Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why Authors Become More Prolific Writing Fiction After 40

Why Authors Become More Prolific Writing Fiction After 40

Why Authors Become More Prolific Writing Fiction After 40

This came up in a couple of posts, saying that authors who were most prolific had no children and in some cases were single.

Of course, I’d wish this on no one. Some people can take a solitary life, and others – not so much.

This point actually aligns with Napoleon Hill, who mentioned that most people start being really successful after they have reached middle age (Chapter 11 of his Think and Grow Rich.)

“I discovered, from the analysis of over 25,000 people, that men who succeed in an outstanding way, seldom do so before the age of forty, and more often they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of fifty. This fact was so astounding that it prompted me to go into the study of its cause most carefully, carrying the investigation over a period of more than twelve years.”

There are a couple of factors here.

First, their children are out of the house. And they are now able to create a part-time business to become their actual retirement income. Meaning that you are now into your second-half of your third act. The 20 years it took to graduate with a degree, then the first 20 years of your career, then the second 20 years – where you build an auxiliary income that will start taking off in time to be another career when you are supposed to “retire.” Your third act is that last 20 years we are all supposedly able to live long enough to enjoy.

Second, there is a natural cycle of maturity. José Silva mentioned that “midlife crisis” is clarified by some natural cycles of 7 years. When you hit 7 sets of these (at around 49 years) then there is a shift where a person is “reborn”. According to some researchers, the human body should routinely be able to last for 150 years, which would be three sets of these. Our typical conventional wisdom says that this is impossible, but if you study longevity, you’ll find many examples where this has been done already.

I recall reading a book when I was still in high school that talked about a person in the Ural Mountains who died after living past 150 years. (He got married to his third wife when 100 years old, which followed the tradition of kidnapping her on horseback from a neighboring village. He ended up outliving his first four wives.)

How to Take Advantage of Your Extra Time

Now, you can and should already be writing, regardless of how old your body is. One author I heard from used 30-minute “blitz” periods where he typed as much as he possibly could during that time. He had three small children and this system enabled him to make his 2k or 3K  simply during each day.

The writing habit is the first one to get established out of the three habits you’ll need as an author. (The other two are reading and promotion.) But writing anything and everything you can every single day will set you up to start your second career. And so set up your “retirement” income that gives you financial freedom.

It probably means taking some space (like a spare bedroom) and changing it into an office. Your partner/spouse should also have one. You should be working to set up your part-time businesses.

Setting Up a Part Time Business to Build Your Fortune

Jim Rohn used to talk about having a full-time job to pay your bills and a part-time business to build your fortune. You keep working at the part-time business until it can actually replace your full-time job. Your fortune building then becomes a full-time occupation. More joy than work, ideally.

This happens in general (according to some experts in this field) when your part-time business is bringing you twice as much as your full-time job. This is essentially as you’re job is paying your insurance and the other half of your social security. (And other peripherals.)

Another point is that a start-up business should be prepared to make no income for five years, just covering all their rent and needed supplies for those first five years. Because most new businesses fail by then.

Now, writing is a great passive income, as you can simply keep adding books that will sell indefinitely into the future. They’ll never go out of print, and your promotion can increase sales of any and all of them. But you have no raw materials to purchase. This also applies to building courses from your non-fiction works.

All these passive sources of income tend to build up over time. The more books you have, the more people will go to read these as well as the one they now have. If they like that book. Same for the courses. Build them right and have the book sell the course and the course sell the book. Meanwhile, the audio you built the book from is also an audiobook. The audiobook becomes a CD that CDBaby sells in audio stores for you. Your ebook should be a paperback and a hardback. Amazon and all other outlets can sell one or more of these. Reader demand will get these stocked for you. And you can build that demand by promotion.

Backend Organization

Now, I’m not giving you financial advice. Check with professionals on this.

You want to set up your business so that it make enough income to be solvent on its own. It should pay back any thing you invest in it, but also starts to generate enough income to be self-sufficient.

Now a passive-income business doesn’t have to have employees. In that, we’ve just cut out the biggest expense. Next, that business doesn’t have to have a physical storefront. You’ll probably pay rent on a service like a web-provider, but you don’t have to have a website to start off with.

[J.] Konrath has run his business from a free Blogger blog for decades. Your book outlets will host things for you. Thinkific will host your courses for free, and you can pay to get a better “split of the action” once your courses start making income enough to cover that cost.

You are going to need an email list. Right now, the best one (cheapest) is MailerLite. Free for the first 1,000 subscribers.  Again, you don’t have to spend much besides your sweat equity to get started. Later, you’ll want to invest in other services. You just have to make sure they pay their way. Simple business basics.

Legal Hassles

Again, you should consult professionals.

Having a business should give you income that isn’t personal. It’s business income. Set up an LLC and go through the necessary steps (an extra Fed government form in the U.S.) to ensure its not seen as “pass through” income. It has to stand on its own. Then set up your finances so that that income is kept separate from your personal income.

When you get set to retire, then that income won’t affect what you are making on Social Security.

If you need to go to a Writer’s Conference, then your business should pay for all your expenses. Similarly, your home office should only be used for your business and so can be deducted from other taxes. (Yes, definitely see your accountant on that one.)

If you need a better computer to write on, then your business pays for it. Same for the audio equipment you’ll need.

You see how this can work.

You get paid royalties from your company if you want. Otherwise, you reinvest your income into other promotion, until you are earning so much income that you need to invest it somewhere else. When you need some money for an emergency, then pull from your royalty earnings. Configure it anyway you want. Just do it legally.

I just did this recently, so that I can separate my pen names out from my non-fiction. I’ve had an LLC the entire time, but wanted to set up another account on Amazon so that I could keep the two sets of income completely separate. So far, I’ve almost entirely published my own non-fiction and re-published public domain works. While this will give me an additional tax filing to do each year, it also sets up an Amazon account which doesn’t have records of my various goofs in publishing over the years. A clean slate.

How to Get Started

  1. Get the Writing Habit going. Even if its just keeping a journal you write in every single day. Then elevate this up to a word quota. Stephen King holds himself to 2K words per day. Frederick Faust (Max Brand, Dr. Kildare) held himself to 14 type-written pages (well over 3K words per day.)
  2. Get the Reading and Promotion habits going. You can watch TV movies, but these are better without the commercials. (I like the DVD discount racks at Wal-Mart for “old” movies.) When you watch with interruptions, you lose the flow of the movie. That said, you can also mute the sound and make notes of the last 12 minutes of show that way, from memory. DVD’s help you re-watch these later.
  3. Set up your legal base so your writing income is separate from your job income.
  4. Work on these three habits every day. A writing word quota, a reading/watching time, 3 promotion steps daily as Jack Canfield recommends.
  5. Set up your website, and email list, all your other accounts you need to run an online business.
  6. Run your part-time business as a business. Your primary metric is subscribers. Second is published words, third might be unit sales. Get those three and you then should be able to start tracking sales income.

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The post Why Authors Become More Prolific Writing Fiction After 40 appeared first on Living Sensical.



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