The Weekender: Oct 10 – 12


It’s Friday evening and time for another analysis of the writing world for everyone out there. I first want to say thanks to everyone who posted their thoughts and comments for the inaugural edition of The Weekender and I’m glad it got everyone thinking. As always, you are welcome to post your thoughts and responses to this entry. It is through an open discussion that I hope everyone can enjoy their stay here at Copious Notes.

This week I want to talk about the economy of writing. We’re hearing so much about how the US financial sector is hurting so bad, but how does that affect a writer? I will preface this post by telling you that I have limited investments and I do not own a house. I am sure most of you are in a different boat.

So the DOW is below 10,000 in volume and we’re losing money left and right. If you are a writer, do you worry? I look at the financial situation going on and attribute it to not just poor judgment by banks and financial institutions but also poor decisions of people taking out loans and lying to themselves. If you write for a living, you may work for yourself. You’re employed by your book advance. Perhaps though you work for the NY Times or the Washington Post that is dependent on people purchasing your product. If people don’t buy the newspaper, you’re out of a job. If you publish a novel and it’s a bad economy, does that mean you need a day job?

Paying the bills is always a constant concern for everyone and I really wonder how published authors got to the point where they were able to say adios to the 9-5 and spend their days at home in front of their computer, typing up the next breakout novel. When is that jump okay to make? Can someone realistically make that jump and not fall behind in life? I also look at it backwards and wonder if there is a time a published author needs to go back to work due to hard times.

It all comes down to money. If your book doesn’t sell, what happens to your advance? I am sure that you also won’t get much of an opportunity to publish another book. The money isn’t there for you to earn. I’m sure freelancing opportunities are out there also, but if you want to write books, is that an option? There are questions abound in this facet of life that intrigue me. Perhaps one day if I make it out there in the book world, I will have answers to my questions. Quitting the day job may be an option if I can ‘make my millions’ but knowing when to make that jump is something that only time and wisdom will bring.

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  1. I’m sorry I didn’t comment earlier. I don’t feel like I’m qualified to answer your questions because I still debate even calling myself a writer. That, and this whole thing is just depressing. I have to believe books will flourish despite the slowing economy, but I just don’t know.

    • ac
    • October 13th, 2008

    “..how published authors got to the point where they were able to say adios to the 9-5”

    – They wanted it bad enough to go for it and didn’t put up financial blocks (such as buying a home, they lived within their means) or personal blocks (getting married and having children)
    – They live in their parent’s basement.
    – They had a lucrative, professional career and didn’t write until later in life. They use their professional experience to crank out books – that eliminates the need for research. An example is a detective who rights crime books.

    Or most likely, they have a spouse who supported them financially.

    I think that’s an easy question to find the answers to. Choose your top fave authors and conduct research. That would actually make a fun post.

    “If your book doesn’t sell, what happens to your advance?”

    The author always keeps her advance.

    “I’m sure freelancing opportunities are out there also, but if you want to write books, is that an option?”

    Why wouldn’t it be an option?

    “If you publish a novel and it’s a bad economy, does that mean you need a day job?”

    Whether it’s a good economy or a bad one, the overwhelming majority of authors need a day job.

    “Can someone realistically make that jump and not fall behind in life? ”

    And that’s the clincher. Isn’t it. Someone who makes the jump doesn’t consider what happens after the fact falling behind on life.

    However, for the rest of us it’s not worth the risk because we don’t want it bad enough. We want material things, a house, blah blah blah.

    • Aaron
    • October 14th, 2008

    Melanie- It’s all good. I agree that we all need to have faith that things will work out okay. I believe every market corrects itself.

    Auria- You make amazing points and clarifications. Thank you!!!

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