Today’s guest post is by Inara Scott. Inara is the author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, which will be released August 24, 2010, from Disney-Hyperion. Visit her on the web at www.inarascott.net, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter (@inarascott).
I sold my young adult novel, Delcroix Academy: The Candidates in October 2007. It was, of course, completely unexpected. No one, or at least no one who knows anything about the business, expects to sell a book. There are too many variables, the business is too hard, and too many great books end up in the slush pile. I’d written two previous novels and had garnered well over 100 rejection letters in my search for publication. So when I got The Call I was shocked, delighted, and light-headed enough that my agent worried I was going to pass out.
But my sale was unexpected in a way that I still can’t quite believe. I sold Delcroix Academy in a two-book “good” deal – a deal that squeaked past six figures. After they picked me up off the floor guess what the first thing I thought about was?
Quitting the day job.
Yes, like many writers, I had a day job; a day job that produced income my family relied upon. A day job I’d fantasized about quitting for years. The size of the deal suggested that I could replace that income, for at least a couple of years, so I mentioned the idea to my agent. Oh so delicately, she counseled me not to quit. It was early yet, she said, and a lot that could happen. Quitting the day job was a fine goal, but perhaps we weren’t there quite yet.
But I’d sold in a good deal. What could go wrong?
Here’s the list: the book, already scheduled for two years out, was put off a full year; advance payments arrived months after they were supposed to; perhaps most importantly, selling once doesn’t mean you can sell again. I became captive to Delcroix in an odd way – without numbers from the release, no one would want to buy something new from me, but my release was years in the future. I tried to sell in another genre and couldn’t.
The end result? When the market collapsed in 2008 and people were losing their jobs left and right, I was intensely relieved to still have mine.
And yet on June 30, a full two months before Delcroix hits the shelves, I quit my day job. There’s still no guaranteed income, and I haven’t sold a book since 2007. I understand now even better than when I first sold that this business isn’t for the faint of heart, and anything can happen.
So what is this? This is a leap of faith. I’m committing to my passion and my love of writing, knowing the money could run out and I could be scrambling to find ways to pay the mortgage. But the sense of freedom that has accompanied this decision has been remarkable. For the first time, I feel like I’m following my dream and taking a real risk. I’m throwing myself heart and soul into the launch of Delcroix and when I look back, I’ll know that I did everything I could to make it a success.
So, should you quit the day job? Yes. No. Maybe. Was it the best decision I ever made? Absolutely.