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How to Make a Living As a Writer

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  470 ratings  ·  64 reviews
It's the best time on Earth to be a writer

More writers are making money today than at any other time in history. For centuries few have been able to support themselves from the quill or the keyboard alone.

Not anymore. With the rise of ebooks and indie publishing there are now more opportunities than ever for writers to generate substantial income from their work. And there
Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published October 29th 2014 by Compendium Press
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  470 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Polly Watson
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Honestly, if you're a writer and you want to grow as a writer, you can't go wrong reading anything written by James Scott Bell. HOW TO MAKE A LIVING AS A WRITER gives the basics of being a writer and making a living at it. If you can read through this book and still want to be a writer--to write, then you're on the right track. If, however, you read Bell's book and get discouraged, then being a writer is NOT for you. Bell lays it on the line and shares the hard truth: writing is NOT easy--it is ...more
Tonya Burrows
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lots of good info here. I have a feeling I'll be re-reading my highlights often.
Gry Pil
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lots of good, credible advice in here, but before I go on I must point something out that I found increasingly jarring as I read.

James Scott Bell repeatedly implores you to expand your reading, to challenge yourself, in order to become a better writer. He claims to do this himself, but there is avidence to the contrary.
I noticed that almost all of the writers he referred to throughout the book were men. The few women were Joanna Penn, K.M Weiland, Harper Lee, Suzanne Collins and a very few other
Kristen Kieffer
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you're a writer, buy this book. Simple as that. Inside its pages, Bell shares a wealth of information about making a living as a writer, exploring it from all angles and encouraging you to ditch society's idea of a successful writer and start making your career goals a reality today. I can't recommend this enough.
Carrie Daws
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
He starts with,"I have this quaint notion that it's okay for writers to make money from their writing," and ends with, "Nourish a life outside your writing." Mr. Bell has packed a lot into this book, and it is well worth the writer's time to read it. Sure, as others have pointed out, much of the information here is easily found elsewhere, but here it is all in one neat volume--very convenient. I found several tidbits that tweaked what I was already doing, and big chunks that confirmed I was on t ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yet another book about how to be a writer and make money at it. In many ways it says the same as others (write every day, keep learning and growing, stay fit and healthy, don’t give up because of critical reviews) but he did offer some new-to-me ideas (e.g. if you write in the morning, also write a little bit right before going to sleep, so your unconscious is focused on the story while you’re drifting in and out of sleep).

Like most of these how-to books, there’s a lot of filler in between the
Dominic Bellavance
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essai, lu-en-2016
Un guide qui en couvre large, mais n'approfondit à peu près rien. L'auteur donne quelques "recettes" qui sont seraient garantes du succès. Un gros bof, je n'ai à peu près rien tiré de cette lecture, à part peut-être quelques trucs pour rédiger son "pitch de vente" sur des sites comme Amazon et Kobo. C'est de toute évidence une publication destinée aux véritables débutants, mais je n'oserais même pas recommander cette lecture à ceux qui commencent, justement à cause de la présence des recettes qu ...more
C.J. Darlington
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-how-to
There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book. Every single one of James Scott Bell's writing how-to books are must-reads for writers. This one is ideal for those who want to push themselves closer to full-time status. In today's writing climate it isn't a pie in the sky notion to make a living with your writing, and Bell explains the tools you'll need to get there. James Scott Bell is always encouraging, entertaining, and trustworthy. This one is worth reading more than once. In fact, this i ...more
Adam Collings
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to start a career (or side-career) in writing. It provides a broad overview of activities and options. It fits in nicely with other books on the subject that I have read.
M.L. Bullock
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed!

Great! I picked up some pointers from this book. Well worth the read. If you're thinking of becoming a writer, you need this book.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really good book. James Scott Bell writes clearly and sensibly, giving advice you can use the moment you set the book down. It is definitely a resource I will keep close at hand.
Christopher Garner
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-writing
Although the first 18 chapters of How to Make a Living as a Writer were helpful, I was disappointed with most of what followed. The further along I got in the book, the more rushed it felt. The chapters became shorter and shorter, and the content became more and more superficial.

Besides that, I also found that one of the chapters contained at least partially reused material from Plot & Structure (another book by Bell), which was obviously very dissatisfying. As I got to the end, all of thes
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this useful guide, James Scott Bell covers the professional side of writing, from business essentials and strategies for reaching your goals, to different publishing models, to tips on writing in different genres. If you've been around writing circles for a while, you will have heard a lot of these tips before. However, it's always good to have a refresher. As it's a fairly short book, there wasn't a lot of detail on some topics, but it did give me some new ideas. It helped reinforce for me t ...more
Dan Earl
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Book Every Writer Should Read

James Scott Bell hits another home run with this overview of the publishing industry and how to make a living in it. Readers will be well rewarded with insights on everything from plot to marketing. I got more than the cover price for this book. Happy reading!
Glen Robins
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
James Scott Bell nails it in this book. He covers every aspect of writing and publishing and being an entrepreneur. He gives great advice, shares wisdom, and gives encouragement to writers at every stage of their careers. I'll be reading more of his stuff because I like his engaging style, his subtle wit, and his positive outlook on life.
Juneta Key
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-craft
Wise Advice

