10 Reasons Why You're Not Making it as a Writer



hello everybody what phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the writing community is making it I want to make it as a real author it's a nice sentiment but it's not really meaningful everyone has their own definition of what making it means to them personally I felt like I made it once I was able to support myself financially off of my writing bestseller statuses and accolades can attribute to this title but ultimately making it really depends on who you ask on the flipside not making it is relatively standard no matter who you talk to if you didn't make it it means one thing no one's buying your damn books unfortunately this is a position that an overwhelming majority of writers find themselves in and that's what we're talking about today before we get started I wanted to give a quick thank you to audible for sponsoring today's video audible features an unmatched selection of audiobooks in a ton of genres like romance mystery fantasy and so on they also have audible originals which are exclusive audio titles created by celebrated storytellers in theatre journalism literature and more membership includes a one free audio book a month plus 30% off regularly priced audio books plus it's crazy convenient because you can be listening to audiobooks on your phone you can listen while you're commuting or cleaning or doing whatever if you're interested in checking out audible I hear there's this amazing dark fantasy romance available what's it called again oh yeah the saviors champion you can bet your ass that this is what I'm listening to on audible right now even better you can listen to your first audiobook for free by visiting audible.com slash Jenna maresi or texting Jenna reci to five zero zero five zero zero I've got all the information listed below but first we got a list of business blunders to get through I'm breaking down the top 10 reasons why you haven't made it as a writer and more importantly how to rectify this situation for the record I'm not talking about the obvious mistakes like not hiring a professional cover artist or not hiring a professional editor or not doing any marketing at all there are plenty of writers who hit all of these steps and still can't make a buck off their writing if you've made your product as polished and professional as possible and it's still not going your way I'm gonna let you know why so hopefully you can set things on the right path number one you relied too much on right to market right to market is a common tactic that encourages writers to write whatever is currently popular in their genre in order to cash in quickly another less flattering term for this is trend chasing right to market has proven successful for a lot of authors but it completely depends on your goals if you're comfortable producing a ton of books very quickly for an indefinite period of time then right to market might work for you however many authors aim for a sustainable career and a loyal audience and right to market doesn't really fit into this equation chasing a trend doesn't bode well for establishing yourself in a memorable way because you've made your writing interchangeable with everything else in the genre if you'd like a whole video devoted to the pros and cons of right to market let me know in the comments below on the flipside number two you don't give a about what readers want while right to market isn't sustainable that doesn't mean you should ignore reader preference entirely after all they're the ones buying your book you don't have to chase trends but you should be aware of your audience and their desires and it's completely possible to write a story you're passionate about while still taking your audience into consideration for example say you have two concepts you're considering one is fantasy and one is dystopian then you take a look at your readership and realize oh dystopian zhan its way out people are sick of it in this hypothetical situation meanwhile fantasy has hit its revival this would be an ideal opportunity for you to work on the fantasy manuscript and put the dystopian on the backburner number three you are completely closed off to feedback there are a lot of authors out there who rely on the same three beta readers with every single book and then wonder why no one's reading their work three beta readers don't cut it the entire point of enlisting feedback before you publish is to make your work the best it can be I know plenty of writers who use the beta process as a backscratcher further but if you truly want to improve your craft you need to be open to feedback that means hearing things you don't want to hear before the book comes out and learning from it none of us are at the end of our journey we're all continually growing number four you don't have a strategy the single most time-consuming part of a book launch is creating a thought-out marketing strategy similarly the one step most authors neglect is creating a thought-out marketing strategy do you think Apple releases a new product on a whim do you think musical artists release new albums without some kind of business model book releases are something you have to plan and a proper book release will be executed down to every minut detail for the release of the savior's champion I had my social media presence planned literally day by day readership doesn't happen overnight and without effort you need a plan in order to contact the right people in the right manner number five you don't learn from your numbers some marketing strategies don't work period it may not make sense it may work for a million other authors but if it doesn't work for you toss it aside pay attention to your numbers analyze your accounting and sales figures too many writers cling to strategies that are widely accepted even though they don't work for them as opposed to learning from the results and moving on Facebook advertising works for countless authors but the multiple times I tried it it didn't work for me when I analyzed my figures I realized that a book of my audience wasn't using Facebook does this mean it's a terrible strategy of course not it's just not the strategy for me number six your ego sucks we've all seen those viral threads where a delusional douche lectures a literary agent for not grasping the depth of his genius how could she not see he's the next great American novelist his scapula erotica is transcendent this is usually the same person who picks fights on Goodreads and writes over 500 thousand word novels because every syllable they create is brilliant and no one likes this dick acting like a chump is gonna get you a bad reputation real fast people aren't gonna want to work with you they're not gonna want to promote you and of course they're not gonna buy your it's really hard to make it when your name is synonymous with batshit crazy number seven your cover art isn't cutting it your cover is one of your greatest marketing tools it gives your readers a snapshot of what they're getting themselves into thus not only does your cover need to be beautiful and professional it also needs to accurately reflect the content of your novel if you're writing horror the cover should be severe if you're writing erotica the cover should be sexy and don't forget about categories a young adult fantasy novel is probably gonna look a little different than an adult fantasy novel because they are catering to a different crowd and if you're not sure how to accurately reflect the content of your novel look at other book covers in your genre specifically the successful ones a trip to the buff store or an afternoon perusing Amazon could do you a world of good which brings me to number eight you never studied the market what are other authors doing what's working for them I'm not talking about trend chasing I'm talking about promotions giveaways and events how are other authors getting their names out there how are they selling so many copies I had no idea pre-sale giveaways were so popular until I studied the market and I can honestly attribute at least half of the success of my last book release to that very practice I cannot tell you how many authors completely skip the step of just researching popular marketing tactics and then wonder why their book isn't selling did you look at what's working for other authors no was I supposed to only if you'd like to be just as successful no big deal number nine you're telling the wrong story this is a problem for a lot of writers for a number of reasons maybe you're writing the wrong story because you relied too heavily on right to market you chose your story based on what was popular as opposed to what you're passionate about maybe you're writing the wrong story because you did what was expected of you you're a scientist so you wrote science fiction even though you actually prefer historical romance passion is evident if you don't give a about the content of your work readers are gonna be able to tell similarly your lack of care can affect the quality of your work because happy writers are a lot more invested in their projects maybe you haven't made it yet because your writing just isn't where it needs to be that could very well be because you're not writing what you need to be writing and number 10 you're not making it's not fair these other writers are so successful why can't I have a piece of that we'll have you published anything I mean no but but nothing you bitch if you want to make it as a writer you have to write something give the people a book to buy damn it and after you publish one book guess what you have to publish another it's very rare for an author to make it after one book you need a backlog in order to sustain your name a lot of writers who complain about not making it don't have one published work let alone several this should be a given if you want people to see you as a serious professional you need to do this professionally write the words get that published and keep the books coming so I got for you today a huge thank you to audible for sponsoring today's video if you'd like to gain access to a huge selection of audiobooks check out audible.com slash Jenna maresi or text Jenna Marcy to five zero zero five zero zero you can get your very first audio book for free and that audio book can and should be the savior's champion don't forget to subscribe to my channel I post new videos on Wednesdays and if you want to be alerted as soon as I upload ring that bell and be sure to follow me on social media I'm on Instagram Tumblr Facebook and of course you can tweet me at Jenna Marcy bye this is when Boonton if you haven't subscribed to Jenna's channel then by all means go for it the people will love you for it go on press the button ding that Bell see you soon

