Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Money

Today's going to be a bit of a tough subject, I'm afraid. But it's another of those things you have to know before you start writing a novel. Or before you devote too much time on it.

Brace yourselves, kids.

Writing novels makes almost no one rich.

It also doesn't do much towards bringing in an income.

But but but! I hear some of you shout back. J.K. Rowling! Stephanie Meyer! And any other one of the writing giants. And yes, they did make a lot of money. J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England.

BUT.

I don't think all the bestsellers put together make up 1% of the writers out there.

And I'm all for aiming for the skies. In fact I do too. Deep down, I'm really hoping that my books will be a huge success. But that's not why I write.

I write, because I love writing. Because I feel cranky and annoyed when I don't. The money and possible success doesn't really factor all that much.

Because to me, the thought of expecting money a lot of money from writing is a bit (sorry to those who disagree) ridiculous. Think about it. Even if you're only planning to survive on your writing income, you'll starve more often than not. Because it usually takes over a year to get as far as submitting a book. And then, it might not even be accepted. And if it is, it can take anything from six months to two years to see the book in print. So you'd better pray you get an advance. Because these days, it's by no means a given.

Or... you might say... you'll self publish. Great idea. But if you want to produce something that's going to build you a career, you'll need everything a publishing house would have given you. Editors. Cover design. Marketing. Formatting. And on. And on. And on. Unless you're really good at any of these, you're going to have to pay for everything. Actually, I should say you'll pre-pay everything. Because you'll be paying without being anywhere near to selling the product you're preparing.

I would have been willing to self publish if I hadn't sold my book to a publisher. Not because I thought I'd starve if the book didn't come out. Rather, because I was passionate about the story.

Sorry if this disappoints you, but I just feel that someone needs to tell you. If you're writing a novel for the money instead of the story, you're fighting a losing battle already.

Still, if you want to try, let me know how it goes.

Who agrees with me? Has any of you decided to write novels for money? How did it go?

34 comments:

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I don't write novels....wish I could, but I write poetry but certainly NOT for the money.

Yvonne.

Sharon said...

I am not a writer but I don't think it matters what job that you do, you should do it because of enjoyment, not for the money. I believe that if you are only after the money then you wont have the passion to do your best.
Others may disagree but that's my opinion.

Andrea said...

I hope I was looking at this as more of an achievement than for the money, but you know how there are always people outside of one's circle who equate achievement with money...bleah

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I never went into it to make money. I know it's the goal of some writers to go full time, but it was never mine. So far making money has been a bonus. Seeing my books in print and knowing others enjoyed them was the prize.

Doreen McGettigan said...

What a true story! My book has sold very well, I do tons of freelance writing and I still work out of the house :-)
An author can dream though, and I do..
doreenmcgettigan.com

Doreen McGettigan said...

What a true story! My book has sold very well, I do tons of freelance writing and I still work out of the house :-)
An author can dream though, and I do..
doreenmcgettigan.com

Maria Zannini said...

My plan was always to make a career in publishing, but not solely on novels.

Most of my income stems from editing newsletters and designing book covers. Occasionally, I make a little extra writing articles.

Connie Keller said...

I think it's a good idea to go into publishing (whether self-pubbing, traditional, or somewhere in between) with your eyes open. It's rare for someone to get rich, and it's even rare for someone to make a living writing novels. But there's nothing like the first stranger who tells you, "I love your book." Or, "I'm writing a book report on your book." That's priceless.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Well, to be honest, when my business crashed in 2009 because of the economy tanking, I did write my first book to make money. I had planned to self publish originally. I have talent in design, cover art, etc., so I knew I had most bases covered...

WELL, it is now four years later. I had decided after the first year that I wanted traditional publishing. I am STILL re-writing/editing that novel plus one more. I have written short stories and LEARNED TONS.... What I learned mostly was .... not to rely on income from writing. To date I have spend hundreds of dollars on books, ink, paper, etc. and made $0.00 writing. Yes, I'm discouraged but I will never give up because I have met AMAZING people and I know in Time ... my turn will come ....

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I write because I love writing stories (novels more specifically). I'm planning to self publish, but I consider it an investment in my career, just like the conferences and workshops I've attended were an investment in my career.

M.J. Fifield said...

