Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Paid for your Craft: Can You Make a Living as a Writer? A Recap of the Oct 2015 Westside Writers Mingle.

When Laurie and I met after doing our initial research for this topic, our moods were pretty different. I came in excited about all the odd ideas I had found, and she came in finding the results pretty depressing.

The difference? She Googled, “Can you make a living as an author,” while I Googled, “Strange/fun/unusual ways to make a living as a writer.” And, unsurprisingly, the results were widely different. If you are someone who wants to write for a living, and you don’t care so much what kind of writing you do, there are perhaps more options out there than you might have realized. Consider starting a business where you write:

• wedding vows
• obituaries
• online dating profiles
• query letters and synopses for other writers

Or consider pairing a talent/skill/ability you already have with writing. For example, I also used to teach English and I still currently teach yoga. Now I have a freelance editing business where I edit yoga-related writing (for teachers and studios) and I also lead writing and yoga retreats.

If you want to focus your writing on books, the finances can be a little daunting. The coveted six-figure advance, once broken down into agent percentage, taxes, and how much you actually get and when, doesn’t translate into a living wage. But don’t forget that being published opens doors for revenue that might not have been there before: school visits, panels, classes, etc. And there are also sub rights, which include foreign and audio book rights, each sale of which brings more income.

Here are a few of the links we found most helpful.

On the realities of what you get paid as an author (Laurie Y.’s links):

On some possible other ways to make money as a writer (Lori S.’s links):

You can probably see why Laurie Y was depressed and Lori S was excited!

Oh, and as an aside, this is about how book sales rise when you add an image to your social media:

If thinking about the financial side of writing leaves you drained or overwhelmed, then join us at the next Mingle for some inspiration!

NEXT MINGLE: Writing and Overwhelm

Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed 
not because we're taking on too much, 
but because we're taking on too little of what really strengthens us.” 
~ Marcus Buckingham

We live in a culture of busy and overwhelm, where how much we have on our to-do lists has become the new currency. Within this, how do we find space—both in our calendars and in our psyches—to create? And for a lot of us, as we approach the holidays, this becomes even more difficult. Bring your thoughts, frustrations, suggestions, and ideas. Will also include some simple mindfulness techniques from Lori and new ways to look at time and creativity. 

DATE: Wednesday, November 4
TIME: 7 pm – 8:45 pm
LOCATION: Ocean Park branch of the Santa Monica library.

If you feel so inclined, we would welcome any baked goods to share!

Can’t wait to see you all –

With love & books,

Lori & Laurie

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