you let them. I pepper my promotion posts with funny and interesting shares, and run contests for free copies of my upcoming novel. I try not to promote my books often, just once in a while when a book is not selling

Best advice -- read everything you can find on hints and tricks for making your books sell better. Don't be afraid to change your cover art, your content, and your blurb as often as you need to make them better. If it ain't working...fix it. Some don't agree  with me, but your blurb should be a mini-mystery. Give readers a reason to want to know what happens. That's what sells books.

Marti Talbott, over and out.

Offline Morgan Worth

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #485 on: June 19, 2017, 11:53:08 AM »
Not everyone wants to live in a rural area.

Be careful counting on spending less. It can go very wrong if you have a medical problem or need to support a family member or put a kid through college. It's always good to watch your spending, but it's better to do it because you're saving money rather than because it's your only option.

This. The same thing is true if your children have special talents or interests that are hard to nurture in a small town or more remote area. An hour drive to practice vs 15 minutes makes a big difference in your quality of life. Not that you have to have your kids on that elite team or involved in that special-interest club, but it's another limitation that comes with living in certain areas.
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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #486 on: June 19, 2017, 12:23:02 PM »
Some don't agree  with me, but your blurb should be a mini-mystery. Give readers a reason to want to know what happens. That's what sells books.

Marti Talbott, over and out.



I completely agree with you!  Too many times blurbs remind me of movie previews, where they show the basic plot in the clips.  Why see it?  I like to get just enough info to be intrigued...so I'll read the book. :)

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Offline Dpock

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #487 on: June 19, 2017, 12:56:35 PM »
This. The same thing is true if your children have special talents or interests that are hard to nurture in a small town or more remote area. An hour drive to practice vs 15 minutes makes a big difference in your quality of life. Not that you have to have your kids on that elite team or involved in that special-interest club, but it's another limitation that comes with living in certain areas.

True. You don't want to live in the sticks, especially if you've still got kids at home. I like college towns of 25k - 40k that seem to have all the amenities of larger cities without the bustle or hustle.

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Offline KBaker

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #488 on: June 19, 2017, 01:29:34 PM »
True. You don't want to live in the sticks, especially if you've still got kids at home. I like college towns of 25k - 40k that seem to have all the amenities of larger cities without the bustle or hustle.

This is what type of area I currently live in (but don't own a house here). It has all the basic amenities here: good selection of restaurants, nice local businesses (even a bookstore!), hospital + various doctors, movie theater, and basic shopping. You can buy good 3br brick homes for 60-100k in good neighborhoods. 200k+ will you get you a fancy home. The downside, renting is expensive. I really like it and I'm an hour away from two larger cities if I want more to do. There's also a large lake for the outdoorsy people.

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #489 on: June 19, 2017, 02:24:21 PM »
I swore I'd never come back here, but if it helps... I have 44 novels, 2 discount price omnibus, and 5 permafree (4 first book in a series and 1 collection of 3 free books).

I've hit 100K and more a few times in my seven years with this little hobby. I've made a lot of mistakes along the way too, and suffered sharp painful drop-offs. One of which was moving from wide, to KU, and then back to wide. It was like starting all over.

Of course it is the story that sells. It is also the ability to keep the readers engaged from the first page to the last. The way to do that, I learned early on, is to make every book a mystery no matter the genre, and every end of chapter at cliff hanger. Basic stuff.

There have been many changes in marketing and most of them not good for authors. Believe me, I've tried them all. Last week I got an email from a company that claimed it could make me a bestselling author by (them) enrolling my books in KU. Really? What a novel idea!?! Anyway, the world of marketing changes almost as fast at reader trends, so you just have to test them for yourself. 

Social media is time consuming, but can be rewarding. There are readers out there who love talking to an actual author. They'll help you promote if you let them. I pepper my promotion posts with funny and interesting shares, and run contests for free copies of my upcoming novel. I try not to promote my books often, just once in a while when a book is not selling

Best advice -- read everything you can find on hints and tricks for making your books sell better. Don't be afraid to change your cover art, your content, and your blurb as often as you need to make them better. If it ain't working...fix it. Some don't agree  with me, but your blurb should be a mini-mystery. Give readers a reason to want to know what happens. That's what sells books.

Marti Talbott, over and out.

