Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for Money, Which I Think Is Nice

Another passion, and one that seems a bit incongruent with the love of writing, is money.
This is why I'm getting my master's in finance, why I read Smart Money magazine instead of Cosmo, and why I dabble in the stock market (which isn't really getting me anywhere, thanks a lot General Electric, but that's another story).  My back-up career is financial advising, because I love educating people and helping them manage their money -- I think this is so important to sleeping well at night and enjoying your future.

The advice I've read often is, write because you have to write, not for money.

Stephanie Meyers, after all, has said before that she hoped her first novel, Twilight, might help pay off her mini-van. I believe she's now made somewhere in the neighborhood of $50M? But most writers, of course, will never make a living off their work. Even most successful career novelists never, ahem, quit their day job.

So are we just supposed to write something we love, have no expectations, and be delighted if we make money off of all our hard work? That just goes against my whole sense of self, since I love to work hard and take much pride in the money I make for our little family. I don't want to be a writing hobbyist, I want to be a professional.  I don't want to be just an artist with my writing; I want to be a savvy businesswoman. Why can't those last two things go hand-in-hand?

I'm not talking about selling out... I write quirky novels that are hard to place (what genre am I writing, again?). I'm not talking about expecting a ridiculous advance off a debut novel, either, or even (despite yesterday's day dreaming) a movie deal. I don't expect writing to accommodate the lifestyle I like, but then hey, that's why I got married (kidding. a little).

But I do think that if you want to be a serious writer, you should strive to be paid for your work. Maybe that's a few steps away, but the thing is, work should equate to pay.  And this writing business isn't just a lot of daydreamy head-in-the-stars sort of stuff, at least not to me.  There's a fair amount of bum-in-the-seat just-write-the-damn-thing moments for me, just as in my day job.

Now, I don't think I've been pursuing this "work for money" thing enough -- I've been grinding on with my novels, which is excellent, but I could also be pursuing other writing opportunities (in my copious free time, right?).  So far in my writing career, I've made a grand total of $38 (my poems).  So I'm introducing Submissions Sunday in to my life -- I'm going to try to either launch queries or, more regularly, submit my shorter pieces, at least one each Sunday. I'm not giving up if I don't see any return from my work, but I think it's important, for me at least, to strive for the recognition that comes from people paying for what you've written.

What do you think, dear readers? And.... do any brave souls want to join me in Submission Sundays?


Kelly@ JustWrite said...

I agree! I really, really want to be paid for all this hard work.

And a movie deal would be nice too. :)

Jen said...

Can I be paid for my hard work today?! I'd love that!!!

I love your title... M is for Money, Which I think is Nice, LOL made me giggle!

Matthew Rush said...

Personally I just want to get published. I would be happy if one reader found my book and loved it (who is not a friend or family member).

Getting paid? Movie deals? Options for a second and third novel?

Well sure, we can dream.

Today's guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

Old Kitty said...


Oh Good Luck with your Sunday Submissions!!!

I have absolutely no problemo with making money from one's writing - why on earth not??? If it's good and it gets accepted and better still paid for, then why not?!?!

Go for it, is what I say and I so agree about how writing is darned hard work and how it's always worth getting paid for hard work!

I love writing and will never give it up but it means validation and a career worth striving for, for me if there is recognition - be it in the form of pay or publication or both!

Take care

Kittie Howard said...

The publisher/agent/author world is so like a pyramid. I'm not sure those at the top concern themselves with all the hard work under them. Having said that, talent wins out, so don't stop writing. (And GE is edging upwards; hang in there!)

Tara said...

I strive to be published, so I guess money comes with that. I can't say I'd turn down a lot, either ;)

Summer said...

I feel the same way, even though sometimes I feel like I shouldn't. Seems that sometimes equating your art with money is considered gauche; probably why the term starving artist is so common, huh?

You and my husband are on the same career path! He's getting an MBA in Finance, has a subscription to Smart Money, and dabbles in the stock market! :-)

Jaydee Morgan said...

There's nothing wrong to want to be paid for your writing. I've written for that purpose in the past and I don't regret it for a moment.

Now, I'm seriously after novel publication. It's the same thing. I write for myself, yes, but I also write because of the readers, pride and money that come from it.

Shelley Sly said...

I think you said it well. There's a difference between only doing it for the money, and doing something you love, working hard, and hoping you'll be paid for it.

I'm nowhere near ready to submit anything, but good luck with your Sunday Submissions!

Readerly Person said...

Too scared to join you in Submissions Sundays (that would be because nothing I have is remotely close to queryable), but I will say that your $38 for writing is strikingly close to my $48 for writing. (Also for poetry.) Writing-for-shoelaces authors unite! Maybe a conspiracy?

- Rebecca

disobedientwriter said...

I couldn't sustain the effort of networking/promotion if there was no hope of making money. The writing would remain, just at a much slower pace. I'm just hoping that one day (soon) the money comes!

Natalie said...

You've made $38 more than me! I don't write short fiction so I think I'm just going to have to wait for my novel to sell (someday please!)

Elana Johnson said...

I like this idea. Especially the part about writing what you love, instead of writing for money.

Good luck with your Submission Sundays!

Jessica Hill said...

This is a great post. I write because I love it, and I'd consider myself a success if my book touched just one person. And while I don't plan on ever being able to quit my day job, it would be really nice if someday I could. :]

Good luck with your Submissions Sundays!

Guinevere said...

We're in the same club then, Kelly. :)

Thanks Jen! Money IS nice! :)

Matt, that's a very achievable goal, which is awesome. I have no doubt you'll find a way to reach your readers.

Old Kitty, I like the idea of "Pay or publication or both"! I think early in with our writing careers, publication alone is a good goal, and then maybe we should start working harder at getting paying gigs (I might be jumping the gun on "paying" a little, but I'll definitely be submitting to places that only do contributor's copies too if they seem like the best fit for a piece!)

Guinevere said...

Kittie, thanks for the encouragement on the writing and the stocks!

Tara, that is true... and while a little would be nice, I wouldn't turn down a lot, either. :)

Summer, neat that your husband and I are on the same career path! I agree that the "starving artist" thing seems to feel like the approach we're supposed to take... I'm just not sure that even does the most justice to our writing!

Jaydee, I like the idea that you write for yourself but also for the readers, pride and money. I think that's a very balanced approach!

Guinevere said...

Thanks Shelley! :)

Rebecca, we should start a club. Although I'd guess we'd have to meet in a cardboard box and have Ramen as the refreshments...

Disobedient, that's how I feel too. I'll always write, but the effort would look a bit different if I didn't hope to make some money!

Guinevere said...

I hope so, Natalie -- best wishes for you!

Thanks Elana! :)

Thanks Jessica! It sounds like you have a great attitude.

Readerly Person said...

Totally! Ramen and tap water it is. :)

- Rebecca