Talking money

Jo Zebedee

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Earlier on Pete’s thread I’m the only person who chooses what to write based on likely income.

At which point should a writer start to focus on that? Early, late, never. And - also - should money mean more than creativity?

I’m lucky, I have many projects that fire me up - so choosing the one I feel is most likely to sell or, more often, will attract funding, is no hardship.

I want to write more. To write, I need an income from it. Am I wrong to focus on that? Would you ever?

Existentialist crisis ahoy!
 

nixie

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My two pennyworth if you want to make a career in writing you have to write what sells. When you're rich and famous or have an independent income source then write what you want.

I'd love to write but I'm well aware I do not have the skills or the finances to take the time out to study the art of writing.
 

drmatteri

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To write, I need an income from it
I don't think you are wrong to focus on money, but I don't think that should stop you from writing either. For example, I have other sources of income to keep me afloat, such as teaching, tutoring, and freelance editing. I continue to write because it makes me happy and, hopefully, others as well. I think we all would love to make money from writing, but this is a competitive business.
 

Jo Zebedee

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I don't think you are wrong to focus on money, but I don't think that should stop you from writing either. For example, I have other sources of income to keep me afloat, such as teaching, tutoring, and freelance editing. I continue to write because it makes me happy and, hopefully, others as well. I think we all would love to make money from writing, but this is a competitive business.
Yes - I do most of these things (well, not editing)but, bottom line, they still steal writing time, often at a lower rate than my actual day job! At the moment I’m finding balancing it all very difficult
 

CTRandall

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It's always a pain. (For me, music is where I deal with this. Writing isn't a realistic source of income for me yet (if ever).) I do find other work feeds back into my creative work, however. Especially teaching, which always forces me to find different perspectives and discover new resources, but arranging and playing in cover bands have their rewards, too. The bugbear is, as you've said, balance. I'm struggling with that at the moment, as well, and not getting enough time for my own product.
 

Vaz

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The best thing I could say is that you can't tell that your writing is funded.

What I mean by that is there is no lack of passion, or love in your stories. Both shine through. I couldn't pick one of your stories and say "Jo's only written that to sell it to a market."

Money, we all need it to survive. I wouldn't worry about it. If writing with a market in mind allows you to weave the fantastic world's and stories you do then keep doing you.

My thoughts. However much pence they're worth I don't know

v
 

Jo Zebedee

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So far nothing funded has been on the market - but I only apply if I have an idea I want to write and that feels like it will suit me. So hopefully the difference is purely on the practical level for me - I have this Feb and a bit of March to write and managed to go on a short residency.

Having said that the last funded book is struggling to find a home - which probably means it’s totally my style :D
 

Jo Zebedee

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If I had any real idea what might sell -- or knew anyone who did -- I suppose it might be a consideration.
Well, yeah, but let's say you got approached by Warhammer and were offered money to write a book for them rather than a book of your own, on spec. Which do you take?

(PS Blackwell's can't get The Empyreus Proof in - you might need to check with your publisher re distribution xx)
 

Dan Jones

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The thing is it's impossible to know what will sell. If there were a clear formula then the "How to write a bestseller" blog and book market would be dried up already, when it's clearly very popular (in fact, if you want to make money from writing, you should write a "How To Make Money from Writing" book!).

I'm very lucky inasmuch as I have a day job that pays my mortgage and keeps my family happy and healthy, so I don't have any financial pressure on writing. It's a hobby that I take very seriously and for which I have been paid, but barely touches four figures from the last four years, so it's hardly megabucks. But having a day job does mean that I can write the things that I'm interested in, which is why any of us start writing in the first place.

Well, yeah, but let's say you got approached by Warhammer and were offered money to write a book for them rather than a book of your own, on spec. Which do you take?
I touched on this in the ideas thread, and I don't see why it should be a zero-sum situation. I'd certainly say "yes" to the W40K book, but I'd see it as enabling me to write more stuff of my own, not less.

A few folks on this thread have been lucky enough to be picked up by publishers and have their work published by real publishers. And unless someone wants to correct me, the stuff that has been published traditionally by Chronners (that I know of) has been stuff that has been dear or of interest to the author (I'm thinking Jo's Abendau, HB's Fire Stealers, and my own Man O'War and some short stuff). Money wasn't motivators for those books, whereas - as mentioned above - Jo's funded book didn't find a home*. So maybe there is some correlation between success and what the author is most passionate about.

*not to say you weren't invested in the writing, but the creative process had to, presumably, be given equal consideration as did the corporate / proposal writing process.
 

HareBrain

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Well, yeah, but let's say you got approached by Warhammer and were offered money to write a book for them rather than a book of your own, on spec. Which do you take?
I'd have to think I would be capable of doing it very well (which wouldn't apply to a Warhammer book, or pretty much anything apart from my own stuff to be honest), and that the rewards (in terms of money and profile) would compensate for the time. So it would be unlikely.
 

Jo Zebedee

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[QUOTE="Dan Jones, post: 2298796, member: 37181"Jo's funded book didn't find a home*. So maybe there is some correlation between success and what the author is most passionate about.

