by Dietrich Kalteis
Do you strive to earn income on your writing from other than royalties on books sales? If so, what additional income sources do you pursue?
I don’t have a grand plan for earning extra income outside of book royalties, I just try to write a good book, and maybe count on some blind luck. And while money’s a great motivator, I try not to let it be the carrot at the end of the stick.
Submitting short stories to paying markets, looking for gun-for-hire freelance work, editing and seeking out paying speaking engagements at festivals or writing groups can generate income. There are online directories like Duotrope that offers a searchable database for the short story marketplace, giving all kinds of info and submission details. Also submitting short stories for awards and prizes is another way. Writer’s Digest is another online source for writing markets that’s worth checking out.
When a new release comes out, there’s the book launch, appearances at book festivals and a book tour. Also reading events, writers’ panels, interviews, and speaking engagements. They don’t all pay, but they’re good opportunities to promote both writer and the work.
There are other things that can help gain some exposure: websites, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, ads, although results are hard if not impossible to track. And there’s social media. For me, social media can sometimes seem more of a curse, like when I should be writing instead of tweeting. And there’s Goodreads which is about all things books and allows for reviews and book giveaways. There are publicists for hire, and marketing services that can be found online that offer help for writers wanting to gain exposure.
I host regular Noir at the Bar events here in Vancouver. Besides selling a few books, its a great reading event and a chance to meet with other writers and some avid readers. This is my fourth year hosting the event, with the next one coming up next Wednesday, and I’m organizing the first one in Seaside CA this October, tying it in with my upcoming book tour for Zero Avenue (there, I plugged both event and book). Noir at the Bar events are popping up all over, and if you haven’t been to one, check it out.
Annual conferences like Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Crimefest, Thrillerfest, Theakson Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are a great way to meet readers as well as other writers. These events are a lot of fun, and people who write gruesome shit tend to be the nicest and most supportive people you’ll ever meet. It’s one industry where there’s a lot of support from your piers. And I’ve met some terrific writers just standing at a Bouchercon bar (now that I think of it, that’s where I met some of the writers on this blog). We obviously share a similar approach to promoting our books, with drink in hand. Cheers.