Monday, April 24, 2017

Money, Money, MONEY

Terry Shames answering: Do you strive to earn income on your writing from other than royalties on books sales? If so, what additional income sources do you pursue?"

Recently I met a publisher who said, “Congratulations. You’re really doing well.” I thanked him and we moved on in the conversation, but later I wondered exactly what he meant. Because if he meant, “You must be making money hand over fist,” he had the wrong person. In fact, I think he had the wrong profession.

I have been pleased and gratified by the reception my books have had. I have great fans and am very happy with my publisher, but if I was expected to live on what I earn as a writer, I’d be living in a trailer park outside the small Texas town I write about and working at the Dairy Queen on the side.

My dream was always to have my name on the cover of a book, and that the book would be read and people would enjoy it. But I knew unless I was lucky enough to sign with one of the big publishers, I would not making big bucks as a writer. It does happen. I’ve been surprised to hear that some of the writers I know have received nice, fat advances. And some of them have even made enough money to get royalties over and above their advances. But unless everyone is kidding me, that’s a tiny percentage of published writers.

I’m lucky to have a husband who is willing to support my writing habit. I don’t have to worry about making money, and the advances and royalties I get are icing on the cake. I’m also past retirement age, so if I had to make extra money I’m not sure what I would tackle. At one time I was a computer programmer/analyst, but those skills are waaaaay out of date. I could consider trying to put my writing skills to use by writing articles, but these days that’s a very competitive endeavor. I could consider looking for a ghost-writing job, but I suspect that takes a particular type of writer to satisfy a very specific market. And although I like editing, I have no professional skills.

I’ve always been interested in cutting edge technology, and I like to think that if I really needed to make money, I’d get serious about what’s new and how to take advantage of it in some way. I frequently read about people who have decided to get out of their corporate jobs and take up some innovative idea to make a living. But the fact is that I’d have to work really hard at that and I suspect that I’m not wired for it.

My guess is that if I really had to make money, I’d have to up my production and write more books. I would also probably try to publish some of my own work. Would that increase the amount of money I make? Who knows? I do have a solid fan base, but I know that if you publish yourself, you have to not only write just as good a book, but you have to put a lot of effort into making sure you get good editing and production values. There are no guarantees. For now, I’m happy to be in my niche—and of course there is always that blockbuster I’m planning to write for buckets of money!


RM Greenaway said...

Ever see those financial tips for making extra money, " can always write a book!" All I can say to that is LOL. Oh well, onward...

Susan C Shea said...

Ah, the blockbuster book we all dream about. 50 SHADES OF GREEN, perhaps? HOW TO MAKE MILLIONS WITHOUT LIFTING A FINGER? Baby Boo's memoir? Maybe it's best that we're real writers, doing honest work, pleasing our readers, and making just enough money to go to conferences!

Terry Shames said...

I'll write 50 Shades of Green if you'll write 50 Shades of Pink! Oh well,,,