Today I'll post about writers and money. Oooo that's a sore spot, especially during tough economic times. In fact, I posted about money on my other blog, too. No connection. Back to writers. First, we just want time to write. That's all, please oh please just give me time to write.
After we figure that one out, and at last finish our WIP, comes querying, with the goal being to submit our work, find an agent and get published. That seems to take forever, it drives us insane, but still-- we're living our dream, right? I. Am. A. Writer.
When we get the agent, it is through the roof with joy. We made it!! Got the agent!! Land the publishing contract? We shout it out and celebrate like it's 1999. Time to jump into editing with a passion, start the blog, Twitter, network on Facebook, whatever it takes for that book to find an audience, done and done.
Time passes. Editing takes forever. Release dates get postponed. Three years to publish one book, are you kidding me? I should've freakin self-published! But we keep at it, knowing it will be worth it in the end. Finally the day comes when we hold that beautiful
More time passes.
Dare I mention money?
The sales aren't there, the royalty checks are small to nonexistent. We wonder who to blame-- the system, our publisher, our blog, THE MAN? We might even throw the occasional temper tantrum....
Where is the money? Show me the money! Look at fill in the blank writer. Why didn't it work out for me? My book's as good as fill in the blank book. Waaaaa, why can't that be me???!!!
We can realize that things of worth in this world rarely get paid what they deserve. Professional ball players make millions while schoolteachers struggle to pay rent. A mom staying home full time to raise her young children gets no pay unless there's a husband with a nice income. Day care workers earn crap.
An author, someone who writes the books that brighten our days and cheer our nights and enlighten our minds, earns-- usually nothing. By the time you figure the hours put in, add expenses like paper, toner, laptop, and don't forget the marketing, sometimes doing book tours on your own dime--- yes, it's nothing. It's less even than the school teacher. Sure, there's a few author superstars out there. You can count them on one hand per decade.
Let's face it. We won't make much money as writers. If any. It's lovely when people pay for a book you wrote, so highly satisfying, but there's a lot of people who have to get paid out of that $15.95. The bookstore, the publisher, the distributor, the cover artist to name a few.
Some of them get paid before publication (cover artist) or upon sales (bookstore & somewhat later, distributor). The publisher gets paid when the store pays the distributor and the distributor sends out the checks, after taking his cut of course. The author gets paid last, twice a year. The system is messed up. None of it would exist except for the authors, and they get their small percentage last. They are the first to do the work, i.e. write the book, and the last to get paid. Twice a year. Oh, and don't forget returns, which are deducted from the author's royalty account. So don't quit that day job.
There aren't really any bad guys in this scenario. No one makes a lot of money in publishing unless there's a mega-hit, or a string of bestsellers, or you've been around forever like since 1872. Otherwise it's a very difficult business to get rich in. If you're doing this for the money, better rethink your career path.
I want to write. I need to write. I need people to read what I write. Call me a needy author, it's true, I admit it. I crave readers for my work. I write because it's my passion, how about you? If financial success follows, wonderful. If not, so what? This is for love not money, right?
Let's be grateful for where we are on this incredible journey and move forward with joy. Never mind the wondering if "I had an agent, or that agent, I'd be doing better. Or if I self-pubbed on e books I'd get more and wouldn't have to split with my publisher. Or if only I could get in Costco, or get on Oprah. Or if I was with a different press I'd have more exposure." Really, none of it matters, because as a general rule, writers don't make money, sad but true.
So don't think about money and just get back to the writing. Anyway, that's how I see it.