I write because I love to write. I know I won't make any money doing it, and that's okay.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I write because I love to write. I have self-published, and I've had awesome feedback from readers and I've really appreciated that.
At this point, as far as money goes, I would love to break even, or get a few dollars beyond that. I've always known that writing isn't any kind of get rick quick scheme.

Rena said...

Like you, I write because I'm cranky when I don't write. Do I hope to make money at it? Yes. Do I hope to make enough money to be a full time writer? of course. In the mean time I have a quirky job and plenty of job applications out.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Big money is rare, love of writing comes first.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What?! I'm not going to get rich? Well forget it then! ;)
That's the one comment I hate from non-writers. "You're going to be rich!" I know they are just trying to be supportive and stuff, but yeah. No.

Julie Flanders said...

Very true. I hope to eventually be able to support myself with my writing income, but I'm definitely grateful I have a day job to pay the bills!

Rosalind Adam said...

I agree with you. What I get from my writing is pocket money, a bonus, something I use to buy a pretty notebook or three with but not to live on. A friend once got into trouble from the head of our adult eduction college for telling her creative writing class that it's extremely difficult to get published and almost impossible to earn a living from writing,

Andrew Leon said...

I don't want to get rich (my wife wants me to get rich); I just want to make enough to positively impact my family's living environment, even if that means I just make enough to put gas in the cars each month.

sassyspeaks said...

All my writer friends write for love, some self publish some don't. But no one has left their day job yet to write full time. I believe luck plays a hand in best selling eg JK Rowling had lots of luck. And the work involved in self publishing is huge. You have to get the book out there so as many people can see it and hopefully some of these people will purchase it

nutschell said...

Money is a secondary thing for me. Its more of a hope that I might make enough just so i can keep on doing what i love to do--which is write. I write because I love to write and wish others to enjoy my stories :)(

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

VikLit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VikLit said...

Had to delete my comment because I accidentally wrote 'it's something to be in for the ££' where I meant to write 'it's NOT something to be in for the ££'. *headdesk*. It certainly isn't a guarantee of money. It's for the love!

LD Masterson said...

What? I'm not going to be richer than the Queen of England?

I'm so disillusioned.

Botanist said...

We can all dream, of course, but my goal is to see something of mine in print, one way or another. If it ever even pays for itself (or at least a new laptop) that will be a bonus.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

So true, and yet there are the exceptions, so you never can say never. Here's to writing because you love it no matter what.

Mark Means said...

I'd love to make money from my writing and believe that, someday, I will.

If I don't, though, that will be fine...I just love telling stories and trying to come up with interesting characters to play those stories out :)

Great topic!

Left and Write

Mel Chesley said...

I have to admit. When I first started writing, I had dollar signs in my eyes. These days, I'm all about getting my story out there, not how much money it makes. Granted, I'm a debut novelist, so I'm a bit disheartened at how many books I've sold, but again, I'm brand new. Nobody knows me yet, so I have to keep working. ;) Good post Misha!

Mel at Writings Musings and Other Such Nonsense

Krista McLaughlin said...

We really do have to love writing because it won't make us rich. I only wish it could at least support us so we didn't have to have unfulfilled jobs and have more time to write! :)

Kristen Dyrr said...

Part of me wishes we could go back to bartering. I really don't care about money, but I want to have my needs met. If we could trade things other people want or need for things we need or want, everyone would be happy. Too bad there's no guarantee in that. :)

#atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

sherilee said...

Never thought of writing a book for money. Other writing might be possible, I suppose, as I know full-time writers. But novelists? I only know one... and he's pretty prolific!

mooderino said...

Sadly true. No likelihood of riches anytime soon. sigh.

mood
Moody Writing

Anne Mackle said...

I would imagine very few writers write for money and most are like artists who are struggling to have people appreciate their works of art.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I definitely wouldn't mind having a lot of money, especially because I am a broke grad student and I also work as an English teacher; once start teaching full-time, I will continue to be far-from-rich (sigh). But on the other hand, I didn't pursue writing, grad school, or teaching for the money, because I knew that none of those things would make me rich. It's more about the fact that I love books and writing, and I love helping other people see why literature is worth loving.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Oops, once I start teaching full-time, not once start teaching full-time. Even English teachers make grammatical errors! :)