44 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why You're Not Making it as a Writer

  1. I would like to one day "make it". To me, "making it" is simply that I would like to publish a book. Not self-publish, I mean, but instead through an established publisher. Just to know that I can do it, you know? It's not about fame or fortune for me. Validation, perhaps. To earn the knowledge that yes, I was able to write a book. A book good enough that an actual publishing house wanted to print it.

  2. Dear lord, I think a lot of people need to hear this.
    I've been writing short works and articals for a long time. I finally have a book nearly done, almost ironed all the kinks and I'm incredibly pleased. Best yet, my hardest to please beta loves it.
    figuring out marketing is by far not going to be my favorite part. Even if I go with a publisher I know from talk with other writers the more self promotion you can invest in the better.
    But I do have to say one thing that has always stuck with me, few years back I was having a hard time working.
    Not for lack of wanting to work, but because there were people like family members who would not take "I'm working" as an answer.
    I met a writer at a con and asked a few questions about his writing process. then asked if he had advice for dealing with people not willing to let you write, and were convinced you'd fail anyway…
    He just said "just tell them to bug off if this is what you want to do they gotta suck it up"
    He pissed me off.
    I mean, yes he is partially right, but not completely.
    Like if my sister just dumps her children on me I can not just tell them to suck it up.
    They are flipping 5!
    In the end the way I finally got my answer, was marrying someone who was able to tell people to bugger off because I was her wife and my time was her time.
    I appreciate the support but it has still always bugged me, because I know I can't be the only one who had to deal with intrusive friends or family who don't believe writing can make one a living.

    as a final note… yes I would like to see more about chasing trends and such..

