The most profound thing about being paid to write is suddenly seeing your work appear in a public place. 

For years I wrote ad copy and support copy for clients such as HP, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Aggreko ... all of whom have national and international campaigns. And as I travelled, even in other countries, I would occasionally spot something I wrote — on the palm rest of a laptop or in a product brochure or on a billboard — and I'd have that sudden spark of recognition followed by an odd sense of vertigo. Seeing words I labored over to get just right, now on display in this strange place instead of on the screen of my laptop, was a little disorienting.  

It was also a kick. I'd recommend it to anyone.

It's even more profound now that I have a handful of books floating around with my name on 'em. It's not all that unusual to be brought up short when I'm at a friend's house or in a library and I notice a book I've read. It's exponentially more strange when my name is on the spine.

And as an "artesian publisher," I have a greater touch on my work than most authors. I've been blessed with handy skills, such as graphic and layout design, and that puts me in contact with the book a lot longer than most people, including other self publishers. I design marketing materials and promotional copy, I design ads, I write scripts for videos and promo spots. So when I see my work floating around out in the three-dimensional world it's a real head turner. It's like seeing a girl you had a crush on in high school, all grown up and out in the world.

That's fun. And cool. I could get used to more of that. And I have folks like you to thank for it, which makes it even better. A book with no reader is worthless. Anyone can create that. But I have a pretty special connection to the people who read my books, and I feel so grateful for all of you, mostly because I have so much touch with my work. Seeing it appreciated and loved, that's worth a lot.

That's what keeps me coming back, even if that comeback can be a bit slow at times. i still have the day job, after all. I see that as proof, though, that I'm doing something I love here. I get paid to write, and that's amazing. But even if I don't make a dime on my books, I'll write them. I always will. Because of you, but also because of me. Something about running up on my work, out there in the real world, just keeps me coming back again and again.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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