Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Show Me The Money

What a great line that is. It became the battle cry of a generation, frustrated with the downturn in the economy, and disillusioned with their prospects for the future. When did we become a nation of people shouting 'Show me the money' instead of working hard and sacrificing to make it ourselves?

As writers I am sure there is a tiny part in all of us that aspire to the kind of fame and fortune of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, even Stephenie Meyers after the last few years. The reality of it is that most of us will never have that kind of notoriety or the fortune that comes with it. You can't be in this business with those kind of expectations in the forefront of your mind. It has to be for the love of what you do, regardless of whether you ever see a dime from it.

Don't get me wrong. We all want to be paid for doing what we love. That old saying that money can't buy you happiness may be true, but it sure could rent me some happy for a while. We need to be realistic in our dreams of the future. Writing may never make you wealthy but if this was what you were meant to do then what you have in return is better than money. It is fulfillment, contentment, a chance to influence the world with your ideas and that has to be worth more than a new flat screen TV or another fancy car to drive. Maybe not more than a maid....but I digress.

A realistic view of average advances can be found here.
It is from a few years ago but since then advances have more often than not been lower than years before. So when you sell your books (notice I said when not if), and your agent negotiates a higher advance than this average, be happy. Don't yell 'Show me the money', because even though we love Cuba Gooding, Jr., we don't want that to be the reason we write, do we?


  1. Like I always say...I don't think a writer can't realistically be in it for the money--you have to love what you do. You have to WANT to write...maybe even feel COMPELLED...like it's air to your lungs. Those who think it's a "get-rich-quick" scheme are living in a fantasy world.

    Those who are "overnight successes" are few. Sort of "luck of the draw" kinda deal. Most authors achieve success over time.

    And even some of them didn't get popular until they died (although that's a little depressing in one way, but really cool in other ways).

  2. Bethany, exactly! Being immortal through print wouldn't be so bad.

  3. Great post! Amazing... I was just thinking about this sort of thing today. You've answered my question Marsha. Thanks...

  4. Thanks for the link. That was very detailed and useful. I like to be realistic.

    Oh, and thanks for saying "when" and not "if".


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.