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Quitting Your Day Job – 2016

11 April 2016

I’ve had several requests for another post that invites indie authors who have made enough money from their writing to quit their day jobs to tell their stories.

Just explain your adios day job story in a comment to this post. Share a lot of details or a few. If you told your story before and have an update, please post that as well.

A lot of our visitors are working very hard to be able to quit their day jobs and can benefit from the examples of indie authors who have succeeded.

Here’s a link to all the TPV posts about quitting your day job. The earliest post has 561 comments, a record for this blog.


Quit Day Job

63 Comments to “Quitting Your Day Job – 2016”

  1. ‘A lot of our visitors are working very hard to be able to quit their day jobs and can benefit from the examples of indie authors who have succeeded.’

    I love a good success story, but would also like to hear from those who have not succeeded…to keep things balanced. Can’t wait to hear your story. Hopefully I will be able to share mine in the 2017 version 😉

    • Just want to echo this with a further thought: I’d love to hear more stories about people simply publishing. There are more ways to measure success than by sales, after all.

    • Expanding on Stef’s comment, I’d like also to hear from people who quit their day job and then regretted it or the timing of it.

      Were there risks you didn’t foresee or adequately take into account?

      Said another way, what would you do if you had it to do over?

      😮 )

      • *raises hand* That would be me. Currently looking for a job.

        I simply bounced around genres too much instead of sticking to one thing. I’m the poster child for not chasing trends.

    • I’m still at a half-time day job, after starting indie in November 2012. Novel #10 released this past weekend. I break even at this point, but things are improving with each book.

      Why so slow and why not go full time? I write in a crowded genre (sci-fi and alt-hist), I publish slowly, and my writing is good but not jaw-droppingly stellar (pun intended). I can’t really market because I’m mostly e-book only and because some people at my other job would go ballistic if they knew I write science fiction, especially with a military twist. Plus I really enjoy my day job (although if someone volunteers to grade papers for me, I won’t turn you down 🙂 )

    • I published my first e-book in 2010, a foodie romance called “Let’s Do Lunch” that had modest success in December 2011. By modest I mean 21k free and just shy of 500 sold, which was enough to put the book on the UK Romantic Suspense bestseller’s list for 10 weeks.

      The second book was a paranormal romance “Swallow the Moon” that had 12k freebie and just over 100 sold, also peaking in December 2011.

      After February 2012 my sales fell off a cliff. So I gave up on romance and published a series of zombie apocalypse novellas just for kicks. I am about to publish book #3 of my series “Horsewomen of the Zombie Apocalypse” May 1st. The first book of that series went peramfree in December 2015, which moved 400 copies.

      I’ve also published a dozen of my mothers short stories. I’m moving them off of other vendors and putting them in KU.

      I was caretaker for both my parents starting in 2009, Mom passed in January 2012, Dad passed in December of 2015. I wasn’t able to work while I cared for them.

      I feel like I gave DIY publishing my best shot. It was fun during a very sad and stressful time in my life.

  2. Amusingly, I just resigned today. 🙂

    • Congratulations!
      You can do this!

      • Thank you!

        In the interests of responding to the folks above who’d like more diverse stories… I resigned to take a part-time job because I like to get out the house and interact with human beings in some context other than writing.

        I don’t make fantastic money writing (by my “I used to work in technical fields during the dot com bubble” standards), but I could probably stay home full-time doing it anyway. I just decided that I kind of like what I do at Day Hobby. I just don’t have the time to do it 40 hours a week.

        I think 20 hours a week will be a perfect fit for now. We’ll see. 🙂

    • Congratulations, Maggie.

    • Congrats! How long did it take for you to get to this spot?

      • That is a complicated question. I started self-publishing in 2009… but I was sitting on an enormous backlog of trunked manuscripts, most of which were just in need of a little polishing to be publishable. (There were a couple I gave up on, but the majority of them were salvageable.)

        So the answer is seven years, but only because I had a head-start.

