So, Covid19, right? I thought I’d talk about something less stressful—money! What? … Oh. Yeah.
For 1.222333222222111% of writers, things have been pretty golden. As for the rest of us 98.77766677777789% of writers, there are varying degrees of royalty money or not royalty money—honestly, I have vague ideas of what other writers’ royalties are but I always imagine many are doing just fine because they are wise and smart and savvy in their book-business—alternatively, I and a few others like me are confused and uninspired and stubborn.
I admit it. I just wanted to write books and hoped that was good enough to, while not make me a ton of money, at least make me a little steady money. Well, if that isn’t naïve, I don’t know what is, but that’s how early on I approached my “writing career,” and since it worked out (not) soooooooo well for me, I continued that way.
If it ain’t fixed, don’t broke it, right? Maybe my experience will help you, or be your cautionary tale.
A familiar conversation I’ve had with those who are thinking of entering the book business:
“How much money you think I’ll make?”
I say, “I dunno.”
“Like, could I quit my job within a year?”
“I dunno.” I fidget in my seat.
“Well, how much are you making?”
Noneya! I sniff haughtily. “I don’t like discussing my royalties.”
Looks irritated at me, as if I’m hiding something glorious that I won’t share. “Like, you think being a writer is a secret society or something? Not anymore! Why don’t you all just tell us what it’s really like?”
“We do! All the time! There’s a veritable glut of information, advice, and other stuff out there. Huh.”
“So, tell me how much you make from your book sales. I’ve been to your Amazon page—”
“—then you have an idea, right?”
“You are no help at all.”
Nope, I am not. Because it’s private. Because most people—writers and not-writers—don’t like to talk about personal finances. It makes our brains feel itchy. But is there an aura of secrecy and mystique with Writer Money and Writer Book Sales? Do we keep that magic curtain pulled tight so all the mechanisms are hidden, like the Wiz of Oz? Or are those the old days and we are much more open about the entire experience?
Creatives can let Creative Money define us in a critical way. We feel overwhelmed by what we think we should be doing as a business versus what we want to do as creators. We can grow stagnant and moldy, afraid to move forward, or languish into The Big Stop—
—I haven’t written a novel in about 7 years. Dang. Yeah. Feels judgy eyes upon her little tortured soul.
It’s not what you may think. It’s not just about money. But money plays a role.
So. Actual dollars and no sense. Your results can and may vary, or can and may have already varied.
Gulp … deep breath … scratch the itchy brain …. [Read more…]