Picture a sad and pitiful man who’s poorly groomed, has no social skills, and is living off his girlfriend who’s about to break with him. Not to mention his parents are extremely disappointed in his chosen lifestyle. Out of frustration, he begs the cosmos for a book deal to help him get on his feet even though he’s been working obtaining one for ten years.
Do you know someone like this; someone that has a dream and has put everything aside in order to accomplish it? They refuse to work a real job to bring in income to pay bills and handle responsibilities. They spend their time putting hopeless efforts into a book that they think won’t be rejected (this time). This is their everyday norm and part of their self-fulfilling prophecy.
I wanted to be a writer – I am a writer and I love it. However, people would always tell me that writers make very little money, if at all, compared to other professions. They tell me, “you can’t live off writing alone, you have to keep your day job.” They’d tell me, “don’t become a writer!” They hoped I’d steer clear of the above scenario. Well what would happen if this sad man actually obtained a deal.
Let’s say he finally gets a $100,000 deal with quarterly royalty checks (minus agent fees and taxes). He does the math and finds that he has made $6,666 per year. After paying his debts to his ex-girlfriend (who’s now with a more financially stable man), he pays off his creditors and is now left with $30,000. He has no ideas for a future book! Now he’s in a state of self-hatred and self-rejection.
Let’s see what his life would look life if he actually got a job and worked on his book at the same time. If he worked enough hours to cover his bills then his girlfriend would have probably never left him. Then he could have chosen to spend $10,000 for editing, supplies, and obtaining the query letters that are needed for agents. When he gets his five year, $100,000 deal, he gets to keep the majority of it. That means his money matured 1000%. Why? Because he chose to work at a restaurant or a temp service agency to cover his bills and now he isn’t in debt.
Now $10,000 is a lot for editing and supplies. Usually you can get it done for about $5,000 which would make the maturity of your money increase to 2000%. I know for a fact that books can be edited for less than $1,000. My perspective on writing as a career is to view a book deal as an investment like mutual funds, stocks or bonds; it’s just money, time, and effort I put aside until it matures, grows, or increases.
If writing is your passion and you MUST become a writer, then find a job so that you can take care of your responsibilities and pay your own bills. Find a job that allows you to write and work. You can do this until you get your writer’s payday.