1. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    How much money? Here's how much.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by chicagoliz, Feb 18, 2014.

  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm glad that guy is being honest. Too often aspiring writers have the wrong impression about the financial side of writing. Keep your day jobs, folks. The truth is that most of us aren't going to be the next Stephen King or J. K. Rowling.
     
  3. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    The things we do for love.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm not surprised to hear it only takes selling a few thousand copies to make the best seller lists. If you have a good book, and that many people read it, one would hope word of mouth would keep the thing selling. But it's like winning the lottery or making it big in music or acting, for every person that makes it big there are a million who didn't.

    I'll be a success by my standards if what I'm writing has the elements I'm trying to express with it. Right now I'm working on contrasting the rich and poor in a future city. I'm reading Dan Simmons' gift with descriptions that are so far out of my league, let's just say I have a long way to go.
     
  5. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I spent twenty-four years as a professional poker player. I began that particular journey completely enamored by the game and the lifestyle. I ended that journey hating everything about it...except the money. It's hard to walk away from an annual average of over $100/hour, particularly when you don't know what you want to be when you grow up. Then in 2005, my then thirteen year old daughter wrote her bucket list. Number fifty-two was "I want to be mentioned in a book". I began writing that night because frankly, it was either that or teach her how to fly a helicopter or something equally secure in the 'not going to happen' category.

    I knew nothing about writing but knew an awful lot about poker and so I ventured into the unknown and gave it a shot. Three months later, I sent the book out to three publishers and got three contracts back. Again, it was the knowledge that sold the book, not any writing prowess (see my recent young adult submission in the writing workshop's novel section for verification). Nevertheless, the book was successful I believe, though I'm not certain what constitutes success in that genre but it was dedicated to my daughter and that was success enough.

    So, for any interested: I received a $1000 advance upon completion of the completed first draft. Another $1000 advance upon completion of the final draft including back page blurb, dedication page, acknowledgement page, etc., and another $1000 advance the day the book came out. Royalties after that were annual and my first check, minus advances, was for about $3000. To be fair, I sold a fair number of them myself in poker rooms and book signings and as I got them for cheap, probably made another $2000 on the side doing so.

    Since then I've watched the royalties dwindle, except for a surge when the book came out electronically two years ago, and have made a total (including the $2000 in personal sales) of right at about $15,000 since September of 2006. I expect this years royalty check to be somewhere in the $500-$600 range. It may be of interest that the book had sold out of three printings now - or perhaps the publisher did a fourth printing simply because we were running low...never did ask why.

    On the plus side, I've discovered what I want to do when I grow up finally. :)
     
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  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Here's a thought (if you'll pardon the overstatement): If this information was more widely available, more wanna-be Kings and Rowlings would be discouraged, and would give up their writing ambitions. Therefore, those of us who are in it more for art than filthy lucre would have a better shot at publication.

    Shout it from the rooftops, writers! There's no money in writing!
     
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  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually knew this. The real money in writing comes from selling lots of books, which is why 4,000 copies won't bring you millions. But that's ok, nobody becomes a millionaire out of a couple of books. But we write because we can't not to, so ultimately, it makes little difference :)
     
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  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As far as hourly wage is concerned, you are almost certainly better off flipping burgers.

    You don't have to be crazy to write for money, but you probably are.
     
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