Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Don't Expect to Make Six Figures"

Here's the next in my series of posts on Truths and Myths about writing. Each time I post, I'll start with a truth or myth about the writing life, the publishing industry, etc. Hopefully you'll enjoy some of these secrets, tips and tricks if you're thinking about writing as a career or just for fun.

So #6 is "Don't expect to make six figures." What do you think? Is that a truth or a myth?

This is a myth. You can easily make six figures writing. I have several friends who have no problem pulling these kinds of numbers yearly. But here's the rub: you probably won't be writing all stuff that you want to write.

And you probably won't be only a novelist, unless all your books are best-sellers (most of ours aren't).

To make a decent writing income--let alone six figures--most writers become a jack-of-all-trades. We write what we want to write, sure, but then we also write a bunch of stuff we would have never come up with on our own, just to pay the bills or get some extra cash.

I consider myself a novelist and have written a bunch of books, mostly for kids, middle-graders and teens. But the remainder of my time is spent writing magazine articles, marketing pieces for companies, letters, reviews and more. I also find myself speaking at schools or conferences sometimes not only to share things I've learned, but also to help the cash flow. This is the reality of the writing life.

Some people feel they can't write anything outside of their calling or they'll be missing God. But I don't think that's the way to look at it. I think it's just fine to write in a variety of mediums, so you can comfortably afford to do some of the work you know God's called you to do. After all, for me for instance, writing children's material might not pay many bills, but writing marketing pieces does...which affords me the time and comfort I need to write the best children's material I can. Make sense?

What do you think? Do you want to be a writer? What do you see yourself writing and are you open to writing other things along the way?

Until next time--enjoy writing!


Christopher Maselli


Anonymous said...

I believe one can make 6 figures. It is all about marketing. I recently read about a woman who listed the title of her book in a popular publication, and it became a best seller.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the point that it sometimes is a myth; however, I think it is normally neither a myth nor a truth. I think it depends on the situation a person is in. Some extremely good writers have been prosperous in their writings but haven't made six figures. However, some people like Jerry Jenkins have made six-figures.