Book2Book Wednesday 06 Jan 2016I left school with a burning urge to lead the life of a writer; travelling like Byron, fêted like Wilde before his fall, creating laughter like Wodehouse and crafting sentences like Nabokov. I had no professional contacts so I wrote my masterpieces speculatively and every path I went down ended with a rejection slip or total silence. The perceived wisdom then, as now, was that earning a living as a writer was about as likely as winning a lottery.
Then I discovered the secret of marketing. Instead of writing things and trying to persuade people to buy them, I would find out what writing services people needed and offer to provide them. So, at the same time as begging publishers and editors for commissions, I made myself available to anyone who might want to write an article or a book but did not feel able to do it for themselves.
I have just finished a three year stint on the management committee of the Society of Authors and therefore know how hard it is for many writers to make a living, but it was never easy. I have now spent just over 40 years as a freelance author and ghostwriter, during which time I have kept a meticulous record of every penny earned and can with hindsight see exactly how my personal experiment has panned out.