Writing A Book With A Day Job

writing with a day job

This is a guest post by author Peter Mulraney. The beauty of the self-publishing revolution is that it is allowing people to change theirs lives, whether that means being able to quit their day job, or even just pay a bill with their writing. Many authors struggle with writing more because they have a day job. Luckily, Peter shares some great tips and resources he uses to keep the production up, even with his day job. He’s doing it, and so can you!

Like many emerging writers, I have a day job that takes up a fair share of my time in return for a cash-flow. In the last two years, I’ve written and published After, the first book in the Inspector West series of crime/romance novels and two short non-fiction books. I’ve also written The Holiday, the second novel in the series, and a 500 word weekly blog post, which I’m currently converting into a book of reflections.

How long did it take to write your first novel?

It took me years to write the first novel but, with hindsight, I now realize that most of that time belongs to the fantasy I was entertaining of becoming a writer. When I actually decided to write the novel, it took six months to produce the first draft and another six months to get it ready for publication.

So how do you write a 90,000 word novel in six months while working?

Discipline and the correct tools.

I set myself a daily writing target of 700 words a day, which told me I could write the book in 130 days. The trick was in actually doing it on a regular basis. No waiting for inspiration!

Once I had the basic plan, and I mean basic plan, I simply sat down with the computer every night and wrote until I had 700 words. Most nights that took me around two hours and it was always an adventure.

My other secret is Scrivener. I write my novels, non-fiction books and blog posts in Scrivener. It’s a writer’s dream application with lots of helpful features, including a compilation tool that turns your document into ebook formats.

For my second novel, I was lucky enough to spend two months in New York during a very cold 2014 winter. I wrote 2,000 words a day while my wife was out of the apartment working. That meant that when I returned to Australia to go back to work at the end of March I had a complete first draft.

I find that letting the first draft sit for a month or so gives me the fresh perspective I need to switch to edit mode. I used that period to write the first of two short non-fiction books. Again, 700 words a day until the job was done. I wrote the second book in the Living Alone series while my in-house editing team worked on reviewing the second edition of the novel.

What marketing strategy are you using?

Wide distribution – my books are available on Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords and CreateSpace. Using Smashwords allows non-US based authors, like me, to get onto platforms like Barnes and Noble and some other interesting sites.

Author platform – my main internet presence is a WordPress blog, which I use to push content out to my profiles on GoodReads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. I also have a presence on the AuthorsDen, iAuthor, Authorsdb and Bublish, which require regular attention.

The main marketing strategy I’m following is the one articulated in Write. Publish. Repeat. The no-luck required guide to self-publishing success by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant with David Wright, which is why I will have five titles published by the end of 2014 and a third Inspector West novel ready for publication around this time next year.

NOTE from Book Marketing Tools: Sean Platt, co-author of Write. Publish. Repeat. was a guest on The Author Hangout, where he talked more about the strategy he uses to increase his production, why he does, and more great tips about running your self-publishing business. Click here to watch/listen to that episode.

Peter Mulraney is based in Adelaide, Australia, where he works as a public servant. He is the author of the Inspector West series of crime/romance novels and the Living Alone series of self-help books for men who find themselves living alone. You can find out more about Peter and his books at www.petermulraney.com and follow him on Twitter @PeterMulraney1

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