1. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    You write, but not for money?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by domenic.p, Mar 28, 2015.

    I have read on this forum where many have said, "I'm not writing for money, I just want people to read, and love my books."
    To those seeking a standard publisher, you will need an agent. If an agent gets a hint you don't care about the money, they won't have any part of you even if you have the best book ever written. Agents make a percent of the money. Why would they take on a writer who don't care about the money? It is like saying..."I'm not going to work very hard helping the publisher sell my book."
    I would suggest if you do not treat your book like a money making business...just self-publish, put it on Amazon, and forget it.
    If you loved making chairs of wood, designing them, cutting the wood, sanded for hours removing little stuff, and all the other task of making chairs, would you just give them away? I don't think so. You would treat your chair making as a business.
    Is your book any less than a chair?
    A member of this forum said, "If you self publish because you want people to read your book...you may have many down-load a copy...but since they paid near nothing for you book, how do you know they will read more than 1/2 a page? If they buy your book from a standard-publisher, they will read more because it cost more than $15.
    A story teller spends hours, weeks, and yes years building a good story out of their head...no other is like it. If it is a good read. it takes the reader away from the everyday world, and lets them live within the story. If well written, they will remember it for years...you the writer have given the reader a different world to be a part of...you the writer have invented it...that is worth money. The publishing business want writers who treat their writing like a business...the companies who don't care, and will take your book, will also take your money, or make money from your book, and care less about you...these are scam people who feed off of new writers.
    The is an old saying, "Money flows to the writer, not from."
     
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  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you write a great book, an agent may well be interested even if you don't care about money, so long as you don't get in the way of their negotiation. Part of their job is to secure the best contract they can and if the author doesn't care they can still do that so long as the author doesn't hamper them. I've had a couple of clients over the years who didn't care about money they got through licensing, but I still pursued the best deal possible. You take their desires into consideration and then basically protect them from themselves. If the interfere and demand that you not pursue a good deal, then it can become an issue.
     
  3. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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  4. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    I judge a write by how they write. You posted just one section of your work since joining the forum in July 2010. I read it. You should learn what a verb is. A good writer has a verb in every sentences., most of yours have none. I have already told you, "to follow me around from thread to thread and counter everything I say is okay with me, but you should first learn what you are talking about, otherwise others may take you for a TROLL.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I just posted some information. You're the one intent on trolling posts. That's fine, but I'll wait for someone who has something useful to say. You could always educate yourself and try again. I don't take the posts personally.
     
  6. bluehouse
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    bluehouse Member

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    I think whether you write for money or don't, the quality of a piece benefits greatly in the early stages when written with the financials out of mind. Naturally, agents and publishers will apply inductive reasoning in their search because certain traits in a given genre have been found in numerous pieces that have already sold well. However, if a large number of writers crafting pieces to fit this mold (having money on their minds, to "whitely" quote Snoop and Daz), then the pieces they ultimately submit will hedge together with regards to overall style and feel one gets from reading it. Which, within the frame of a single piece, isn't necessarily bad IMO. Nothing new under the sun, as is said.

    If a writer writes with money as the predominant motivator, though, then the same writer would be remiss if they didn't also consider their own staying power as a creative identity within the industry. Described as a job market with "strong competition...for full-time jobs because many people are attracted to this occupation", there were ~130,000 jobs as a professional writer/author reported in 2012, with a 3% projected growth rate and a median income of ~55,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Treat the average income as you wish (noting as an aside that this means ~75,000 would be statistically considered as "above average), but in any field where there is strong competition, be it acting or politics or academic doctorates, it is vital to one's success that they stand out. More succinctly, one could have a piece published and sold for what many in the industry would call a successful sum. However, in considering this as a career, what good is that if the piece isn't memorable? Doesn't freely create something of a large-scale discussion? One piece a career doesn't make.

    People pay for the finished product, not the process that made it so. With an obvious exception given to deadlines and, in the end, word counts, it's my true belief that what creates a career is a collaboration with an agent and/or publisher to modify a piece born purely out of free creativity to meet an industrial expectation that ultimately makes it marketable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Agents and publishers aren't foolproof. They'll turn down good books if they don't think THEY can sell them. They're focused on trends and anticipating trends. Not all writers are on board for that kind of thing. Even the greats - Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, Margaret Atwood etc ... - had to self publish.
    It all depends on a writer's goal. It doesn't make anyone a lesser writer. It just means they have different goals.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @peachalulu true, and they may also take books of lesser quality if they think they can find a market for them, which is why you had a publisher paying out so much for Twilight even though it was a first novel by an unknown writer. They saw the potential market for it and reacted accordingly, whereas they may have turned down a better written novel that they didn't feel they could sell.
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just a note:

    Those stats are almost certainly for professional writers in ALL fields of writing - okay, why don't I just check...

    Yeah, the stats are for people who " develop written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, and online publications."

