Many copywriters work on the side as fiction writers (or make their money copywriting, and work as another kind of writer or editor). But it’s important to ask what fiction writing and copywriting have in common on a regular basis – in part to keep up with the industry, and in part to self-assess if you’re doing both.
Does Fiction Writing And Copywriting Have Anything In Common?
Yes. Words, sentence structure, passion and grammar. You’d be amazed how many people ask me why I still copywriter, even though I write novels, and the simple answer I give each and every time is that some of my work has a ‘predictable’ value. In this case, my hours I spend as a copywriter. Fiction writers DO get paid – depending on the success of their books, and where they’re submitting – but it’s not guaranteed. You can’t spend 300 hours writing a novel and get the same guaranteed investment back from that time, if you spent it copywriting. And in some cases, that 300 hours might get less money back – but in the beginning of almost every writer’s career that 300 hours (over three months for example), will almost always net them more income straight away than any other kind of writing out there. And you can always taper it back once your books start selling, but you do need money to invest if you’re self-publishing – and in many cases, copywriting is the way to get that money.
Self-Assessment – Growth Doesn’t Have To Hurt
In the UK, there’s an annoying catchphrase of ‘Tax doesn’t have to be taxing’ – and yet, many businesses struggle with it. And in some ways, it’s the same with writers. It’s difficult to look at where you’re going when you’re busy – but if you don’t, you might find that you’re continuing or stagnating on a path that isn’t where you want to go.
So it’s important, once in a while, to take some time out and review your plans. Even if it’s ensuring that your to-do list hasn’t gotten out of control again and that you’re not dumping everything into your inbox because you’re in a busy period.
If you’re using writing of any kind to fund fiction writing, you’ve also got to consider how you’re doing towards moving away from that. The idea used to be that you wrote novels till you ‘made it’ then you could quit – and with the advent of Amazon/Self-Publishing/eBooks, it seems like everyone thinks they can just skip the ‘work elsewhere till you ‘make it’ but the truth of the matter is that you can’t. You’ve got to be sure that you know what you’re doing and that you’re looking at the right stuff at the right time. And if you’re a fiction writer primarily, there’s a lot you can do – including copywriting.
What If I Can’t Write The Stuff They Want?
Of all of the questions that I’m surprised to hear, that’s the biggest one. If you can’t write what they’re looking for, you might not be looking at the right writing jobs. If you’re interested in making money, from your writing at least – consider guest blogging. Consider writing content that you can focus your own experiences on. Consider how easy or difficult it might be to read up, or research what they’re talking about. Ask your friends – they might work for a copywriting company that’s hiring or might be able to point you in the direction of places that you can work for. And if all else fails, look for sites in the niches you have knowledge in and see if they pay for articles, and start there.
You can work as a writer and support a fiction writing career – copywriting is one valid choice and there is always work available for writers with a strong work ethic.