1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
?

Are you a professional or amateur writer?

  1. Professional

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Amateur

    15 vote(s)
    100.0%
  1. The Cuckoo's Nest

    The Cuckoo's Nest Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    22

    Amateur or Professional?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by The Cuckoo's Nest, Jan 18, 2015.

    I'm curious to know how many people here are professional writers. I've set up the poll so that votes are private in case anyone prefers to have their status remain anonymous. If you do want to identify yourself, just leave a reply. I'm an amateur writer; I've a couple of works published in some unknown journals, but I didn't get paid for them. The closest I got to getting paid was when a Japanese newspaper agreed to pay me $400 dollars for 4 columns, but then canceled the deal at the last minute. I had written them one article that they never published and they paid me $100 for it, so I guess I can say, someone has paid me to not publish my work. That always gets a couple of laughs among friends.
     
  2. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Semi-professional here. It's not my main source of income by a long way, but I occasionally get some beer money from it.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    How are you defining the terms? Based on Lemex's post, are we saying that amateurs make NO money, semi-pros make some money but not enough to live on (and which box should semi-pros tick on the survey?) and pros, I guess, have quit their day jobs and are making a living from writing full time?

    Even with those definitions, there will still be some ambiguity - if someone makes enough that they COULD live on their writing earnings, but still works a full-time job, are they pro or semi-pro? etc.
     
  4. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    ^Good point. If I cannot make enough to live on, would I be an amateur? My income is primarily my teaching, but the writing is often an offshoot of that.
     
  5. The Cuckoo's Nest

    The Cuckoo's Nest Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    22
    The poll doesn't seem to be working for me anyway. I'd go with lemex's idea that if you make money from your writing but not enough to survive, than you are semi-pro.
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    And if you make enough that you could survive (like, say, above the poverty line for your area) but still work another job? Semi-pro, still?

    How about if you don't make enough to survive, but write full-time anyway (relying on income from family/social assistance/pension/other)?

    I can probably think of a few other possibilities, as well! There are a lot of different ways to be a writer...
     
  7. Void

    Void Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2014
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    229
    I'm a professional ... I just haven't published anything, or finished anything, or made a single dollar ...
     
    kfmiller, matwoolf, Mckk and 4 others like this.
  8. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,742
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Sweden
    @The Cuckoo's Nest, disable the option "Allow voters to change their votes". That should fix the problem with the poll.

    As for the actual question, I'm definitely an amateur writer. I've got nothing published anywhere and I've never tried to get anything published anywhere. ;)
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,494
    Likes Received:
    5,666
    Location:
    California, US
    I don't know about the semi-pro distinction. There are people with publishing contracts and books on the shelves in Barnes & Noble who don't make enough from writing to use it as their sole source of income, but I think they're still professional writers.
     
    Lemex likes this.
  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    20,478
    Likes Received:
    12,149
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I've disabled the Allow voters to change their votes option. Leaving it checked is what makes the poll look as if you've not voted until it runs to its expiration.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    I can see that. And, honestly, I can see Void's point, too - might have been made as a joke, but I think there's truth to it.

    Is being a "professional" a strictly financial thing, is it based on some level of career success, is it based on a state of mind and a determination to make a career, someday....?
     
  12. Adenosine Triphosphate

    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    Messages:
    943
    Likes Received:
    425
    Location:
    USA
    Amateur. Amateur as crap. Most of the stuff I've actually finished and been reasonably happy with is available on this website. *cough* only three stories *cough*
     
  13. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Location:
    England
    Very skint professional with a second job. :D
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,494
    Likes Received:
    5,666
    Location:
    California, US
    I don't think it is strictly financial. I think there is a certain quality of work in the chosen art, some level of success (though not necessarily sole financial support), and so on.

    For example, I know a guy who has taken to practicing law part time, because he wanted to open a little bar/coffee shop. His law practice has dropped down to a pretty small fraction of what it used to be. But he's still a "professional," in terms of being a lawyer (and in fact he's a very good lawyer).
     
  15. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Location:
    England
    There are too many definitions of writer/author that I really don't think it would be fair to pigeon hole people into two choices, pro or amateur.

    I'm published, I spend more time writing than on my day job, I have to fill out a self assessment detailing my income from writing but I could not survive without the day job.

    So, I'll just stick to "Author"
     
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,494
    Likes Received:
    5,666
    Location:
    California, US
    Yeah, I pay regular taxes on my writing income. Maybe that's a decent gauge :)
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    Don't you have to pay taxes on any income? (I guess there are different rules in different jurisdictions, maybe?)

    I make enough that if I only wrote I'd still be well above the poverty line, but I have a day job and view writing as my hobby. I like my standard of living, and I like having a pension plan, good benefits, etc. And there's a lot more security to my day job than there is to writing.

    So I guess I'm an amateur, or maybe semi-pro?

    Maybe the test is whether writing is your main focus, work-wise. If it's your main thing, then you're a pro. If it's a sideline, you're an amateur?
     
  18. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,442
    Likes Received:
    2,939
    Location:
    Boston
    A professional is someone who's good at something, right? So where does money enter into all of this?
     
  19. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    Different definitions of "professional". For example, Olympic athletes are generally supposed to be amateurs. Not in a "not good at it" sense, but in a "don't make money from it" way.

    ETA: And then there are the "learned professions" - law, medicine, and others - that have special standards in order to qualify for membership. I don't think we have to worry about that definition here...?
     
  20. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Some people around here are going to get really picky and upset about the use of the word 'quality' in this thread. Or the use of the word 'quality' full stop. Friendly reminder from your neighborhood Lemex.
     
    kfmiller likes this.
  21. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Location:
    England
    No necessarily. There is a threshold in the UK where if you earn under certain amount per year (self employed or through a job) you don't have to pay tax. You still have to do a tax form and declare any earnings, but if you're under that threshold, you don't pay tax.
     
  22. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Location:
    England
    Most professionals have some kind of certification to prove they have attained a certain level in a particular field, except when it comes to some of the arts.

    Then, I guess, it's left up to each individual to decide what they are. Like most things about writing, one man's crap is another man's cracker so what you would term professional (in terms of writing) might not be the same as what I would call professional.
     
  23. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,356
    Likes Received:
    7,059
    To add to the confusion, there's the use of the term "pro rates" to describe payment rates from different magazines/periodicals. I guess the idea is that professional writers wouldn't accept anything less than these rates? I'm not sure...
     
  24. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,494
    Likes Received:
    5,666
    Location:
    California, US
    Pro rates can impact, for example, whether you can join professional societies. For the SFWA, I think you need a specified number of pro-rate sales within a specified period of time (for short stories, at least). Their pro-rate either is, or is soon to be, 6 cents per word.
     
  25. The Cuckoo's Nest

    The Cuckoo's Nest Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    22
    I'm easy-going, and admit my choices aren't very representative of the realities of writing. I'll say, you decide for yourself if you are a pro or an amateur, make the choice you feel best represents your personal opinion, and then explain in a response.

    It's interesting to see how serious this topic has become. Please don't think I equate professional with quality. I've seen a lot of professionally written garbage, and some amateurs whose work I've found to be brilliant.
     

Share This Page