  3. I left seven years of practicing copyright law to become a law librarian, which gave me a lot more time to write. I published my first novel the the third year I was a librarian. I continued to work in libraries and to write novels for another 12 years, gradually rising in the library ranks until I was heading up the library for an international firm with 14 offices. I was spending more than 50% of my time on the road, which was cutting into writing time, family time, and sanity time.

    When I told my husband I was going to look for a new job, he suggested my writing full time. We tightened our belts, I made the transition, and we’ve never looked back.

    27 novels later, I earn a *lot* less than I did as a lawyer and somewhat less than I did as a librarian, but I’m a million times more content. And I didn’t need a venti Starbucks latte every day, anyway. ::wry grin::

  4. I practiced law for forty years. Beginning in 1972 in Illinois and continuing until 2014. (This also includes two years back in the Nineties when I took a two year leave of absence for health reasons). My doctor had told me my law practice days were over in 2013 and I was looking for supplemental income when I decided in December of 2013 to write my first legal thriller. Six weeks later, that book was published as The Defendants and it sold something like eighteen copies it’s first month, January 2014. A month later I had earned several hundred dollars in February Sales. In March I sold about twelve hundred dollars worth of books.

    Self-employed lawyers like me don’t just suddenly turn off the lights and walk off. Cases can hang on for years and so it was a matter of finishing up before I was entirely free. That day came 95% about a year after I first published.

    During that first year, I had the best thing happen to my career ever. Bookbub found me. They gave me promos maybe three times that first year and then maybe ten times in 2015. I had been going for eyes rather than revenue–meaning I wanted freebie promos rather than paid promos–and soon I had a pretty good-sized following of people who had received free books. Also, while I was going for eyes I was also pounding out book after book, having read somewhere that feebie promos are useless without a backlist to sell. In 2014 I had a great first year, somewhere around a hundred thousand in earnings. My second year I had over a quarter million in earnings. By the end of 2015 thanks to BB I had given away 500K books and had had maybe 14 or 15 BB’s.

    This was how it began for me back when my doctor said I had to quit, all I had was Social Security, and I was looking for a way to bring in an extra $500 per month so my wife and I could get by on Social Security. In this, the beginning of my third year, I’m on the path to double last year’s income.

    One thing I would pass along. You can set up the best mailing list, do the best social media, have enough in the bank to last that first six or twelve months, but if you’re not writing books that people want to read, you’re not ready to leave the day job yet. I wrote novels and short stories to no one’s notice for forty years before I sold my first book. Just my .02.

    • Congratulations, John.

    • Very inspiring. I’ve heard of the boost Bookbub gives you. I’m saving up for one when my 3rd book comes out this fall.

    • and cool books to read are your books John. Strong runners. Knowing some of your story personally, is just a cherry on top. I’m glad you kept going. And I know what you mean about ‘doctor’s’ advise/orders. You were wise to proceed as you did. I remember in another post, you mentioned your age…Long life to you man,

  5. I left my job in the software industry because I was burned out and needed to get away for a year or so. Luckily I managed to get made redundant first before I quite so I had enough of a settlement to keep me going for a while. This was at the start of 2011 and self-publishing hadn’t reached my attention yet (Kindles had only just come on sale here in the UK a few weeks earlier). I already had an agent and interest from some trad-publishing imprints, but I’d calculated that even if I landed a good deal, by the time I was earning from a trad-publishing house, I would have run out of money and have to go back to a ‘proper job’. So I treated this as a sabbatical rather than a career change.

    Not earning any money just didn’t sit right, though, so I started a publishing business and did some freelance book design work on the side. All that software experience meant that when authors had complex non-fiction books that couldn’t be built without coding, I could sort them out. Soon my own writing was taking the back seat to publishing other authors.

    I had some bestsellers and earned some money, but it wasn’t providing enough for my family, so I wound things down during 2014. I had been writing some novels of my own in my spare time, and I decided to release the first two before I got into job hunting in earnest.