Thank you for attempting to get the thread back on track. I fear it's been permanently derailed, though. :(

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Offline Craig Andrews

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #490 on: June 19, 2017, 02:55:27 PM »
This. The same thing is true if your children have special talents or interests that are hard to nurture in a small town or more remote area. An hour drive to practice vs 15 minutes makes a big difference in your quality of life. Not that you have to have your kids on that elite team or involved in that special-interest club, but it's another limitation that comes with living in certain areas.

It's always a give and take, right? As parents of two young children, my wife and I decided that we were more than happy to drive 30 minutes to an hour to do most of these things, if it means our kids can benefit from growing up in a small town. In the last two years, my oldest son has had exactly one school lockdown, and that was because a bull from a local farm got loose and was near the kids' playground. We know each and every teacher, teacher aid, and faculty member, and have a real voice in how the class is managed. That voice extends well beyond the classroom to the larger community as well. To us, the real question wasn't whether our kids had to do those things, but if we are parents were willing to commute a little longer to make them happen. For us, we get the best of both worlds, and the extra commute is more than worth it.

Offline katrina46

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #491 on: June 19, 2017, 04:10:42 PM »
Wow... where in the world can I get a house for 60,000? They start at 350,000 in my neck of the woods.
Kingsville, Texas, about 30 minutes outside of Corpus. 60k will get you a very decent three bedroom. Actually, 50k will, if you're willing to put a little work into fixing it up. My part of Texas has a low cost of living. You get much more house for your money, but you're still close to the city.

Offline katrina46

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #492 on: June 19, 2017, 04:14:49 PM »
You don't necessarily have to move out to the boonies. You can find places that are semi-urban with decent health care facilities.
Kingsville is a decent sized town. It's not as big as Corpus, but it's not rural by any means. People would be surprised at the good deals they can find in real estate when they look around.

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #493 on: June 19, 2017, 04:19:08 PM »
Thank you for attempting to get the thread back on track. I fear it's been permanently derailed, though. :(

My apologies. I was really into reading the best practices of "What makes a 100K author?" and stated a question. I thought it would be just a quick reply. Probably should have made it a private message.... but thanks for all the great info on both discussions everyone :-)

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Offline katrina46

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #494 on: June 19, 2017, 04:22:33 PM »
Not everyone wants to live in a rural area.

Be careful counting on spending less. It can go very wrong if you have a medical problem or need to support a family member or put a kid through college. It's always good to watch your spending, but it's better to do it because you're saving money rather than because it's your only option.
It's also a matter of being responsible and including these things when you figure how much you need for savings. I've always been conservative. I'd never quit a job without a years savings in the bank and I won't quit until I buy my house outright no mortgage. In the end it's a matter of how you perceive the good life. I prefer living below my means and having a safety net so that I don't have to worry about the things you mentioned. The money is already there.

Offline Morgan Worth

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #495 on: June 19, 2017, 04:52:43 PM »
It's always a give and take, right? As parents of two young children, my wife and I decided that we were more than happy to drive 30 minutes to an hour to do most of these things, if it means our kids can benefit from growing up in a small town. In the last two years, my oldest son has had exactly one school lockdown, and that was because a bull from a local farm got loose and was near the kids' playground. We know each and every teacher, teacher aid, and faculty member, and have a real voice in how the class is managed. That voice extends well beyond the classroom to the larger community as well. To us, the real question wasn't whether our kids had to do those things, but if we are parents were willing to commute a little longer to make them happen. For us, we get the best of both worlds, and the extra commute is more than worth it.

I get what you're saying, and you're right. There is give and take. But willingness isn't always enough, especially when you have more than one child, each with her own practice/ class schedule.
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Offline katrina46

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #496 on: June 19, 2017, 05:02:27 PM »
My apologies. I was really into reading the best practices of "What makes a 100K author?" and stated a question. I thought it would be just a quick reply. Probably should have made it a private message.... but thanks for all the great info on both discussions everyone :-)
How do you think I feel, lol? I mention I'm going to buy a 60k house and that derailed the thread. Not sure how this got to be a where to live debate. I know what I want. I live in a place where I can make it happen. I could move to a larger city any time I want. I choose to live where I do because it's entirely doable to save my royalties and buy my house in very little time.
I edited to say my main point in that post is that you don't necessarily have to make 100k to be successful. I know people who make that and they don't have as much cash on hand as I do. To a certain point, it's about what you spend, not what you earn, which is not to say I don't have my sprees.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 05:08:59 PM by katrina46 »

Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #497 on: June 19, 2017, 05:50:44 PM »
How do you think I feel, lol? I mention I'm going to buy a 60k house and that derailed the thread. Not sure how this got to be a where to live debate. I know what I want. I live in a place where I can make it happen. I could move to a larger city any time I want. I choose to live where I do because it's entirely doable to save my royalties and buy my house in very little time.
I edited to say my main point in that post is that you don't necessarily have to make 100k to be successful. I know people who make that and they don't have as much cash on hand as I do. To a certain point, it's about what you spend, not what you earn, which is not to say I don't have my sprees.

