How Could I Earn A Living?

If I Couldn’t Work in the Book Industry…
and if I were not already retired.

By Jeff Salter

Yeah, I really should make clear the disclaimer that my discussion of these possibilities might sound quite different if not for the pension I receive for retiring from a 30-year library career. Without my pension, I’d be up that well-known creek without a paddle.

That said, one of our Foxes asked how we could make a living if not working in the book industry?

What is the “Book Industry,” anyway?

Just to clarify my understanding of this week’s topic, the “book industry” – to me – basically represents the creation and sharing of monographs — their production, selling, promotion, buying, and shipping. Therefore, under the limitations of this topic, I could not be a literary agent, editor, publisher, or buyer (e.g., for a bookstore). To some extent, I suppose it might also exclude parts of the Library field, at least those parts which carry over from the olden days when I was in that profession.

Couldn’t Stop Writing

But those prohibitions should not restrict me from continuing to WRITE, or READ, or SHARE. And assuming I’m continuing to write, I’d certainly want to make my stories available to others in some fashion. This could be through a blog or website, possibly. Maybe even my own youtube channel — LOL. My point being: I’d want to find some way to share my stories with interested readers, even if there were no royalties arising from those exchanges.

So What Would I Do?

We’ve established what I’m not able / allowed to do – in this exercise – and that I’d do my best to continue writing… and sharing those works in some form. But what else would I do to occupy myself?

I think I’d enjoy being a living history host / guide — to help educate / interest the newer generations in America’s military history. That would put to good use my collections of military gear: uniform items, blades, canteens, messkits, packs, belts, pouches etc. For this enterprise, I’d need a large space, plenty of shelves, lockable display cases, etc. Oh, plus parking and restrooms. And a coffee bar. Uh… and a snack stand.

Not sure who would pay me for this activity – and I certainly would not wish to be stuck in that place full-time. So I’d need some dedicated, informed, honest helpers. I’d need generous benefits and creature comforts… and a VERY flexible schedule.

A Similar Theme

Here’s a look at how I responded to a somewhat similar theme from a few months ago. In this previous blog, I mention some of my reservations about “selling” (of any type) or running any retail business, period. In this older blog I also discuss the ideas I’ve had for a retreat and/or workshop for young writers.

In case you’re not able (or willing) to read that entire blog, here’s a quote from it:

…something which HAS been a long-time dream of mine is to operate (and, I suppose, “own”) a facility which serves as a writers’ retreat and/or running workshop for young writers. There would be studio space of a type that would allow participants a neutral “haven” in which to create. There would be space for workshops — with visiting authors sharing and teaching. It’s logical there would be a space for small audiences… for “readings” of various kinds.


What about you? How would you make a living if it did not (or could not) involve the book industry?

[JLS # 439]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in careers, Jeff Salter, libraries, Miscellaneous, Random thoughts, What if, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to How Could I Earn A Living?

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I think you’d make a wonderful guide! And as I commented on your post last year, if you open a writers retreat, I’ll come! It’s always good to have options. Retreat cottages around here do a booming business – most of them are booked up to a year in advance! They’re used by scrapbooking groups, quilt groups, and large family reunions as well as writers. People come from Thursday through Sunday, giving the owners three days to get ready for the next group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      sounds like we’ll be busy. So I’ll need someone to take care of the bookings and arrangements, and billing and such.
      Maybe I’ll need FOUR days off, in between!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I suppose there would be three parts to my answers. One based on what I would like to do and one based on reality. And one which is solely a dream I hope to reach.

    Assuming I had no obstacles (such as physical limitations and location), I would want to be a game warden. I’d be outside, active, and, well, armed. (hehe) The reality, though, would be more likely that I’d be working a desk job, possibly with a school district. (*sigh*) But I would LOVE to be a small business owner on a Caribbean island of either a bar or water sports rental/tours.

    All that said, I would have to have something for my creative outlet. If not writing, maybe I could learn to paint, make jewelry, or upcycle antique finds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Jeff. If you ever do plan to open that writers’ retreat, count me in. I’d even be willing to be a partner in it. Sounds like a great idea. I had some classes in architectural design and I’m an artist as well. With the added help of your wife, we could make the place very comfortable for those thousands of writers who would come. Sounds like an adventure to dream about. Hmmm…I feel a story coming on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      A life-long dream… and, unfortunately, it becomes less and less realistic as I get older and poorer. Nonetheless, it’s a noble cause.


  4. The COMPULSION to write is the heart of the situation. I supposed that we need to have creative outlets, some more than others.
    I’d take your tour any day! I know that you would know your stuff. The ill-trained guides around here make me literally want to scream; I end up talking more than the guides, so I stopped taking tours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      My brother, who rose to Lt. Col. in the Army during his 25+ yrs, was on a tour of one of the big Civil War battlefields. Might have been Gettysburg, but I guess it doesn’t really matter which one. Anyway, some of the other soldiers with him were asking a few questions of the tour guide… but the guide did not know some of the answers. However, my brother did, so he’d fill in the gaps.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You would be a wonderful host! I’m sure you would keep busy with that too. I think more people are interested in history now. The younger crowd (at least the kids I know) would all love to attend something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      thank you. My goal — with my displays of military stuff — has been to honor those vets still living, to remind their families about their service, and to leave something tangible for the new generations.


  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    The idea of being a living history host always seemed like a good thing to do. It looks like fun.


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