What is Sustainable Writing?

Like sustainable fishing or farming, sustainable writing does not consume more resources than it brings in. The writer consistently breaks even,  instead of losing money .

Most writers have the eventual goal of turning a profit through their writing. They may dream of the day when they can quit their day jobs and live on royalties alone. However, if financial irresponsibility drives them out of the business prematurely then they will never achieve that goal.

Aspiring writers are often told that, “It takes money to make money.” This axiom is true only up to a point. It is possible to spend far more than you can afford on frivolous business expenses that do not yield a profit in the long-term, as many a bankrupt entrepreneur can tell you. Writers need to be especially wary of this because there are unscrupulous vanity presses, bogus agents, and other parasite industries that feed upon the hopes and dreams of writers.

Since the whole business of writers is to let their imaginations run wild, it is hardly surprising that they have big dreams. Maybe you recognize some of these:

  • To have your name on the cover of a book you can hold in your own hands
  • To see your book on display in a bookstore
  • To be the featured author at a book signing gala

There are plenty of unscrupulous people who will be happy to make these dreams a reality, for a hefty sum.

This is why it is so important for aspiring writers to be wise and discerning when it comes to investing in their careers. Some good questions to ask about any writing related expenses are:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Is there a less expensive way to achieve the same result?
  • If I must pay for a marketing opportunity, how many books will I need to sell to recoup that investment?
  • How realistic are my expectations?

Next time: Setting a budget for your writing business.



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