    Novelists are almost certainly a pretty small fraction of that total.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, I was listening to an agent talk a few weeks ago and she said one of the main problems with writer's is sending their books to the wrong agent. Then the agent has to turn down these books because they weren't their 'niche or specialty' and that even when they do get the right book for their market it's still nearly impossible to sell ( the odds ,which I won't repeat, were hugely disappointing. ) Not that I'm crossing off publishing through a publisher. I think a writer should definitely keep themselves informed about the process. But I'm not sure if it should effect their writing or how they go about selling their work.
     
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  11. bluehouse
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    That was understood, BayView. Searching further will show you that the numbers for fictional authorship mirror quite accurately what I quoted. As a citation, however, a government agency would be as credible as any in terms of reporting financial information. Even if they, as a whole, lack credibility in other areas. Furthermore, you'll also find that the bottom end of earnings for a novelist are lower than other related subgroups. These would include copywriter, technical writer, and any sort of marketing/advertising writer. While I have no citations for the this, my gut says it's due largely to a higher degree of subjectivity when evaluating work.

    All of which goes directly to my point. If money is the motivator, then a high amount of money is the motivator. If one wants a high amount of money in this industry, one has to stand out. Tailoring a piece from the beginning to fit solely what has succeeded in the past will not lead to work that stands out.

    Edit 1 - Steerpike nailed it, IMO. If you associate quality of work with amount earned, then you'll have a much easier time seeking an MBA.
     
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  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Money can be an important motivator. I'm not convinced it should be the prime one. An editor and author once told me if you want to make money, almost anything is a surer and more lucrative way to do it than writing fiction. Of course, he does well and so does a small number of writers, but for most people getting into fiction, if your main goal is to make tons of money you could probably make a lot more doing something else.
     
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  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you have those numbers for fictional authorship you found by searching further? I'd be really interested in seeing them.

    In general, though, I'm not sure I agree with the idea that "if money is the motivator, then a high amount of money is the motivator". Some authors are absolutely thrilled, and motivated, to make any money at all.

    I'm also not sure I agree that "if one wants a high amount of money in this industry, one has to stand out." If you look at the list of bestselling fiction authors at Wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_fiction_authors) I think you'll find that quite a few of them write very formulaic books. I wouldn't say they stand out in any way other than just getting really good at writing to their chosen formulas.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Some authors seem to do quite well with formula. James Patterson, for example. I dont think he even writes all of the books published under his name.
     
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  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Barbara Cartland, Jackie Collins, RL Stine, Dean Koontz, Louis L'Amour, etc., etc. Lots of very prolific multi-millionaires writing to a formula.
     
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  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, there are. I wonder if the very top ranks, in terms of sales, are mostly writing to a formula that has proven to work.
     
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  17. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    These writers you name wrote for money. I went back in time, and followed Mark Twain from his riverboat days (Where he got his name Mark twain ) to Virginia City where he started as a reporter, to san Francisco where he became the great writer, and story teller, Mark Twain. His real name was Sam Clemens. I spent many days in Virginia City reading what he wrote for the newspaper. The only thing good about his writing in his reporter days, was his SPG.

    In San Francisco he was on the streets with ten cents in his pocket. A person of mystery took him in for a year. When he came away from this mystery person, he was the great Mark Twain.

    Somehow he was transformed from a non-writer, non-story teller…to perhaps the best writer of his time. Back in his day, writers not only published their own works, but read them to paying audiences. If they had the money they often publish, and distribute their own books. Reading was a big entertainment…they had no radios, TV’s or movies…it was a writers world. Mark Twain did very little in his life for free…he wrote for money.
     
  18. bluehouse
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    I'm not a personal Wikipedia, nor is this a college composition course. However, I can refer you to a Google search for "creative writer salary" or something of the like. While the numbers will likely not mirror those of the BLS or even each other (likely reporting different years), examining the first returns as a whole will illustrate my point at large.

    This is not to call you out Steerpike, because I'm generally aligned with your stance here. As an example, though, James Patterson has earned over $90 million dollars a year multiple times and is worth an estimated $295 million (Forbes). Additionally, he was an advertising executive before focusing on this profession. Considering these two bits of information together should resoundingly announce his case as an outlier. An outlying outlier. I simply have no ability to ignore his previous occupation as a strong aid in creating the lucratively prosperous one he holds now, either. Even further, I'd suggest that his name alone, holding its financial strength from advertising and his early works, plays a strong role in the sales presently, as it would with any bestsellers quoted in this thread which, again, a bestseller in of itself is an outlier. While there are novelists with very high earnings who didn't come from such a background, one must know that sums such as these are, by definition, outlying.

    But if we're discussing outliers, then I'll just bring this to a head now. In all likelihood, I'm not one in the financial sense. In all likelihood, you're not one in the same (whoever is taking the time to read this, not anyone specific). None of us are advertising executives nor likely hold any occupation or other social standing with readily available connections. This is the ground floor on which we stand. If you have your sights set high, and good for you if you do and nothing but the best fortune, know that oh so many others do too. I have to imagine that the formulaic views of writing expressed here are shared by many of them, as well. This means what separates them from you (the general you, again) will ultimately be aspects independent of the writing process altogether. Perhaps aspects totally outside of your control. This the path most thoroughly trekked.

