Being a professional writer is inherently unique when you compare it to other types of careers. When you write for a living, you rely more on creativity than technical skills and soft skills. You also work mostly unsupervised, which requires a lot of self-discipline and great time management. And sometimes, the job almost feels like that of an entertainer because you can gain fans from it.
But one of the unique parts of being a professional writer is the financial aspect of it. The pay is often irregular, unlike a traditional job where you get paid bi-monthly or weekly. Some authors get paid in advance, while some receive payment after the job is done. Moreover, the pay for professional writers varies; it could be hourly, it could depend on the length of the book, or it could also depend on the writer’s reputation.
All these variables aside, there is one thing that is certain: very few writers have stable finances. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some of the best financial tips specially made for professional writers.
- Wait before you self-publish
Self-publishing your creation will require a certain financial investment, depending on the publisher you choose. Whatever that amount may be, you must be financially ready before you go through the steps of self-publishing a book. The process is rarely cheap, and if you are already struggling with your finances, it is best to wait before you can self-publish without going completely broke.
If you cannot pay out-of-pocket, you can finance the self-publishing process with a loan, be it from a financial institution or someone you know. Either way, you must ensure that you can pay back the loan on time even if your book sales do not perform as well as anticipated.
- Build a buffer
A cash buffer or emergency fund is your financial safety net if things go the way you planned. Being a professional writer does not guarantee a stable income (unless you have regular employment or are already a successful author). A buffer will help keep you afloat when you, say, don’t receive your advance on time or fail to meet the deadline.
- Find another source of income
Only a small portion of professional writers (individuals who spend most of their time writing) earn their incomes from writing alone, according to a study by the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society. That said, it may be unrealistic to expect that writing alone can support all of your expenses, much less build wealth from it.
Find another source of income that will cause minimal distraction from your main job. This could be a part-time job or a full-time job, depending on your financial needs. A work-from-home job is the best option for a professional writer as it would allow you to focus on your writing better, as opposed to a regular job where you have to commute every day.
Whatever the case may be, having a side job apart from writing is an additional layer of financial security against the instability of a writer’s income. It can also provide you with more peace of mind knowing that you have another source of income, which can help you focus on your writing with little to no worry.
- Make a budget and stick to it
If you get paid in advance or receive checks irregularly, it is an absolute must to budget and stick to it. You don’t want to run out of money weeks before your next payment, and you surely don’t want to compromise your writing because of financial troubles. That said, create a monthly budget that is below your income. Take note that this can change depending on how much you’re earning for the month, especially if your payments are irregular.
Then, stick to that budget, even if you have to make sacrifices along the way. The goal here is to live below your means and ensure that you have a buffer if the money stops coming. Furthermore, you have to ensure that you can support your daily expenses to keep writing—otherwise, things can start to unravel and you may find yourself in a tight financial spot.
If your income as a professional writer is irregular, these financial strategies can help you better control your money. More importantly, following these strategies can help you make a financial safety net of yourself, as well as give you more peace of mind knowing that you have your money in check.
Meta title:Money Management Tips For Professional Writers
meta desc: If you want to better manage your money as a professional writer, this article is for you.