Wise, engaging and lots of information you can use. A favorite writer on the craft and publishing. Love the info on short stories. Novellas and such and time management.
Jack Frosch
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much practical advice and great inights

I always worry that these kinds of books will be 70% common sense, 25% fluff, and 5% valuable insights. Not this book! From the first page to the last, the author truly delivers on his subject: How to make a living as a writer.
Melinda Brinkman
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great resource to pick and choose as you need information for the different areas of writing. My 15-year old is planning her first NaNoWrMo next month and I will have her read the NaNoWrMo section. I really enjoyed this book.
Christian Fahey
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Fantastic book. Direct, practical, to the point. Little wasted space. Bell has a genius for nailing the opening sentence in any chapter or chapter subheading. Trained as a lawyer, his legal advice on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is worth plenty. Excellent read!
Deidrea DeWitt
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One Stop Writer’s Book

This book covers many different topics that all writers need to think about. Great advice and tips. I recommend it!
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise, and almost zero fluff. Nearly 100% useful and actionable content. A great book for writers who don't know where to start in regards to a career.
Jefry  Torres
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An awesome book.

I highly recommend this book to those who want to express themselves through the written word. This would be my guiding book for my future writing endeavors.
jared silva
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was always on my mind when I first, was on amazon i think a month ago and it always nagged me to get it, so I bough and it was great insight on the world of writers and knowing all thing you need to accomplish the goal to this for a living and i hold on to it, as my writer bible.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
Lots of good advice here. I hadn't read any writing books from Bell for about 5-6 years now, but I happened to pick this up on a good Kindle deal, and it was well worth the read. Great guide for new authors trying to navigate the new digital age of publishing.

Rating: 4 Stars (Very Good).
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you buy just one writing "how-to" guide this year, make sure it's "How to Make a Living as a Writer" by James Scott Bell.

Far from being something gimmicky with empty promises of how to make a lot of money or how to sell everything you write, James Scott Bell's "How To Make a Living as a Writer" is everything that a useful non-fiction book for writers should be: it's direct, to the point, and doesn't ramble on with meaningless anecdotes. There's also no filler or fluff just to "pad" the book
Tricia Schneider
I read this book in 3 days. If I didn't have a husband and 4 children who wanted food and clean clothes all the time, I would've finished it sooner. It's been a while since I've read a book on writing that has kept my attention as well as this one. I've read many books on the subject of writing and after a while it sometimes seems the same information is regurgitated in different ways by different authors.

However, I learned new things in this book. Tips I haven't tried before such as using a si
Alexander Fitzgerald
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book five stars, although to be honest I can't think of too many moving passages. It really is just a solid effort. Other than the lazy list format the author employs, it's a great nonfiction piece, written by someone who clearly knows and loves the subject. You get a number of new angles on writing for a living, along with tutorials of short stories, novels, novellas, nonfiction, consulting editors, studying the craft, time management, and myriad other topics.

If anything is frus
Ellen Bard
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Writing for a living takes risk, guts, and relentlessness.” James Scott Bell

This is a great book full of sensible and motivating advice about writing. James Scott Bell’s distinctive voice provides a pragmatic guide to being an entrepreneur-writer, and the book built on many realistic business principles whilst having at its core the reminder that if you want to be an author, you actually need to write.

The book covers some more unusual writing advice, touching on the emotional side of writing, s
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to Make a Living as a Writer does a good job of making this goal seem attainable. James Scott Bell has written some of the best writing books that I have read and I've read over 30 of them. His approach is very clear and easy to understand and he lays it out in ways that you really feel like you can do it as well.

I'm working on implementing the things that I have learned from this already and I know that I will be reading this again in the future to help fine tune things down the road and g
Michael Ronn
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great read

What I like about James Scott Bell is that a lot of his stuff is well-written and well thought out, particularly in the way that he lays it all out on the page. Some of this material is familiar if you've already read a few of his other nonfiction writing books. However, there are some gems to be found here, particularly in the sections about what it takes to be a writer. His main message that it takes a system and dedication to the craft in order to succeed as a writer, and I wholehea
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Jim is a former trial lawyer who now writes and speaks full time. He is the bestselling author of Try Dying, No Legal Grounds, Presumed Guilty, Glimpses of Paradise, Breach of Promise and several other thrillers. He is a winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Inspirational Fiction, and was a fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine. He has written two books in the Writers' Digest serie ...more
“Don't give up. I don't think any other advice works. Writing is one of those things where you just have to do it. There will be far more people to discourage you than to encourage you. The time never comes to you, the inspiration doesn't come to you. You just sit down and do it." – James Lee Burke” 2 likes
“When the last dime is gone, I'll sit on the curb with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook, and start the whole thing all over again." – Preston Sturges” 2 likes
More quotes…