    In the end I ran out of time and energy, and started interviewing for software jobs early. The book manuscipts were ready, but the marketing and professional cover design wasn’t. I just went ahead and published the two books on Amazon KDP so I wouldn’t be tempted to tinker with them. I didn’t do any marketing or promotion. I didn’t even tell any of my Facebook friends that I’d launched the books.

    They sold 30,000 copies in eight weeks.

    Since then I’ve delivered several more bestsellers and am excited about two more series to come out this year. I used to have senior roles in my software career, but I earned more last year from writing science fiction novels than I ever have before.

    So it can be done. And from my personal experience, I have two suggestions for anyone thinking of making the jump.
    First of all, those books that sold so well without the promotion. I’m not recommending that you don’t promote(!), but I do think it’s interesting why they sold well without. To set the context, I didn’t have enough of an existing fanbase to sell more than a dozen books. The cover art was a rudimentary stopgap, and not of a high standard. Also, I sold 3,000 copies before I’d even gotten my first review on Amazon or Goodreads, so it wasn’t just word of mouth. I’m sure what sold the books were that the title and cover art (basic though it was) appealed very successfully to my target audience, and that the blurb and opening chapters engaged anyone who looked further.

    My other piece of advice should be obvious, but I feel is worth stating. The competition on Amazon in most genres is absolutely ferocious. We operate in a market where there is little in the way of barriers to entry and substitute goods are abundant and easy for your potential customers to find and buy. Consequently, no matter how well your books are packaged and promoted, you will only be successful in the long term if you can consistently write books that your audience regards as high quality. I think readers are rapidly growing more discerning, at least in my genre of science fiction, and so you need to make sure you are one of the authors your readers choose to stick with. It’s easy to get sucked into considerations of mailing lists and launch promotions and such like. These things are all very important, but don’t mean a damn if you lose focus on writing books your audience wants to read.

    I still sometimes feel a fraud when I say I’m a professional writer, because I’ve only been doing this a couple of years, but I’m being paid good money to write stories. How wonderful is that? I wish every author reading this the best of luck in their own endeavours. Even though I said it’s a competitive market, there’s still room for more people to join in the fun 🙂

  6. I left my day job (lawyer) 20 years ago and have made my living as a writer ever since. Went full indie in 2012, but I had a backlist that I got rights to, which helped enormously. PG helped enormously, too.

    A businesslike approach is key to long term success, with quality and productivity as the main tasks. I agree wholeheartedly with John Ellsworth and Tim C. Taylor, above. You have to write books people love. All the fancy marketing in the world only gets you an introduction. What you write gets you repeat business … or not.

    “Your first chapter sells your book. Your last chapter sells your next book.” – Mickey Spillane. So be a life-long learner of the craft. And write to a quota.

  7. Disability stole my first love – research physics – from me 27 years ago.

    I had always intended to write when I retired; I just got an earlier start.

    It takes time for someone like me to learn to write, and to produce a novel.

    Last October I published my mainstream debut novel, doing everything myself (after reading TPV and other SP blogs for 4 years – thanks, guys!).

    It is going slowly – marketing’s complicated, and I’m very slow – so ‘writing lots of books’ is never going to be an option.

    But writing with very high standards is – I’m working on Book 2 while trying to promote Book 1 without being annoying. I’m the other end of most indie bell curves.

    Ultimate goal: compete with The Goldfinch. But be read to the end.

    • Good luck with your writing, Alicia.

    • I’m glad you continued in a right angle turn Alicia… You have a wealth of knowledge most of us dont have… So valuable.

      • But you have the life experience; I’d trade.

        We don’t get to choose a lot of what happens, except in how we react. Ask me in 20 years, but I still find the whole self-publishing gig fun. Maybe some day it will pay for vacations.

        Meanwhile, it’s given me an excuse to learn a lot of things – and to be part of a community that is far more giving than the traditional authors I knew before. You can literally learn everything you need to know from someone’s blog posts.

  8. I had published three science fiction novels when I was laid off about this time last year. They had done well, but not pay the bills well. I searched for work and kept writing.

    By December, I had two more books published and was making enough for my wife to green light my writing full time.

