Frankly, it’s perfectly understandable to develop a soft little dream about the idea of writing a book. The dream almost always consists of watercolour imagery and international renown – and that’s rather lovely. I have no interest in messing up that image.

However, practicality demands that we address the annoying truth: insurance premiums need paying, vets don’t work for free, and if you are going to work as a writer, you’ll need to know how to make money because, chances are, it’s not going to happen with only one book.

None of us is allowed to lose heart over that statement. There are always more words.

Anyway, there is a practical aspect to writing and the best example of handling that side of things, came in the form of a guidebook.

Here’s some recommended reading:

Book Review – How To Make A Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Terribly enthusiastic in its execution, Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing starts out with a section about the author’s background and the importance, to an author, of exploring multiple streams of income because (and this took some time to get my head around) writers must think of themselves as entrepreneurs.

It does seem to take some of the romance out of the novel-writing world but, as I can personally attest, you can’t pay bills with romance. Dammit. Luckily, Ms Penn hones in on some very important questions around the subject of success and what it might mean to the reader and that, really, is what this guide is about – setting your own goals and keeping them in mind.

There are great ideas on increasing productivity, maintaining a positive mindset, as well as a couple of excellent chapters on the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs independent publishing. There’s also a step by step guide on self-publishing an ebook, paperback and audiobook, as well as setting up multimedia courses, products and services and a word on affiliate links. (I’m not altogether fond of affiliate links myself, having had a pretty lousy experience with them, but the most important message Ms Penn has on this subject is to address affiliate sales ethically. That might have made a difference in my situation.)

Of the principles which gave me some hope, the most important was this – “We’re talking about creating intellectual property assets that will put income in your pocket for years to come. It might be a small trickle every month at first, but that will increase in time as you add more to your portfolio.” And I suddenly felt a lot better about my own writing journey.

There’s a great load of tips in this short guide and I learnt a huge amount from it.

The only negatives for me were the fairly frequent links to Ms Penn’s website. I don’t doubt her credentials for a moment but the links got annoying after a while.