Self-Publishing—Is It a Career?

I will publish my second novel at the end of this month. I plan to publish a third by the end of October and more next year. Have I established a self-publishing career?

A few authors call their self-publishing endeavors a career by diversifying their creativity and making a livable income. Along with publishing books, they provide writing classes, consult, produce podcasts, and sell merchandise. But what about self-publishers who only publish books and do not make enough money to support themselves financially?

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might classify their work as a hobby. Maybe if an author publishes one book it is a hobby. And there is nothing wrong with one book. Yet writing and publishing consistently is too much work for someone to call it a hobby. And does money make a career?

I never considered my writing as a hobby, despite what the IRS or other people think. I always pursued writing with the desire to be published, which I have done. I also do not plan to stop writing and I hope to continue publishing.

Does it matter whether I call my writing a career? It matters because it helps with motivation. It helps me to continue the path of writing and publication, always searching for more creative paths. It helps build confidence.

I think a career is a lifelong ambition toward consistent accomplishments. Income should be a minor consideration. With this definition, more people have a career than a hobby.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a career as “a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.” I have made consecutive, progressive publishing achievements and will continue to do so.

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