    My seventh book is almost done and I think I’ve made the jump. Thank God for her disability income and a lot of support and good luck, I’m going to make it.

    I’m just glad I wrote well enough to make it. I credit my fans.

  9. I quit the day job almost exactly two years ago. I’d planned on staying longer, however, my soul had had enough, and I just couldn’t stay.

    That first year, from April – December, I made money, but not enough. Fortunately, I had three full years of income saved, so I could supplement with that.

    Last year, 2015, the first full year, I wasn’t solvent. Had to rely on my savings some months. In rough figures, I made about 3/4ths of what I needed to live on. So I was close. But without that savings, I wouldn’t have made it.

    This year, 2016, I figure I’ll just about break even. Maybe come out a tiny bit ahead.

    However, my income is not all from my writing. I don’t even write full time.

    I’m a full time entrepreneur.

    I write. I publish myself and other people. I do production services, such as ebook formatting, covers, print interiors, etc. for clients. I’ve just started holding workshops, teaching other people to do print interiors formatting. (The next one starts May 10th.) I’m currently creating a workshop for doing covers, scheduled to start in June. (www.krpworkshops.com)

    So I don’t have a single, large revenue stream that brings in enough money for me to live on.

    I do, however, have several smaller trickles and streams that once added all together, make an income.

    I don’t regret leaving the day job when I did. I kind of wish I could have held out for one more year as I’d planned, socking away a ton more money, building up my businesses.


    I’m fortunate enough to have a 401K. If I run through all the savings, I’ll dig into that next. I’ll *never* go back to a full time day job if I can at all help it.

    As for the writing – what they said up above about writing what people want to read is important. Probably smarter than just telling the weird, personal tales that I want to tell. I don’t have great sales. But I do have some sales, and some fans, and I continue to grow my audience and perfect my craft. If things go well (and marketing things I have planned work) in a few years I should be able to live on just the writing alone. (Fingers crossed)

  10. I’ve been writing and publishing for over six years. At first I was with a publisher and put out a few books with them. I’ve been self publishing–at least part time since 2011, and have collaborated with people on a few projects, but mostly I self publish. I have to admit, I got lucky. I put out book 1 in my DiCarlo Brides series right after Christmas in 2012 and had almost zero sales right out of the gate. Still, I had two others that were through critiques and just needed final edits, and a fourth in the series that was in critiques. I put out books 2 and 3 in march of 2013 and they started selling copies–more copies than book 1, which I had dropped to 99 cents. In Late April I put book 1 up for free (because it wasn’t making me more than $20/month anyway) and it totally took off, like rocketed through the free charts, and the next two books sold like crazy right on its heels. I put out book 4 less than 2 weeks after book 1 went free, and I made some serious cash in the next few months with a long, long tail of sales over the next six months. That would never happen now, but back then, it was totally possible.

    Even with BookBub promos that gave me fantastic sales numbers, I’ve never had such great sales on Amazon since, even though I had more books in the series by then, but sales on other retailers made up the difference. Still, sales tapered off much faster, and getting a book on Bookbub is far more difficult now than it used to be. No one else is 1/4 as effective.

    Fast forward to today. I’ve done several other successful promos and still can pay the bills (for now) but nothing has been as great as those first couple of free book sales. Even with new books out, I’m getting nervous about keeping the bills paid through the summer if a totally different series doesn’t take off soon.

    My productivity has suffered since our cross-country move a few months after A Perfect Fit went crazy with downloads, (thus the declining income) but I’m kicking it back into gear because I love writing for a living and not for a hobby and I have lots of stories that are begging to be written.

  11. I quit my day job Feb. 2015 to write full-time so it’s been a bit more than a year. My husband also quit his Dec. 2015 and became my full-time cook, housekeeper, and dog walker. I was a police detective and worked over 50 hours a week while writing every spare minute. Honestly I don’t think I could do it again. My husband was an IT specialist for a school district.

    I look at things differently now. I love writing but it’s how we pay our bills so I keep a very close eye on sales. I study the book market more also.

