Writers In The Storm welcomes back award-winning author and RWA RITA-nominee, Shannon Donnelly.
Last month she discussed 5 Quick Fixes To Make Readers Love Your Villains.
This month’s post is more philosophical. We’ll be interested to hear your answer to the title question down in the comments!
Money ~ by Shannon Donnelly
The old joke is that when bankers get together they talk of literature and books, and when writers get together they talk of money. It’s funny because there’s some truth in there. But the talk is usually more complaining—as in there’s never enough money.
Writers are actually touchy about mentioning money; too much and you might be accused of selling out, or being a commercial hack, or you might lose your friends, but too little and, well, you’re hardly a professional writer if you’re not making a living writing, now are you?
Too often we measure success by a bank account, not quality or quantity of work. We envy the big deal, the best seller list, and everything that seems attached to the big bucks. But do we really want to do what it takes to make those big bucks? Do we want to put in the hours—and the analytical work—to figure out how to write a best seller? Not really. Or maybe you do.
The trick here is to know what it is you’re willing to do for cash—and what’s on the ‘never gonna happen’ list.
Would you change genres, spend months in research, spend years in revisions?
Would you be willing to take classes, listen to comments from others, be willing to throw out that book and write another?
What would you do? And what won’t you do?
It’s only important to know your limits—they’re different for everyone.
However, one thing I’ve learned—my bank account goes up as fast as it goes down again. And it doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with anything else in my life. Bills somehow always get paid—sooner or later. Money comes in and goes out. At the end of the day, for me, I’d rather thumb through a really good book than a stack of greenbacks.
This is not to say that money doesn’t matter because a book’s sales can be a good indicator that you’ve struck a good chord with your readers.
Money is great to have around. It often frees you up to do other things. Awards are also cool, but they’re not the only things that validate the work. The truth is that sometimes good books don’t sell (or don’t sell right away). Sometimes weak books win the awards. It’s just the way things happen.
There are too many factors beyond any writer’s control. So all you can do is your best—and figure out what it is you’re willing to do. What’s going to make you happy at the end of the day? Once you figure that out, then do it again, and again.
And if money is one of those factors that matters to you, it’s really important to know your guidelines for what you’ll sell to get those bucks.
What about you? Do you write for love or money, or both? Feel free to elaborate in the comments section.
Shannon’s writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times Magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.” Her book, Under The Kissing Bough was nominated for a Rita.
DON’T FORGET: Shannon also gives online workshops and is the author of Story Telling; Story Showing, an ebook that compliments her popular online class Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop.