One of the biggest misconceptions I hear about becoming an author is that you must struggle, that there’s no money in writing. The surprising truth is that there are plenty of prosperous authors who are killing it right now, selling tons of books, and doing what they love.

When my parents heard that I wanted to stop working as a corporate project manager and become a writer, they worried. How would I save enough money to ever retire and live in my old age?

Friends were supportive, but some eventually started wondering when I would get a real job again.

My old boss at my nine-to-five job told me about the business he had once started and that he had to come back to the real world after it inevitably failed. Thanks for sharing, but I was determined to make it.

Some will argue that there is money in writing, but only if you land a publishing deal. The reality is that the traditional approach of going through an agent and shopping around your work can take years (all unpaid), and there’s no guarantee a firm will give you a deal unless you’re a celebrity or have an established audience with 100K+ followers.

When you’re chosen by a traditional publisher, you get a huge advance, and you’re set for life, right? Think again. I work with many authors who have traditional publishing deals. Their advances range from several thousand to several hundred thousand, but these are not amounts that let you retire. They are expected to spend several tens of thousands of their own dollars on marketing the book. Besides, the authors I work with love what they do and wouldn’t quit working anyway.

The truth is, authors can make a living with their writing.

Those prospering are independent (indie) authors who self-publish on their terms. They didn’t wait to be chosen by a publisher. They are making six and seven figures annually as writers.

I’m not going to lie; they work hard. Really hard. Writing and publishing several books a year, they also have multiple streams of income such as online courses, coaching/consulting services, and more.

Their mindsets recognize that they are independent authors, and they run their author careers like a business.

They pay for marketing and advertising, they hire staff to help them, and they invest in learning opportunities. They are constantly up-skilling and deliberately practicing to get better at their craft.

They never settle or publish something that’s crap. These prosperous authors have a brand, and they are consistent with how they approach business matters.

Most importantly, prosperous authors give back to the author community by helping others learn about self-publishing, sharing information and best practices, and giving out free information.

There are many examples of prosperous authors, but several that stand out are:

Joanna Penn

Bryan Cohen

Tim Grahl

Mark Dawson

Michael Anderle

Lindsay Buroker

Nick Stephenson

Make Money With Your Writing

You may remember Cassandra Gaisford whom I featured as a case study in Creating Space to Thrive. She has a book called The Prosperous Author: Developing a Millionaire Mindset.

prosperous authors

For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture. Many aspiring authors face low self-esteem and a fear of failure, causing many to quit or never to publish at all.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The world’s most successful authors and artists do not starve. In fact, they thrive by using the power of positive mindset and capitalizing on their creative strengths.

Cassandra is a holistic psychologist, award-winning artist, and bestselling author. Her book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, earn extra income on the side, or improve their mindset.

Cassandra offers free resources on her website, and you can find out more about her books there.

Ultimately, there’s no get-rich-quick scheme when it comes to writing, but if you are passionate about it and willing to work hard, you can earn a living—on your terms—without waiting to be chosen by agents and publishers.

If you want a career as a writer, model the prosperous authors, and check out Cassandra’s book for mindset tips and advice.