  3. Somehow, I don't actually think Jenna's listening to her own book on Audible. That claim is either puffery, or she's way too up herself for her own good 😉

    Oh, and thanks so much for giving me the phrase 'his scat-play erotica is transcendant'. Words in a sequence I never thought I'd hear, ever. My life is changed forever (though I know not if for better or worse)

  4. I don't write to market, but knowing how to get the information about what is selling in the market would be extremely helpful. I have passion, and yet I'd like to gain an audience. Ya know what I mean jelly bean?

  5. I’m twelve and I’ve got a bunch of characters and ideas and my dad wants me to write books. You are the first person that comes to mind when I think of author advice.

  6. The real reasons:
    Literary agents wont touch your book if you dont already have a large social media following, are already famous and making money, and basically publishing is corrupt. Lots of crap that doesnt sell is traditionally published but no one talks about this.

    In self publishing you need $$$.
    That professional editor will cost around 800-1000 if you have a lengthy novel. The big secret is all of them use writing software to trim the fat. I found this out by accident. You may need an editor, but decent ones are RARE.
    You need $$$ for book/cover design, publicity and marketing. You have to sell your book and it's a full time job.
    That being said, you're going to start out in debt for creating your book and if you break even in sales, consider it a success.

  7. "You actually have to write a book to make it as an author."

    How often does this actually have to be said?

  8. 6:10 I don’t know about you, but I would definitely listen to an erotica audiobook by Scatman Crothers

  9. Unlike you… I'll consider myself blessed if I had 3 beta writers… that's totally more than 2 beta writers than I probably would get (just because of the lanuguage I'm wriring it)

  10. At the risk of sound silly, would you do a video about Studying the Market?

    Because I'm honestly not sure how to even begin that.

  11. Me having been watching Jenna for the last half a year while my only project being a non-profit Fanganronpa: oh no I lack strategy:((

  12. this video is SO GOOD. for me, i've noticed that facebook ads don't work well as a marketing strategy either… what works well for me is being a consistent presence on youtube! (lol i have you to thank for that– your channel was a big inspiration to me before i joined!) i'm working on social media campaigns and a cover re-do for one of my books. thanks for the advice!! 🙂

  13. Jenna: But nothin', ya bitch!
    Me: Points at myself Who me? looks at all my unfinished stories Yep, definitely me.

  14. I am trying to write the next 'Man in the High Castle' as I have always asked the alternate history questions so I hope if I can get my alt-history published it will follow at least a fraction of the popularity of alt-history going on right now

  15. When your fav writeryoutuber tells you you'll never make it. Goes to Alexa Donne's channel, gets same spiel D;

  16. I feel like Storiad is not doing anything. After asking in a beta group on Facebook, someone suggested Smashwords and BooksGoSocial. After less than a week, I had already a review and one sale. While on Amazon I have hardly sold a book since its release. In the Amazon forum people said that their sales sank when they signed up to this KPD Select. I'm happy these 90 days are over and hope it will do a bit better.
    But I have only written and published one book, so I was not too surprised that hardly anyone bought my book. Others have also told me that I need to write more books, which I am working no now. The few reviews and feedbacks I have received were helpful and I hope that I can fix them in my second novel. Since English is not my main language, my editor was very generous on fixing it as good as she can.

  17. How did you get published and who published your books? I'm struggling to find a literatacy agent and I'm wondering how you made it.

  18. Jenna, I wanna say Thank You sooo much. My first book will be traditionally published soon. I couldn't have made it this far without your help. To me, you've been a great online mentor for such a long time, bless you!!!❤️

  19. One day Jenna I wail make a paragraph about how you changed my writing world because OH BOOOOOY Your vids are super helpful. I read the first three chapters of TSC and it got me hooked. I’m a little ‘poor’ but one day I will get that book and love it to the death! Thank you for everything Jenna! I also wanna read Eve as well in the near future. 🙂 I’m sorry this is so long.

  20. I might be the lack of strategy writer, but I’m slowly working out what works for me. Thank you for another great vlog

  21. I’m going to keep in mind the giveaway stuff.
    I’m currently at about 20% of my first draft, so I think I’ll start the big marketing junk once I’m finished with that and start rewriting.
    I have never published anything before, but I really want to make this work. I’ve already made the social media accounts, even a small website.
    These tips will really help me streamline the process. 🙂 Since I know I’m fine on the writing part, since many(also non-friends and teachers) have told me through the years I’m a talented writer.

    I’m Dutch, and so I write in the Dutch language. If any Dutch person sees this comment, and is interested in reading an Epic Fantasy, then like this comment(else I get no notification) and comment with an “I do!” or something, hahaha.

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