DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa author was able to leave his government job five years ago and become a full-time writer.
“I love what I do. It doesn`t seem like a job,” said Nicholas Sansbury Smith. “I love writing. I love telling stories. I think it`s a blessing to be able to do that for a career and make money doing it,” he added.
The Des Moines author spends about ten hours a day writing four to five books a year. “I pretty much write post-apocalyptic science fiction,” he said.
He gets inspiration from his previous profession as a disaster mitigation specialist with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He said, “It not only inspired me but scared me, and I was able to use that experience on different disasters or threats that we face to implement those in stories and then I used a sci-fi twist.'
He started writing as a hobby until his second book Orbs went viral. “It sold about 30,000 copies, pretty much in a couple months. And that`s what led me to an agent, some audio deals, Simon Schuster came in, and they wanted to buy the rights to a series. That ended up being a three-book deal and launched me into the traditional publishing world,” he said.
His key is treating it like a business. “Now is the best time in history to be a writer because you can self-publish a book, and if you know, even generally what you`re doing, in terms of marketing, you can have success,” he said.
It is free to self-publish through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, although Sansbury Smith said he spends money on cover art and formatting to get his books ready. The author sets the price of the book and earns up to 70 percent of royalties.