So I promised that I would talk about money today.
Such a depressing topic.
It’s not that money is evil. In fact, it’s rather lovely, especially when your children are hungry, or they have outgrown their sneakers for the third time in a year or they want to live in something other than a tent, especially when it snows.
But money, as Mother was so very fond of pointing out, does not grow on trees.
So you get a real job to earn money. That takes about 40 hours a week. Plus commuting time. And if you have family, they take up an addition 100,000 hours a week. And then you have to make time for things like dentist appointments, getting the car inspected, taking the hamsters to the vet, etc.
And then you have to make time for writing. Right?
Many people (like me) feel that if they could just get their novel published, it would be the end to their money woes. So in addition to all the creative pressures they feel when writing, they add financial pressure. And then? And then? Some people shoulder even more burdens. They hope that the novel they’re writing will let them get a divorce, it will stop the bank from foreclosing, it will cure their smelly feet, it will make a lost love return to their arms.
Those kinds of expectations will destroy your writing and break your heart.
This post does a pretty good job explaining the math of publishing. It is rather dreary. If you prefer to focus on the success stories of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, go ahead. I don’t blame you.
Looking at my experience and that of other writers I know who are making a living and paying the bills from writing, this is how you can get there.
1. Write a great book.
2. Get an agent to represent you.
3. The agent sells the book to a publisher.
4. You celebrate, but you don’t quit your day job.
5. Over the next decade, write and sell five more books.
6. And sneak in whatever kind of publicity you can in your free time so that…
7. All of your books earn out their advances and you have a steady royalty stream.
8. Calculate how you’re going to pay for health insurance.
9. Decide to keep the day job a while longer
10. After 15 years and 8 or 9 books, take a deep breath and quit the day job.
(Note: if your significant other has a great job, you obviously have more flexibility.)
Are you still with me? Still want to be a writer?
Now that you know the icky part, what questions do you have about the money and publication side of things?
“The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Today’s prompt: Write your success story, the People magazine version, about how your novel is going to put you in the ranks of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. Be sure to include the wording of the note that you’re going to send me when you prove this blog post completely wrong!
Scribble… scribble… scribble…