in Authorpreneur

Making Your Book a Career Instead of a Hobby

  • Buffer

It’s possible to be successful as an indie author. If you have a good idea, a good marketing plan, and a solid understanding of the industry, you can get your book out there and make money. However, if you want to be a truly savvy authorpreneur, you’ll have more than plans and ideas. While incredibly valuable, plans and ideas without actions and achievable goals aren’t really going to go a long way at making your book a success.

We have found that it’s usually the step from planning to doing that is the hardest for authors. It’s the step that takes your publishing journey from a hobby to a career. We’ve seen so many authors who have grand ideas and wonderful plans, but they don’t invest the time to build a foundation that makes enacting their plans possible. If life gets messy, it’s easy to go back to treating your book like a hobby, or even to not consider authorship a career at all.

Hobbies are wonderful things. It’s how most people get into writing. But hobbies, unlike careers, are secondary activities, and it’s almost impossible to be a great indie author if you don’t prioritize your book at all. So here’s list of achievable goals (see? Action instead of planning) that will keep you from letting your project fall by the wayside.

  • Set specific times of the day/week to work on your book.  It’s not enough to say that you’ll spend 15 minutes on social media a day. A vague to-do list is easy to blow off. You go to work for a specific amount of time, so why not do the same thing with your writing and marketing? Even 30 minutes of planned work that actually gets done every day is more valuable than a 12 hour sprint on a weekend after two weeks of inactivity.


  • Don’t work on your own. Unless you’re making your sole income off your book, it’s likely that you’re not dependent on your publishing project. Engaging with other people in the community in some way (blogging, writing groups, etc) will make others dependent on your work, and so you’ll be less likely to forget to do something. You don’t need to pay people to work with them (for example, participate in a blog tour!) but you DO need to hold up your end of the bargain, which will keep you in the game!


  • Focus on one thing at a time. An indie author is a jack-of-all-trades. They’re experts in writing, editing, design, marketing, social media. Pretty much everything under the sun.Your book is probably pulling you in a million directions. If you don’t focus on one thing at a time, it’s more likely than not that you’ll get a lot half-done, and nothing will be finished. And a half-finished book doesn’t help anyone! So spend one day a week on a different aspect of publishing, Or 30 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you plan ahead of time to focus enough to finish something.


  • Create a checklist. You probably have a plan of action for your book, and important sales goals, or some other type of marker. But have you put it into a calendar? Creating a checklist of goals and things you need to do (and when you need to have them done by) will help you assess whether or not you’re headed in the direction you want to be going in. Didn’t sell enough books this month? Then revamp your marketing schedule for next month, and reap the benefits when you find the right plan!

Be purposeful in your work as an indie author. While it’s true that treating your book like a career instead of a hobby is difficult and takes a bit more work, planning, doing, and then revising before planning and doing again will enable you to work smarter, not harder. It’ll stop you from feeling like you’re floundering, and will push you that much quicker to success!

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  1. I like the point about one thing at a time. You get overwhelmed and frustrated if you don’t pool your energy into one creative task at a time. That doesn’t mean you cannot multitask, but for instance use one day to focus on your blogs, another day strictly for the creative aspects, etc…otherwise you’ll wind up frustrated and unproductive. All the process to be focused but fun – don’t get burned out. Focus on this as a career, but also as a passion – not something you have to do kicking and screaming.

  2. Great ideas, enjoyed reading and took away some new things to try out!

  3. Great post and thanks for the tips. One thing I need to do is start scheduling my writing/marketing/promo time. Right now it’s – here, there, everywhere – this is a good reminder to get me back on a good schedule. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment Ian. You’re right on about setting aside time each day. It’s THE best way to stay on track.

    • Agreed. KDP makes life a lot easier for authors in several ways. Hmmm…a blog post idea?? Thanks for the link to your book. It looks very helpful.

  4. Balancing your time is of utmost importance and I am one of the guilty ones. I know it’s important but I fall backwards. One of my problems is too many pots on the stove, and I tend to run back and forth checking on each one but letting some stew too long while others get no attention at all. That’s not good! Focusing is vital. Good post! Thanks for reminding me of my shortcomings because I needed that.

    • Thanks for the comment Carol. Focusing is the challenge of every writer we know…glad the post was helpful for you :)

  5. Great advice all around. My writing definitely takes a turn for the better when I can sit down and focus at the same time each day.

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