    I had a writer tell me about a year ago that she made approx. $20 a month working for a small press publisher. I asked her why she would put so much time and effort into it for such little financial reward. She said not everyone was as lucky as I am.

    I beg to differ. I spend ten plus hours a day (excluding Sundays) on my computer writing, researching, and studying the market. It’s a job to me and I’ve been lucky in my life to love all three of the jobs I’ve had. They all have one thing in common and that’s working my behind off. If I could offer any advice it would be to have a nest egg before you quit the day job. The last year my husband and I worked, we saved every penny. I will admit that my life is quite sweet.

  12. My first novel came out to no acclaim in early 2014 and the next three went similarly nowhere until Spring 2015. Around then, I complained to Russell Blake about how none of my stuff sold, and he suggested I look at a different genre.

    I wrote a military sci fi novel that went positively bonkers. I remember the first day I broke 100 sales in a single day and wasn’t sure how all this was possible. The mythical “I made more money while sleeping than I would during the work day” event soon followed.

    My job as an intelligence community contract analyst wound down just as sales picked up. The book income was about equal to the day job at that point, so my wife and I agreed to give full time writing a shot. The second book in the mil sci fi series came out just as I loaded up the U-Haul and drove to Fabulous Las Vegas. There were several stops on that drive where I fired up the KDP page on my phone, saw my daily income in the 4 digits, then passed on the news to the Mrs. in disbelief.
    I’ve got 10 novels out (5 of which sell), an audiobook contract with Podium Publishing, an agent and my income is much higher than it ever was at the old day job. Who knew? I realize that I am a glitter covered unicorn compared to the vast majority of authors, and am thankful for the great tips I found on The Passive Voice, Nick Stephenson’s program and the occasional dose of reality from Russell Blake.

    The iron is hot, so I put books out within 60-90 days of the last one and am building my mailing list by a couple more people every day. As soon as Michael Bay options my books, I’ll be unstoppable.

  13. I’ve been writing for well over twenty years, mainly in the tabletop roleplaying game field, but only managed to make a living at it for maybe five of those years; the rest of the time it was my nights and weekends job.

    At the end of 2013, I published my first novel after raising a few thousand bucks via Kickstarter to help finance it. Unfortunately, I wasted most of that money on useless interior art and a “proofreader” who did such a horrible job I ended having to hire two other ones to fix all the mistakes that got through (word of advice on proofreaders: you get what you pay for, and sometimes you get less than that, so don’t try to cut corners there). I put out two more novels, a short story collection and a novelette during 2014, and closed up the year with about $8,000 in gross sales. Not “quit your job” money.

    2015 started out terribly: I wrote two novels in a different sub-genre which sold about 10% as much as my first series, and sales for the first half of the year plummeted. By August, I’d made less than $2,000 (monthly sales in the summer were down to $100-200) and I felt like a failure. As I finished the fourth book of my first series, I decided to invest the money I’d made into getting new covers (the original covers had been amateurish DIY jobs). The new covers, a successful promotional campaign and the fourth novel led to a complete turnaround; the last quarter of 2015 I was selling $2,000 a month.

    At the end of the year, I released a novel in yet another SF&F sub-genre, spending about $200 in promotion and advertising and hoping for the best. In January, that novel sold 3,000 copies at the intro $0.99 price, another 3,000 at the regular price, and 2.6 million pages read on KU. That same month, my first novel got accepted by Book Bub for a $0.99 promo and sold another 4,000 copies (evenly divided between discount and full price). My entire catalog’s sales skyrocketed as a result. I made it to the KU All Stars in January and February; March sales dipped without a new release, but they were still better than any previous month (or any previous six-month stretch) in 2014 and 2015, so I’m not complaining. 🙂

    I’m releasing the second book of the new series by the beginning of next month. If sales remain high, I won’t be shutting down my other small business, but it will be a hobby at that point; my primary source of income will be writing.

  14. This time last year, I was still in the “I wish I may, I wish I might” stage of my career. If you’d told me then that I would be quitting by the end of 2015, I would have laughed at you.