It's certainly a good point, though. I mean, my partner and I will be buying a house next year for much more than $60k, but in comparison to the rest of my family, we're easily the lowest spending. My cousin worked in the oil industry for 14 years and could have literally set himself up 4 or 5 times over, but he blew all the money on basically nothing. Now that the industry is basically gone, he's got sizable debts. Eye watering amounts. When they moved back from Dubai, they spent $40k moving their dogs back. I love dogs, but come on. Forty. Grand.

That mining boom was really very interesting, because you basically had a lot of under-educated people suddenly earning $300k a year. That exact demographic now has the greatest mortgage stress in the country, because everyone acted like it was this never ending avalanche of money. I think the only people who did really well in the long run were the people who sold these miners jetskis and new cars. I'm not saying I would do better in their situation, because who really knows, but it really shows how easily money can be wasted, and it certainly shows how the tides can turn.

Looking at the catastrophic financial f*ck-up my cousin has gotten into, I've promised myself that if writing became a big earner for me, I wouldn't leave my job until I had cleared as many of my debts as possible. And even then, I wouldn't allow myself to spend more than say, 15% above my current salary now. I would be squirreling away that stuff by any means necessary.


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Offline kusanagi

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #498 on: June 20, 2017, 12:05:48 AM »
It's certainly a good point, though. I mean, my partner and I will be buying a house next year for much more than $60k, but in comparison to the rest of my family, we're easily the lowest spending. My cousin worked in the oil industry for 14 years and could have literally set himself up 4 or 5 times over, but he blew all the money on basically nothing. Now that the industry is basically gone, he's got sizable debts. Eye watering amounts. When they moved back from Dubai, they spent $40k moving their dogs back. I love dogs, but come on. Forty. Grand.

That mining boom was really very interesting, because you basically had a lot of under-educated people suddenly earning $300k a year. That exact demographic now has the greatest mortgage stress in the country, because everyone acted like it was this never ending avalanche of money. I think the only people who did really well in the long run were the people who sold these miners jetskis and new cars. I'm not saying I would do better in their situation, because who really knows, but it really shows how easily money can be wasted, and it certainly shows how the tides can turn.

Looking at the catastrophic financial f*ck-up my cousin has gotten into, I've promised myself that if writing became a big earner for me, I wouldn't leave my job until I had cleared as many of my debts as possible. And even then, I wouldn't allow myself to spend more than say, 15% above my current salary now. I would be squirreling away that stuff by any means necessary.



I was in Perth for a mining boom quite a bit for those gold rush years doing FIFO. Landlords charging $2.5K A WEEK rent for some crappy 3 bedroom brick veneer house and getting it. Damn it was a good time if one could save.

And in those quiet down times at the end of the working week, I used to fantasize about making six figures a year from writing fiction. But I never did. So to get back to the OP question, what makes 100 k author, my answer would be this. Someone who writes and writes consistently. Because without those words down on a page, you might as well be dreaming.
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Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #499 on: June 20, 2017, 12:45:24 AM »
I was in Perth for a mining boom quite a bit for those gold rush years doing FIFO. Landlords charging $2.5K A WEEK rent for some crappy 3 bedroom brick veneer house and getting it. Damn it was a good time if one could save.

And in those quiet down times at the end of the working week, I used to fantasize about making six figures a year from writing fiction. But I never did. So to get back to the OP question, what makes 100 k author, my answer would be this. Someone who writes and writes consistently. Because without those words down on a page, you might as well be dreaming.

Booms don't last. What goes up must come down. Enter additional metaphors if you wish.

I've seen many writers sell well and then go back to nothing. The trick is to sell consistently. IMO that's what defines a career. That's what I want: selling consistently. I'm interested in lifting the troughs between releases and promos. Then the occasional Bookbub/new release spike is gravy.