Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Wait, You Mean I Still Have To Work?!

Let me get this straight. Signing a book deal doesn't mean I can quit my job?

Man, I feel so jipped!

So popping into my supervisor's office and yelling, "Psych! Girl, you know I was joking about quitting,right?" is probably not an option?

I'm kidding, of course. But since Jay boldly asserted that he indeed does have millionaire author dreams, I thought I'd make a leettlle confession too....

Hell yeah, I'm trying to get paid!

And I don't mean, money to supplement my current income. I mean I want writing advances, royalties, whatever to BE my income.

I stand by my statement - no one gets into writing to become rich. The whole starving artist reference is not just for painters - it's for all us poor saps who happen to be right-brained and too creative for our own good.

Sure, we'd like to settle down into comfortable, stable jobs. But dammit we just can't. Believe me, I tried!

Still, when I made a conscious decision to jump back into writing it was not with the goal to write AND keep a regular full-time job. Un-ah.

The thing is, I think writers are so aware that it's a hell of a grind to become a money-making author that we squash our desire to reach that goal. Or we keep it on hush at the very least.

Thousands upon thousands of books are published every year. The odds of getting published are already pretty damn steep. So add in wanting to make a living from it - a living above the poverty level - and dammit, you're just talking crazy.

But Jay, you've called me out with your comment. I've been afraid to admit, that yeah, I want to be one of those rare few that makes a good living from writing. If it's writing novels and contributing to magazines, fine. If it's novels and speaking engagements, that's cool too.

Bottom line, I expect to one day walk away from my 9-to-5. It's not so much that I think making a living from writing will be easier. Quite the contrary. I'm well aware of the grind I'll have to maintain to make even as much money as I make as mid-level civil servant. Forget trying to climb to my corporate financial pinnacle.

But that's fine with me. I've been on the grind for the last 15 years for non-profits, government departments, PR agencies and corporations. Grindin' is a way of life for most of us.

What I'm saying is, I'm committed to leaving one grind for another because for the first time that grind will benefit me!

If I'm going to put in 60-hour work weeks, late nights and long hours, who better to do it for than myself? And I've already done it, so it won't be new.

Three years ago when I decided to freelance, I was working longer hours in my home office than I had ever worked at my corporate gig. My husband would come to the office and ask if I planned on coming out at all that day. I was obsessed with querying and pitching editors with article ideas.

Then I wrote my first novel and my obsession turned to querying agents.

Between December '04 and June '05, I was working my full-time job, doing marketing part-time for a spirit company, revising my novel and querying agents. By the way, I have two kids and I coach a cheer squad nine months out of the year.

Oh yeah, I'm totally Type A! Which is kind of beside the point since there is no help for us chronic multi-taskers.

The truth is, if I can do all of those things simultaneously?

Then hustling for paid school visits, hawking my books and writing new ones - psssh, all in a day's work.

And if after all that I end up clearing $30 or $40,000 a year - it's all good.

And if by some stroke of good fortune (combined with me working my ass off) I happen to one day hit six-figures or seven - I won't be mad. But that's the hidden goal. The goal I don't speak of aloud...often.

Maybe it sounds crazy or incredibly ambitious.

Setting out to write a book is no less sane to some. Believing you'll ever get it published, even more ludicrous.

But, sanity is overrated anyway.


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