*not to say you weren't invested in the writing, but the creative process had to, presumably, be given equal consideration as did the corporate / proposal writing process.[/QUOTE]

Yet ;) It will appear somewhere - either published, or self published. I like it too much not to bring it out (and I think others will like it too. Donegal and a Wild Fae hunt through a bleak, strange estate, with a grisly murder chucked in. What's not to like? :D)

Here's the key thing. The Arts Council do not fund based on the marketing merit of the book. That's not what they look to do here. I know this is so different from other parts of the UK, but they seek to support who they consider talented writers contributing to the Northern Irish creative scene, and giving back to it. So, it was more important that the book stretch me (as it did) and enhance my writing skills (ditto) than that it was commercial and would make me a fortune. I mean, it's nice when that happens, but, realistically, if that type of book was not supported in some way (and it wasn't a fortune, I was given, just enough to drill back work for a couple of months), it wouldn't get written, and then we wouldn't have an Anna Burns to look up to here.

So, commercial outcome wasn't the point of that book.

In case I sound like a mercenary cow here, this is my take on it:

I have very little time. Like, so little. Writing has been stolen from every corner I have over for 8 years. Now writing related activities (which I love, like conventions, and festivals, and courses) are stealing more time, and my balance is completely out. I am not -quite - at the position of being able to rely on that income, which means my day job is not - quite - ready to be downsized, as I'd like to. So, I'm afraid, in order to rebalance I do need to think of where I'm putting my efforts. Which is why my writing scheldule looks like this:

Write the New Thing (because it was funded. And I love it, but that's secondary)
Finish Inish Carraig 2, because people are waiting for it and it should sell well
Then go and do Abendau prequel, and maybe the sequel. I'd much rather write these than the IC sequel, because I adore Abendau's world, but it will not sell as much, it will not give me as much promotional presence, and it will do little to enhance my career.

So, yeah, that's hard-nosed. But I need to maintain my sanity, too - and that means getting the pay connundrum more balanced. :D
 

Mouse

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I know I won't ever earn much money from writing, so I don't write 'for the money'. My trad-published romance novels did alright at the start but they're dwindling now (think I got $2 at my last royalty statement) and I'd have to have kept churning them out to keep the readership up - which I'm not capable of doing.
 

thaddeus6th

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*laughs at the dramatic re-enactment of the orcish fate at the end of Return of the King which is his bank account*

I'd strongly advocate people have, and keep, a regular job alongside writing. That way, you'll be able to afford little luxuries like food, and clothing.

A tiny number will be mega-successful, like JK Rowling, and some will be successful enough to make a living from writing, but for most people that simple isn't the case. I've been a bit flippant, but not only income, but the sense of security and reliability of 'normal' work is a huge benefit. Unless you're selling huge numbers of books, the value of a 'proper' job is very high indeed.

*cough*lookingforworkifanyonehassomething*cough*

Oh, and wanting to make money from writing is entirely normal.
 

Toby Frost

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Well, yeah, but let's say you got approached by Warhammer and were offered money to write a book for them rather than a book of your own, on spec. Which do you take?
I did! I could say a lot about this, but by and large the experience was a positive one once I'd realised what I could and couldn't do. It was, however, rather different to the usual way I'd go about writing a book, and less fun in a free, creative sense. You're not just writing in someone else's setting but to someone else's tone, and that's quite important.

Anyway, in terms of writing for money, I basically write with a very slight eye towards what will be profitable. I wouldn't write anything that I didn't enjoy (unless the pay was unfeasibly large) because I suspect that a book written only out of a sense of obligation or to cash in will not be convincing, especially if it's not in a genre that the writer likes. I'm sure there are plenty of authors who, having written a lucrative series, turn out weaker sequels to continue to milk it, but people usually spot that kind of thing.

I am aware that the fantasy novel I've just published has, potentially, a wider audience than comedy and semi-steampunk of the Space Captain Smith books. It wasn't written with that in mind, but it does fit into the lighter end of the grimdark/dark fantasy genre, and that can only be a good thing.
 

The Big Peat

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The thing about money in writing, insofar as I can tell, is that it exists in two forms:

1) Write a lot of reasonably well-regarded things, mainly in popular genres, and carve out a mid-list style place for yourself
2) Write the big hot new thing and do rather well for yourself

Okay. And, 3

3) Write something other than fiction. Screenplays sounds good.

2 is pretty much impossible to predict how that goes so I figure you might as well what you're passionate about. If it's not what's hot... who cares? A lot of the big hot new things are hot because they're new in some way.

So, that leaves 1.

I think that, by and large, to think about that mid-list style money you kinda need to be in the sort of place where that looks attainable. It's not something that I as an aspiring author really thinks about. I do know one guy who started thinking from the beginning what it would take to be a successful SP churner which is kinda at this point - and I'm sure there's others like him - but I think that's the minority.

So if you're the only person to mention it Jo, it's because there's very few others here in that place.

And, of course, there's also the matter of desire. He wanted to do nothing but write. Jo wants to scale back her day job. But for a lot of us... it's an ambition, but maybe not a burning urgent desire.

Probably stating the obvious but there we go.


And for what its worth, I do sometimes consider the commercial applicability of ideas (as do some of the people I pitch to). But I don't know which ones have 2 potential and which ones don't. I know a lot of my ideas could build up to 1, but in terms of hitting the jackpot?
 

scarpelius

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It just hit me, I should try to get some money from writing to be able to attend Worldcon and other fairs :)

P.S. Considering the state of the market in my country, I might have better chances to get into the Mars expedition.
 

Jo Zebedee

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It just hit me, I should try to get some money from writing to be able to attend Worldcon and other fairs :)
Why not? And if you can get invites beyond the sff conventions you can fund some of the sff conventions.

Incidentally, I can get travel funded and accommodation toconventions -check out what support is around.

Also if anyone wants to have me invited to a con somewhere hot and lovely feel free :D
 

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