Sunday, June 29, 2008

How a writer really pays the bills...

Trolling through Andrew Kelly of Australia's Black Dog Books blog today, he quoted Jacqueline Woodman, the director of Australia's Writers Guild, "You have to be prepared to be what's called a jobbing writer. If you want to be an artiste then you won't get work all the time. If you only want to work on your own ideas then there's no way you can make a full-time living as a writer. You have to be prepared to write other people's ideas as well to pay the bills. That's also how you learn and hone your craft." I've gradually been realising this for myself recently as despite some successes I make very little from my writing. A friend told me if she could make the minimum wage of $12/hour for her writing this would be a big leap forward in annual income. I suffer from a great deal of guilt because i contribute so little to the household coffers. At least being at home i can do household chores and meet some of the needs of my children but i still feel bad and wish that what i love doing was adequately recompensed. The bottom line is I will have to do other things to supplement my income and I will have to be extremely clever if i am to find a way that utilises my best skill - writing.

I had another little realisation today. A discovered the sad catch 22 inherent in having a book that becomes a class text. If your book is chosen teacher notes are developed that set out comprehension questions and activities related to the content of the book. Having a book that becomes a class text must have a positive impact on sales. This along with increased name recognition amongst your target audience is great news for an author. But the downside is that your book becomes associated with schoolwork which can suck the joy out of reading it. Nothing is as much fun when you are required to study it. So what do i wish for? That my book is picked as a class text or not?

No comments: