Tara is wise. I'm going to go ahead and try to put out a concise summary of my last four years for perspective. In the Kboards, you'll find tons of success stories. I'm envious of every one of them, but somewhere someone is surely jealous of mine. I am a "full-time author," in quotes not because I don't know how to use them correctly but because full-time capability has netted me no more writing time. In fact, I've become more the housewife now that I'm no longer going to a job, tending appointments, household finances, any arising problems, and a host of animal-related issues on a daily basis.I'm on my sixth novel in four years (not lightning speed by any means and technically seven, but one was a practice novel), one of which was picked up by Thomas & Mercer (Amazon publishing) and another which got me a film option from a reputable Hollywood veteran. To hear those things one might figure (wrongly) that I'm living on Easy Street. I'm here to say no way. I had about a year of solid income (not "living money" but better than a grand a month) and then whatever happened (KU2, a book contract, and several other things) dropped my income by more than half. Then by half again. See, I'm full-time because I'm one of the lucky "financially independent" folks, again, not really, but we can live comfortably on my husband's salary and chose to do so when my grandfather became terminally ill. He needed me and I did what needed to be done for him, including quitting a good paying full-time job. Continuing to write has been made possible not because I keep publishing books or had a couple of small successes (SMALL), but because the husband can carry us. If you don't have a safety net, don't quit. That's my advice. It sounds to me like you're asking that question far too early anyway, but no matter how much you can write it doesn't guarantee you can sell--even if you're good. Even if you're great. Success in this business takes so much and to be self-supporting from it is rarer than you'd guess from surfing the KBoards. I hope you get there and I wish you a lot of luck, but be careful. As someone who does this gig FT, who doesn't do nearly as well financially as many others here, there's an opposing viewpoint to all the success stories. You don't want to quit a job you need and find out you're one of them.TaraCrescent said:If you are willing to make such a drastic change (quit your job!), can you make less drastic ones? Because if I boil your question down, it's the same thing I'm grappling with right now - how can I carve out some kind of quality of life while writing and working, or do I have to resign myself to no sleep/no exercise forever?
Can you move closer to work, eliminating that 3 hour commute? That'll free up time to write.
Do you live where you can take transit? You can write on the train.
If you can't do that, can you buy/train Dragon so you can dictate as you drive?
Can you talk to your boss about working from home one or two days a week? That'll free up commute time.
Or can you find another job, closer to you, even if you end up taking a pay cut?
I agree with what you are saying but there's another side to it too and that's looking at your needs. If you are single, no dependents and no debt, and live somewhere with a reasonable cost of living, you can be in the minor leagues and be doing well. I mean $7K a month is nothing to sneeze at.Anarchist said:In some ways, being successful as an author is like being successful playing baseball.
The majors are filled with folks who have managed, through talent, hard work or both, to leverage their abilities to make money. For simplicity, let's say their author counterparts are those who make at least $10,000 per month.
The minors, from A to AAA, are filled with folks who want to play baseball for a living, but haven't yet been able to reach the majors. Let's say their author counterparts are those making between $1,000 and $7,000 per month. They have dreams of making it to the "Big Show." For all but a few, those dreams will remain unrealized and they will eventually quit.
And of course, parks throughout the world are littered with hobbyists who play on the evenings and weekends. They don't make any money (in fact, participating may cost them money), but they enjoy themselves. Playing the game is their reward. Let's say their author counterparts are those who sell a few books a month. They love to write, but haven't developed the marketing chops to gain exposure and give their books visibility. They don't "train."
KBoards has a few major leaguers: Howey, Blake, Stinnett, Annie, etc. The rest of use are either in the minor leagues or are hobbyists. Most of us will never reach the majors. Some of us will "stick" in the minors and make a livable wage. But the majority of us will be consigned to play in parks and local fields for little to no pay.
@OP - before you quit your job, figure out whether you're in the majors, minors (A, AA, or AAA), or at the park. Then, figure out if you have a realistic plan to make the majors, or at the very least sticking in AAA. If you're not there right now, and lack a realistic plan to get there before your savings implode, don't quit your job.
Many kids dream of playing pro ball. All but a few will have to eventually give up on that dream.
Those are excellent points Kathryn.kathrynoh said:I agree with what you are saying but there's another side to it too and that's looking at your needs. If you are single, no dependents and no debt, and live somewhere with a reasonable cost of living, you can be in the minor leagues and be doing well. I mean $7K a month is nothing to sneeze at.
The other difference is that if you play ball and you have a good game/match or whatever they call it in basketball, it's gone. It's in the past. Sure you might be able to relive that glory but you can slap a new cover and blurb on it and do a bunch of promoting.
In terms of the OP, it's not just about what you can achieve as a full time writer but what your needs are now and in the future.
Best advice possible. Said way nicer than I was going to!Steve Vernon said:The REAL barometer that you need pay attention to will be your bank account. If you start seeing three or four pre-decimal-point digits worth of deposit falling into your account from your writing THEN you ought to ask yourself the question you are asking today.
If you go to work and tell your boss what you really think of him right now, odds are you are going to be so stressed out in a month or two when you are writing as fast as you can and collecting up a heap of collections noticing and wondering if you can hook up a hamster to your computer because the power company has pulled the switch...and you are going to suddenly find yourself too stressed to write.
...Give yourself time and build up a strong back catalogue and then when you have five or six or eighteen or twenty big fat zombie novels (or whatever you decide to write) rolling in those three or four or five digit monthly checks THEN think about pulling that pin.
Most of all just try and have fun with it for a while.