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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mid-Week Rude Awakening: Don't Quit Your Day Job

Yesterday, another author wrote a blog post about the lack of money paid to her by a major publisher. This time, it's Harlequin. You can read her details here.

Ann isn't the first writer to discuss the lack of true monetary reward in publishing. Last year, author Brian Keene chronicled his trials with Dorchester Publishing (aka Leisure Books) on his blog.

I wish I could say this is unusual, but for every JK Rowling and Stephen King paycheck, there are millions of writers who are receiving royalty checks for less than a dollar--if they receive any royalties at all.

We pay a lot out of our own pockets for marketing and promotional items.

Add to the less than stellar paycheck and the additional expenses, the actual amount of monies lost due to the theft of copyrighted material through illegal downloads. (Rowena Cherry, a strong opponent of internet piracy, can guide you through the whys and wherefores like no one else. You can read an interview here.)

We are publishing's version of the 99%, (if you'll forgive the political analogy.) Most of us will never see our books become movies or mini-series on cable. Most of us will never crack the NY Times bestseller list. We give books away for free to entice readers into giving a new author a try. We don't usually see our books in the local store, and if we do, there's one or two copies on a shelf in the back room, past the moat of fire, and beyond the dragon's keep. Hollywood stars are not vying to read the audio version for us. We don't get time on talk shows and rarely see our photos in the paper. We rarely leave the house, except to go to our day jobs or schlep kids from one activity to another.

It's no wonder we're all a little bleary-eyed and addicted to coffee. There aren't enough hours in the day or dimes in the bank.

So why do we do it? It's not for fame or fortune, that's for sure.

We do it because we can't not do it. Most of us have tried to quit writing at one time or another, and most of us find ourselves inexplicably drawn back to the keyboard time and again. Writing is like breathing for us. If we don't do it, we die. Slowly, painfully, and in a very boring fashion.

We do it because every once in a while, something we write touches another human being. Our stories can ease someone else's pain, give a stranger a moment to smile, or just inspire a reader to do something extraordinary.

It's not about the money. Good thing. Because there's very little of that to go around. Writing isn't really a career, it's a calling.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
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