Thursday, April 15, 2010

Money Ain't All That Dirty

Today is the last day to enter the contest for a free copy of The Devil's Food.

Looks like Robert Swartwood read my mind again with his latest post. The title alone should grab any writer by the throat: "I'm Not Looking for More Money/Readership".


Funny how (some) writers, being the self-flagellating lot we are, try to pretend we don't "deserve" any compensation for our craft.

I can't say I set out to look for those things, and they aren't the only reason I write, but I'll take them. Pay and readership are not things I expect. If I'm to have either, I must earn them, just like any writer.

From what I've seen/read/learned in the last three or four years, unless a writer hits the James Patterson/Dan Brown/Stephen King lotto, the money sucks. Money can't be the sole motivator--if it is, I'm a monumental failure. (Really, do you want me to work out how much I make per hour at the keyboard?) I'm still going to write, regardless of the payoff. Being paid is nice. Being read is nice. Being paid and read--which often go hand-in-hand--is even nicer. (well paid publications can pay well because they are supported by advertising and readership, right?)

That being said, I prefer writing and submitting to markets of my choosing. I've only had a few "commissions" (okay, maybe one). I find it hard to write specifically for money and a particular market on request. I don't enjoy those stories as much. There isn't the exhilaration/agony of submission and rejection/acceptance. I write for the thrill of the story and the double thrill of being able to share it, to tell it. And yes, even get paid a little at times (um, very little) when I've done my job well.

8 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

Yeah, my hourly rate for writing is akin to looking for pennies on the street at this point. In fact, I think I could make more with a metal detector in the park. Definitely not in it for the money.

Sophie Playle said...

I'd love to be paid for my writing. I've not made more than £100 over the last six years, though. Hmm...

Most people see writing as a hobby. It's only 'serious' writers who try to make money from it.

I think there is an ingrained idea that you're not meant to make money by doing the things you enjoy!

K.Hinny said...

As odd as this might sound, I actually write because I want to invoke emotion out of people. (Yes, the characters won't leave me the hell alone, they would chat me up all day and night if I let them) But when I wrote the rough draft of my WIP, I was so exhilerated I wanted to share it with everyone. The thought of "Everyone should get to feel this way" crossed my mind more times than I can count.

I don't know if my writing does evoke emotion from folks, and I'm not looking to ask about it, it's just something I hope for.

I'll keep on writing if the money is there or not, I don't really think I have much choice :D

Alan W. Davidson said...

If I might suggest to Jamie: work the storm sewers downtown with chewing gum at the end of a long stick or magnet at the end of a string.

It's sad that so much of the population enjoys reading, yet so few make a living off of it. Perhaps 'adopt a writer' programs should be a put into place regionally...

K.Hinny said...

If I may add to Alan's comment as well, it's also sad that we revere Hollywood and all it has to offer as a society but yet schools can't seem to manage to find enough funds to keep music, drama and arts in the system...

Natalie L. Sin said...

If people are going to start adopting writers, can mine be a foreign adoption? I'd like to go to Asia ; )

Aaron Polson said...

Jamie - I find about 10 cents in the halls at school every day.

Sophie - I wouldn't enjoy writing if I had to make money at it. If I can, that's a different thing.

Hinny - I've tried to go for a few days without writing, and I can't. It's like crack now, so I hear you on continuing to write.

Alan - We all hear doom and gloom about folks not reading anymore, but you're right--a huge portion of the population reads and reads a lot.

Natalie - I want to go to Scandinavia, but only during the summer. (Screw the 20 hours of darkness during the winter)

katey said...

I've been really lucky that my commissions have come from someone who knows me and has very similar interests-- I would've chosen those two projects anyhow.

Swartwood is right, whoever said that is a megadouche. I'm with you completely, money's nice, but if that's what we're doing, um, fail incoming. A story only has a half-life until someone reads it, though.