Yesterday post about the financial realities of writing provoked a lot of comment. Has SCBWI ever done a workshop about this? It’s the kind of practical nuts-and-bolts stuff people should know, IMHO.
In response to the post, a Constant Reader on MySpace posed this question: When you go to conferences- like the ALA and such- do you pay your own way and use that as business expenses come tax-time or does your publisher/etc ever pay for it (like if you were the one that won the Newbery that year)? Do groups ever pay you to come, like if you are speaking at an event?”
These days (I’ve been writing for 16 years and have published 6 picture books, 6 novels, and a 12-book series) the publishers pay my way to big conferences such as American Library Association, International Reading Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English. But not every year. They pick and choose from their authors depended on if that person has a new book out, and the distance (= cost!) of getting said author to the event.
We are not paid for our time or for presenting at these big events. On my recent ALA trip, I was gone from home for five days. Two of those days were so jam-packed with book-and-librarian stuff I was only able to sneak in an hour of work. The other days I was able to work on the new book a fair amount. (That’s why I didn’t go play at Disneyland.) I have gotten much better at working on planes and in airports, too.
If you like speaking in public and are good at it, you can ask to present at state and regional conferences of librarians and teachers, and, of course, you can visit schools. If you are just starting out, you’ll probably have to pay your own expenses, and they won’t pay you a speaking fee. If you’re a good speaker and your reputation grows, you’ll gradually be offered an honorarium, and sometimes they’ll pay your expenses. Legitimate business expenses associated with this kind of travel are tax-deductible, but please, please consult with a tax professional about this.
In addition to conferences, I used to spend 60 – 100 days a year visiting schools. That’s how I paid my bills. It was fun and I loved it, but it wicked ate into writing time. (I’m on a hiatus from school visits right now – I promised my publishers I’d focus on writing for a while.) I always arranged my own travel, but a lot of authors rely on people like Catherine Balkin to set up their appearances and coordinate travel details.
What other facts of the writing life do you want to know?
WFMAD Day 19!
Today’s goal: Write for 15 minutes. Try to avoid melting.
Today’s mindset: humid
Today’s prompt: If you’re going to do this prompt, don’t scroll down to Part Two until you’ve completed Part One.
1. Write a list of five objects between the size of a hardback book and a toaster oven. Describe each item in glorious, precise detail.
scroll down for Part Two…
2. Imagine you’re on a vacation on a remote island; wo weeks and no electricity. You do have ample food and clean water, and a safe shelter, and you are fairly comfortable, but there are no stores around. You open your suitcase and instead of the clothes you packed, you find your 5 objects sitting there.
Write about what you’re going to do with them.