The rumors of my wealth are greatly exaggerated. How about yours? After all, we all know that most writers live in mansions sipping martinis. We spend long vacations in villas in Tuscany. Evidently we have expensive cars and servants, too. (Or is that minions?) 😉
I recently overheard an aspiring author telling folks that the only reason certain writers have a reading audience (and so many books published) is because said writers have money. This is a bizarre statement for many reasons.
1. I have yet to meet a writer who gained a reading audience just because they had money, unless they had some sort of celebrity in another area to begin with. An example of this would be Snookie from Jersey Shore.
2. Most writers I know are poor or they have a day job. So if they have any money whatsoever it’s because they work mundane jobs just like everyone else. I, for example, keep my office job, albeit part-time, because I like the stability of a regular paycheck. Writing income can be somewhat unreliable, plus you only get paid once a month or every quarter. Sure, while I generally make enough money that I could live off of my writing alone, that still doesn’t mean I’m wealthy. I make enough that my husband and I can pay our bills, keep a roof over our heads, and food in our stomachs. No, we’re not living paycheck to paycheck. No, we’re not wealthy. We’re comfortable. We also have very good money management skills. It would be my guess that this applies to other authors as well.
3. Money from writing is usually the result of being a good writer (or just a good story teller), but it’s very rarely the reason someone has an audience or good book sales (unless #1 applies).
4. Writers who do eventually end up making a living from their craft often wrote for many years without making a cent, or the money they did make from writing was hobby income. ::raises hand:: Guilty! I have been writing with the goal of becoming a professional novelist since 1991. It only took me 20 years to get here. It’s very rare for an author to have anything handed to him/her. On that note – successful indies worked very hard to get where they are, too – trust me on this.
5. Yes, some indie authors pay for editing, cover art and all that, but that no more makes them “rich” than being able to mix some herbs together from a recipe makes one a herbalist. That’s simply about priorities. Some authors are serious enough about their writing that if they’re going to go indie, they’re going to do it right and give that work every opportunity to succeed. Usually, in the beginning, the money spent on such things comes from having a day job.
So to that writer out there who cries that his book isn’t succeeding and other writers are only making it because they have money – that’s an excuse. It’s more likely that his book hasn’t found its audience, the author doesn’t understand how to market his work, the cover art is horrible, or the writing lacks in some way. Some authors are good at marketing, even on a budget. Some authors are clueless in that department. Some authors write really well and know their subject matter (in the case of NF), others do not. Readers aren’t stupid. They’re the ones who choose the books they like and the books they don’t.
And that, as they say, is that.