Is It Hard to Make Money Writing Fiction?

If you like to read and write fiction, you have probably realized that it is not very common for fiction authors to make mind-boggling sales and gain an incredible amount of popularity. While it does happen to the lucky few, it is actually not just luck that makes these authors. On the contrary, there are things that you can do to start making money as a fiction author.

To make money writing fiction, you should read and write fiction often, finish your projects, and publish frequently to make yourself more well-known, more authentic, and better at your job. Making an effort and being productive will help you make money as a fiction author.

While these are the steps to making money as a fiction author, there are details to each of them that will help you be more successful as a fiction author. Keep reading to learn more about the things you can do that will help you make money!

Write Often

The very first step you can take to start making money as a fiction author is to write often. This follows the saying “practice makes perfect”. If you are going to become a well-known fiction author, you need to be writing often so that you can consistently improve your writing. Improving your writing will make your work more enjoyable to read thus making you more established. You’ll be able to write faster and better if you work at it consistently.

Getting better at writing is only one part of all of this. It is important and you will want to make it a habit, but there is more to it than that. Writing frequently will also help you make more content. Making more content is what will make your work worth reading. When an author has one book, it might be intriguing, but when they have a bunch of books, they are immediately more credible. Anyone can write one book, but it takes a good, dedicated writer to write a series or several novels.

In addition to writing often, you need to be reading frequently as well. And don’t just read anything! You should read a lot of fiction and many different kinds of it. Reading fiction will help you keep up with how much writing you’re doing as well. It will give you more ideas and more perspectives on storytelling. Reading fiction will make you a better writer because as you read, you will pick up on little details that make a story effective and memorable.

Finish your Projects

The next step to making money as a fiction author is to finish your projects. While that seems like obvious advice, not every writer is very good at following it. Finishing projects is what will make you well known and it is also what will make you a better writer.

When you don’t finish your projects and the time comes when you need to, you will really struggle to finish it. This will not make you a better writer, but finishing each new project will help you understand what was good and bad about each project so you can improve.

The other benefit to finishing your projects is that you will have more content to sell which will also make you more money. When you finish what you start, you will feel more satisfied with it than if you leave a few things undone. Being satisfied with projects will motivate you to write more, which will only benefit you.

Publish Frequently

The final tip to make money writing fiction is to publish frequently. This can seem like a daunting step if you’ve never published anything before, but doing this is the way to make money as an author. You can self-publish, or you can publish through a publisher. Both options have their pros and cons. Either way, publishing your work is how you make money; it does you no good if it’s just sitting in a buried laptop folder.


There are so many ways to self-publish and some of the most common ones are through Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords publishing. Each of these has 60%-70% publishing royalties, which makes you significantly more money than publishing through a publisher. However, you have to spend money from your own pocket on marketing, cover art, and editing, and without a publisher behind your book, some people might not want to read it.

Through a Publisher

The other way to publish is by having a publisher accept your work and publish it. This can be a great benefit if they want to publish your book because then they will edit, help with cover art, market, advertise, and give you a pretty significant audience. The downside to this is that publishers take most of the money from each sale. An author typically gets $1.25 per copy sold at a 10%-15% royalty, so you really have to sell a lot of copies to make a decent living.

Established Fiction Authors

Authors that make money from writing fiction have worked hard and have been productive to achieve their success. They have written often so that they can get better, they finish a lot of different projects, even if they don’t publish everything. When they have something that they want to publish, then they do it and get it out there. They have done a lot to get where they are now, and the benefits are significant when they put in the work and dedication.

On average, a fiction author today makes about $15,000-$130,000 per year, and that depends on popularity, how many books they have published, and who they publish through. The amount that a fiction author gets paid is not a consistent income, and new authors might have a good year or two of being a full-time author before they have to pick up a regular job again. It’s not the right career for everyone, but it could be a fun way to make money and publish your ideas.

Being an author can be a very fickle career path, but if you put the work in, consistently get better, and get yourself out there, then you can get to the point where you are making enough money to be a full-time author. Keep working and be productive!

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