    Or...

    One can understand in great depths what human condition is (or the condition of whatever alien about which one writes sci-fi). What loss is, what gain is, what the risk involving each is. What happiness is, what anger is, what love is, what hate is. These, indeed, are flowery, whimsical words that are difficult to define operationally, but aren't they (and the literary devices used to convey them) also the atoms of a story? What ties a reader to a character or a setting or a topic? Defined by the most minute and unique details that can't be replicated? New things happen every day because the world is changing every day. People change. Language, itself, changes. It welcomes innately innovation that can set yourself apart, and this is the core of the nucleus of the center of the point, if you focus on this first.

    In no way is this a missive calling an end to formulas, but writing with them solely in mind can easily lead one to overlook such details that, more than any formula, work towards producing a cohesive and fluid story that any bestseller shares in common with another.
     
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  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Oh yeah, there's no doubt he's an extreme outlier. And, by definition, most aspiring authors will never be outliers. Also, before getting into the rote formula, and having others write under his name, Patterson made a name for himself with what are apparently some decent books (I haven't read them, but fans of his early stuff who dislike his later stuff say this). The advertising background can't hurt, and by the time Patterson got to his current way of writing he'd already successfully branded himself.
     
  20. bluehouse
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    In speaking strictly personally and with regards to a different medium altogether, I hold strongly this perception in music. Not to compare the two industries because they are so very different, but many bands that I feel have changed their style significantly from what led to their respective breakouts in the beginning. Whether or not it's a change for good or bad is up to the individual (critics and fans to be distinctly separated, as another aside; just ask G n' R). Also, I feel that there's a sort of...appeal? Self-gratification? I'm not sure what to call it, but something that makes a person feel good about themselves in rejecting later works by artists as "mainstreamed" and "sold-out". Something about telling a fan they label as a "band-wagoner" that they're not real fans because they didn't start liking the artist(s) at the very onset of their careers.

    I can't speak to ghostwriters as they pertain to specific writers as I simply don't have knowledge. One isn't meant to see the ghost, naturally. However, taking this at its word, this is yet again something different than the topic of the thread. James Patterson, in this light, is closer to a business than a writer. Employing those who can mimic his style so the narrative within and between stories bearing his name remains consistent.

    Metaphorically put, a human body is a collection of structures and organs assembled within a frame (or formula). But those organs and structures are composed of tissue, and that tissue is composed of cells. Without the cells, a body is nothing.

    Outside of the topic, however, I can say I've really enjoyed this discussion. Very quick and quality responses. Hope you all find the success you seek.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
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  21. Chinspinner
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    I think most people in the arts are on a downward spiral, forever harking back to that one spark of innovation and the popularity it bought. They settle into a successful formula and their work becomes a facsimile of an earlier creation, self-parody.
     
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  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's generally best to not cite statistics if you can't back them up. It's not my job to run around and try to figure out what you're talking about.

    Of course, that search would illustrate nothing, because very few novelists earn salaries. I think you're looking at non-novelists, again.

    Most stats I've seen report incomes MUCH lower than the ones you're suggesting. See, for example, http://publishingperspectives.com/2014/01/how-much-do-writers-earn-less-than-you-think/ - based on data compiled by Digital Book World and Writers' Digest. Even lower than that, The Guardian newspaper did a study that found that 54% of "traditionally" published authors and 80% of self-published authors made less than $1K per year for their writing.
     
  23. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    I don’t usually take % numbers as a guide to follow. The truth is, only about 5% in any profession make it to the top. My goal as a writer is to shoot to be in the 5%, or fail 100%. I may lose, but they won’t be able to say I didn’t give it my all. “It’s not the goal, it’s the journey.” A race against ones self.
     
  24. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    My English professors told me two things:

    1 - 'You know how to write.' I can write well and they were confident I'd get published.
    2 - 'Do not expect to make writing a full time job.' It doesn't matter how good you are, it's still a long shot to make enough money to not work.

    Money would be nice, and certainly welcome, but it's not the reason to write. It's just an outcome. To be paid well would be nice and allow more and better writing to emerge. But if I were to choose a career with good money prospects, creative writing would be WAY down the list.

    If you're only writing to make money then you may want to rethink your plan and become a plumber.
     
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  25. GingerCoffee
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    I think people can write to make money. But their writing goals and direction would not be something I want to do. Romance novels, for example, and some of the more risqué stuff like 50 Shades, if you write reasonably well might be an easier market to sell in. Some of the youth markets, might be income earners.

    That's different from wanting that breakthrough best seller. For that it's a lot of skill and a lot of luck. But most of all, it's not something most writers can set a goal for and get there with any kind of certainty.

    I'm writing because I have a story I want to tell. I think that's one category. Another is the writer who loves writing. Not that I don't love it, but I love it because of the story I want to tell. Both these categories overlap significantly in the middle, but have ends of the continuum that may not overlap as much.
     
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