Monday, May 19, 2014

How to make a living as a writer. Part #1 Get over yourself

Part #1: Get Over Yourself 

I am sure there re many of you out there who want to write a book, maybe you have written a few and really wish your sales were up so you could suit the old day job. I can tell you from first hand experience I know what you feel, I got it, I am with you. In all, I understand the need for validation, and a big fat check to rub in the faces of publishers and maybe even a few friends.

This last weekend I went to a school/church function for my kids and saw a lot of old friends that I had not seen in years. The one question that I got asked over and over was: "So are you still writing?" I would nod and smile and wait for the follow up question. "So, you are doing okay? You are able to make a living?"

To this I nod again and smile. So far I have made over a million dollars with my books and yet most of my family has yet to read a single book, most my friends see this as a cute hobby poor Aaron does and hopes I wake up and get a "real" job so I don't starve. I figured by now I would be taken seriously but maybe that is like the old saying: A prophet has no honor in his own country.

To date of this post I have 12 novels published, I publish for over 40 different authors and between the 2 or so publishing houses I run/own I host over 100 titles. By the end of the year 2014, I'll personally have over 20 novels to my name and be once gain on the New York Times bestseller list and a few others. I say all this to help you. There is not a day where you see an old friend and they look at you with envy instead of pity. Writing is looked at as a hobby, a thing old people do before they die. So why should they think anything else?

Deal with it. I don't really care as long as I can pay my bills and go on vacations like I want. Forget validation. Heck, even the big 6 publishers, think I am some self published loser. No matter how many times I beat them to the punch I am "lucky" a flash in the pan. Maybe in 20 years when I am still around I'll get a nod instead of a look of pity. But I ask you, does it really matter?

Do yourself a favor and get over trying to impress anyone. We live in-between our ears and no one will ever be able to live up to how you think you rate. In short, you think and I think we/I am way more important than we really are. Shall we start by getting over ourselves?

You may be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with making a living as a writer?" To which I say, "Before you can learn you must get over the person looking back at you in the mirror." We all have to see that maybe our books don't sell cuz they are crap, or maybe they have the worst cover known to man, or maybe your poor book has a author attached to it that everyone hates! Get out of your own way. Most if not all the people that come to me for marketing advice rate in their own ways. To me I look at their branding or marketing and can in 5 seconds figure out why their book is not selling, but to them it is a huge mystery.

So to start this series I want you to look in the mirror and forget all the self esteem tapes, give up trying to impress anyone and say out loud. "I have no idea what I am doing. I am an average writer. I am not as important as I think, I need help."

If you can honestly say that, and believe it, you are on your way to making a living as a writer. You my friend can one day quit your day job and live your dream. Am I being mean? Maybe… but I really want to help.

Now as my part, in honor of this journey: I Aaron Patterson have no idea what I am doing. I am an OK writer and want to one day be a great one. I am not as important as I hope to one day be, to someone, anyone! I need help. A lot!

All I have to give is what I know. What I know is what I have done. And I promise never to do something that I personally will not do myself. This is trial and error, we learn by mistakes and if you want, I'll make some mistakes for you so you can have a smoother ride.

Join me.

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. A million bucks? Really? NYT bestseller list? I'm not trying to be facetious here: I truly want to know. Can you post evidence? I admit I'm skeptical (but that's healthy, I think). Convince me, a budding author who's completed his first book. If there's something to learn here, I want to learn it...

  2. Lol… you want pay stubs? I rest my case this is why I did a blog post like this. =)

    1. Oh lord no! That's your business, and nobody else's (except the IRS, I suppose). I thank you for your blog post--it just would useful to see a little more evidence. Did not mean any offense--just trying to keep an open mind. I LOVE to see people making a successful living outside the rat race!

  3. You know, it seems a good time to post on your blog, although I've been reading it for a long time, this is the 1st time I'm commenting. I just wanted to let you know that I decided to self-pub after meeting you at your birthday party last year. You won't likely remember me (though you may remember my name -- Buffy). However, after reading this blog and some of the comments, I can tell people who read this that Aaron is the real deal. If you take the time to read this blog plus the other places online that Mr. Patterson guest blogs, you'll find a wealth of information that will help you. I know I did.

    My book is done and in the BETA stage. It should be out later this year. I've been writing for a long time as a journalist. My big question was self-pub or not. I'm glad I'm going this route. From the feedback that I've gotten so far, it's a good book. I already know how to help people find me online. Now, I just have to publish. And then start the next book. All in good time.

    In any event, I'm not writing for any other reason than to say a big "thank you!" I'll continue to read your words of advice here. I appreciate you and your honesty, Aaron. You do good work. :)


    Buffy Naillon

  4. Hello Aaron, I'm struggling to find book 3 of the Airel saga in the Google play store, will you help me please?

    Kind regards,


  5. Thanks to January Reader Appreciation Event I found my way to this blog. Aaron, you have a great sense of humor, you give an old gal (I am a grandma) hope that someday I will be able to transition to the next level with no regrets left n this world. All my life I have heard - get a real job. I have been self-employed since my 20s, not rich but able to make my own decisions and mistakes. Keep going Aaron - you are an inspiration to all ages.
    Rebecca Frank

  6. It's amazing at the amount of people that think you can't make a living at writing.

  7. Wow! Now this is some valuable information finally! I've been wanting to write and wanting to write and kept putting it off because I just couldn't leave my day job. I think it's possible now to slowly enter. So much information! Thank you!