Professional authors

I was criticized for talking about my books on Amazon forums after I admitted I write as a hobby. I try not to be too argumentative on these forums, so I’ll keep my answer here. There are very few professional novelists, using the dictionary definition of professional as someone who is “engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.”

There is a level in between being professional and writing as a hobby. Some people make enough money at it so that their writing becomes a legitimate source of income. I’m not sure where to draw the line between a professional and a hobbyist who makes a bit of money, but I think it has to be in terms of percents, not amounts. I will be generous, and say that an author is a professional if his net income from writing is twenty percent of his earned income. I suspect that still leaves comparatively few professional novelists.

In another Amazon forum, a self-published author asked about the pricing of his book and stated that is wasn’t a 99 cent book because it represented hundreds of hours of writing and editing. The author is missing an important point. Readers don’t really care how long the author spent on a book, they are just interested in the results.

I will continue to write as a hobby, and continue to price my books as cheaply as I can, because it is a hobby. I hope people enjoy what I write, because I’m writing for enjoyment: mine and my readers.

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