    I quit my day job on December 11th last year. It was an astonishing year. Now I get to work harder, for longer hours, than I ever have in my life and I *love* it.

    Biggest challenge this year is learning to live on just two incomes, instead of enjoying a third income I was generating with book sales. Tough ol’ life…



  15. God, I love you guys.

    Seriously, your stories of struggle and leaping are fabulous, whether ‘there’ yet, or not yet there, but will be. Hang on.

    What heroics and sticktoitiveness.

    You ever want to ride to help watch over the new colts, you’re in like Flynn. You got what it takes.

    Dang, that was a real cliffhanger after cliffhanger reading all your stories.

    Keep on. Keep on forever. Some of you, I’ve read your work, and there’s not a one of you who is not interesting and holds the attention.

    I gotta go find a face rag. My eyes are , well, they seem a little filled with stars.

  16. I quit my job in sales in Summer ’15 and moved from Ireland to Colombia where I currently live.

    I haven’t met commercial success (yet) with my debut novel Pathfinders released in February ’16 – I’m well aware that the journey is a long one and I’m strapped in for a fight over the coming years to continually improve and create compelling stories that resonate with my target audience. With the savings I accumulated, I’ve managed to eke out a comfortable living whilst dedicating long hours and months to writing three additional books (due for release in the coming 12 months) since I voluntarily left my job.

    I’ve been blogging for two years, ramping things up this year and my promotional efforts attracted the attention of a US company where I secured a freelance blogging opportunity. This has helped me stay afloat financially, working part-time while also sharpening my writing skills further. I’m writing more than ever both in my day job and in my free time. This is a huge departure from the corporate 9-5, citizen cog role I assumed for 45 hours p.w. for over a decade where I was peddling crap to those who didn’t really need it.

    I earn a fraction of what I used to earn at the moment. However, now I feel freer, fortunate enough to pick and choose my projects while I build my portfolio of clients, all the while working from home. Admittedly I’ve still got one foot in the working world, although it’s related to my passion of writing. Now, I’m able to actually use my creative juices utilising a part of my brain which had been turned off for a decade. Most importantly, the voice inside hasn’t been suffocated and I give flight to it with a sharper, clearer poise. A case of my day job positively impacting my dream job.


  17. Loretta Elligsworth

    This time last year I was working on my goal of publishing all my finished manuscripts which lived in several towers of in and out trays and re-purposed corrugated letter sized cardboard trays. I used to lug the corrugated boxes of loose pages around when I re-read the stories. Now they’re all on my Kindle.

    Of course they seem not to be lurking on anyone else’s Kindle, unfortunately. I consider the problems to be bad category choices and no marketing. The only way to find them on a search is to search on my name

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised recently to receive page reads from KU.

    Marketing, marketing, marketing–I need to remind myself that that is the current goal, but thank goodness I can get back to writing.

    Loretta Ellingsworth

  18. I’ve self-published 3 science fiction and fantasy novels, 2 mainstream novels, 1 noir murder mystery novel, 5 book-length short story collections, 3 memoirs, 1 collection of essays, and 50 or 60 individual short stories. I also trad-pub a few short stories a year in magazines and anthologies.

    Although I am a full-time freelance writer, sales from self-published works are slow. In fact, they used to be better a few years ago. I have to heavily supplement my income by writing nonfiction articles on a piecework basis. I work long hours and it’s a financial struggle, as I’m a single parent, but we get by. When I lived in Europe I had a day job teaching English but no one would hire me here in the States without a university degree so I dove into the writing as I couldn’t find other work. I long for the time when I earn enough to fully focus on my fiction.

  19. OK, I’ll tell my tale. I retired from my job as manager of a digital archive in 2012. I had previously been an asst prof (1 year), a grad student (8 yrs), and a software engineer. I started writing novels seriously, aiming at publication, around 2002, thanks to the regular hours of a job in a big university library, especially when nobody else really knows what you’re doing.

