Welcome to the newest writers roundtable. This week, we're going to talk about what it means to go pro as a writer. So I looked up three of most "pro" pros I could think of, Bill Craig, Derrick Ferguson, and Aaron Smith.
What does it mean to you to "go pro" as a writer? What are the criteria to consider oneself a professional writer?
Aaron Smith: I started to consider myself a pro when I began to have opportunities to make money with my work, even before the money started to arrive. There was a certain moment when my attitude shifted and writing went from being a hobby to being something I took much more seriously. I think the difference is mainly one of attitude.
Derrick Ferguson: I considered myself to be a real professional when I had people seeking me out and offering me money to write for them. I felt like I had turned a corner and had reached a level where people knew my name, had read my work and trusted me enough that they were willing to say; "hey, here's a chunk of change... come write something for me."
Bill Craig: To me it was when I started making money from the things I was writing. That meant I was reaching people and telling the stories that they wanted to read. The fact that people look for my newest book and are willing to pay for them mean I have arrived as a professional writer. As far as number.
How does a writer make the step from amateur to pro?
Bill Craig: You make the step from amateur to professional when you acquire a fan base that searches your work out.
Aaron Smith: When writing becomes an important part of one's life and that writer works hard at it and treats it like a real job, whether he's able to do it full time or it's just a supplement to his day job income, when one acts professionally, takes the job (and all it's other factors, like promotion and editing and submitting) seriously, and, yes, chases opportunities to profit from it, he's made the jump from amateur to pro.