Take a moment to imagine the life of a full-time author—someone who sells enough books to not have a day job. What do you see? The author, dressing in a dark t-shirt and black sports coat, writes one, perhaps two novels a year if he’s prolific. He lives a casual life in his house by the ocean. He travels the world, spending vast amounts of time in the more romantic European countries and writes the trips off as “research,” on his taxes. He experiences all of the sophisticated sounds, sights and flavors he so adeptly describes in his novels. Six months of the year, he sits in a very clean office surrounded by artifacts collected from around the world, sipping wine and writing happily on a fancy laptop. The other six months of the year, he’s living the life and enjoying his wealth.
I will admit that bits and pieces of this depiction might be true for a tiny minority of top tier authors, but it’s how many people envision the life of most full-time authors. This is especially true of unpublished authors. Granted, the first impression of most people when I say, “I’m a writer,” is “You make money doing that?” But as soon as people understand that I’m published in hardcover—oooh—and make a living from my books, they picture a fairly tale author’s life that seems to be preprogrammed in society’s collective subconscious, especially the novice writer. I know because I used to be one.