    In the fall of 2012, I landed an agent; a good one, by all accounts. Then I spent a year and half drumming my fingers on the desk (writing with the other hand) while we racked up 12 mostly very positive rejections. The classic tale: “We just bought something similar.” “We only take female protagonists.” They all said the same thing to me: this is a good book, but we can’t make enough money from it to fit our business model.

    I finally became aware of self-publishing as a reality, thanks to the wonderful Guppies in Sisters in Crime, and decide to go indie. I now have 5 books out and am starting to see a healthy rise in sales and income. Happily, I don’t have to live on my writing. I’m fully aware that mysteries featuring Francis Bacon have niche appeal. I don’t care. I love them and my mission statement says very clearly that my first goal is to write what I want and then to find the readers who want to read that.

    I love owning control of my author existence. Love it! I can write what I please and publish to my very high production standards when I please. I can forget about marketing for a month if I want to, or get inspired in that direction by all the generous role models out here in Indielandia. I do not spend a single minute wondering if a mighty gatekeeper will choose me this year.

    Like Tracy Cooper-Posey, I’m working as hard as I did at my last job and using all the skills I’ve acquired over the course of my life. This is the richest, most satisfying career I’ve ever had and I’m confident that within a few years it will also supply the half-time income that is my ultimate financial goal.

    • Good luck with your writing, Anna.

      • Anna,
        I visited your web site… then downloaded your free ebook (which I look forward to reading)… and enjoyed your blog, particularly the article about newly discovered evidence that Francis Bacon co-authored Hamlet with William Shakespeare.

        All this to say, best of luck with your writing and publishing adventure.

  20. Mssr. PG, I have to thank you – it was the 2014 version of this post that inspired me to make the leap. That, and an amazing wife.

    I was working as an IT trainer for a large money manager. It was a great job but I kept coming home miserable, just wanting to write. My wife said – you have to quit. Blew me right out of the water. Right about that time I saw the 2014 version of this post and thought, wow, maybe it is possible. We lived in LA at the time, had been saving up a downpayment for a house, and when my wife and your post happened, suddenly something I thought was way down the road was staring me in the face.

    Within six months I quit my job and we moved out of LA (and CA) to a much less expensive town. We have the former downpayment to pull from, but also my wife has an online business that pays for a lot of what we spend. So we’re lucky.

    Since the beginning of 2015 I’ve almost doubled my word count from the previous year, wrote three novels, published one in December (Red Is For Blood, 1930s LA PI), and sold a number of short stories into anthologies. The novel has only bought us a couple of lunches so far, but the short stories add up to three month’s rent, and I’m within 1-2 months of publishing the next novel in the series. Also, I’m looking to speed up my output now that a lot of craziness has settled. That move – both from a job, and out of state, added a lot of interestingness to our lives.

    Success? Well financially, I’m not like some who have already reported here but God, I’m so happy for them. They represent hope, and what we all want.

    But I’m also working on success in my writing, taking classes, learning, and trying not to get in my own way. There came a point last summer where I was trying to write as fast and as hard as I could and I finally stopped. I wasn’t having fun, I’d turned it into another “job.” So I tore back the word count goal, kept writing each day, but made sure I had fun, each day. Kind of protected the little flame. From there on out I wrote and published the novel, and I’m proud of it.

    The advice so far has been great, it’s nice if you have some money to fall back on or some coming in. It may happen fast for you, or it may take some time. But the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to have fun with the writing itself. Every day. Otherwise – you won’t.

    Good luck to anyone even thinking about making the leap, it’s an interesting adventure.

  21. On a related note, I’m co-editing a new international anthology about people who have either quit or been fired and we’re currently taking submissions: http://nowfiring.blogspot.com/

    “Now Firing!” is the sequel to “Employment of the Month,” a book about two friends and the 50+ jobs that they’ve had between them told through a series of exit-interview questionnaires: http://employmentofthemonth.blogspot.com/2016/02/now-firing-call-for-submissions-its.html (I wrote “they,” but I really meant “we.”)

    Please help us get the word out about this call for submissions by sharing these links (and send us your worst while you’re at it!)

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