Archives: January 2015

Talking Money

by Amber Keyser
Published on: January 29, 2015
Categories: Business of Writing
Comments: No Comments

There has been an interesting discussion on the interwebs lately about how much authors make and especially, what it means when a writer says that he or she “writes full time.” This implies that all of us who “write full time” are also making enough money to support our families on writing money. In fact, many of us (like me) can write full time because our awesome spouses have jobs that include health insurance and 401k and reliable income all that good stuff. (See the Salon article that spawned the talk here.) This is the first year I have made a non-negligable income, but it is not yet enough to support us. Many working writers–i.e. those making money–say that it takes between five and ten years of steady sales plus the slowly accumulating royalty stream to either justify quitting their day jobs or getting their spouse off the hook.

There has been a call for transparency and honesty among writers about money. Many an innocent soul has been sucked into the allure of becoming an overnight millionaire a la Fifty Shades. Everyone’s Great Aunt Hilda thinks that as soon as we sell a book it means we are rich, rich, rich. And many more of us are thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Am I the only one with multi-book deals who is still eating ramen noodles every night?”

So what do the economics of writing really look like? The 2015 Author Survey by Digital Book World sheds some fascinating light on the money issue.

2015 Author Income copy

 

For traditional book deals, 65% of all authors are making less than $10,000 a year. For indie authors (supposedly the holy grail of money printing), 75% are making less than $10,000. In general, authors who can work both sides–indie and trad–the so-called hybrid authors are doing the best. 50% of them are making more than $10,000 a year. (I’ll argue that this is because well-known, traditionally published authors move to indie publishing where they can make more profit and take their fan base with them.)

As for what to tell Great Aunt Hilda, reaching the $100,000+ mark is accomplished by very few authors–about 7% of traditional authors, 6% of indie authors, and about 84% of hybrid authors (see above).

So thems the stats… Does knowing them change anything for you?

 

Taking a Chapter Break

by Addie Boswell
Published on: January 26, 2015
Tags:No Tags
Comments: No Comments
Shelves in progress.

Shelves in progress.

Only waiting for the window seat.

Only waiting for the window seat.

This fall, I built a wall-to-wall shelving unit for my office/studio. Complete with power tools, pocket-hole joints, european hinges, doors, drawers, knobs, and lots of sawdust. For a couple of months, the shelves were my obsession. I can’t tell you how much I loved building those shelves– measuring the space, planning and drawing the dimensions, sawing, drilling, sanding, painting. For another Scriva, it was reupholstering her kitchen chairs. For you it may be organizing your pantry or planting a garden bed. Whatever your current alternate dream job is, you relish the joy of tangible goals, visible progress, and a purposeful and absolute outcome.

In opposition, of course, to the everyday business of writing books.

A work-in-progress is amobea-like. Gelatinous. Unending. Writing a novel is like navigating infinite space, corralling small children, filing the contents of a garbage dump. How do we progress in the face of such an aim? Which leads me to Chapter Breaks: Self-imposed, strategic (or sometimes arbitrary) markers of progression. Places for the story to take a breath, the page to turn, the reader to begin again. From Writer’s Digest “An old-fashioned cliffhanger is not required (though they still work), but tension of some kind is essential. End not where the action lulls but where it is the most dynamic.”

We need chapter breaks in our books and we need chapter breaks in our writing: self-imposed, strategic (or sometimes arbitrary) markers of progression. Five thousand words. A printed first draft. A contest submission. A conference to attend. A vacation. A stay-cation. A pedicure. A set of shelves. These little deadlines are lifelines: not just how we get the work done, but how we keep our sanity.

Some Yoga/Writing Principles

by Elizabeth Rusch
Published on: January 20, 2015
Categories: Challenges, Inspiration
Comments: No Comments

The new year is a time to take stock and a time to try to do things differently than we have before. When life gives us a lesson, we can respond as we always do –and then life will give us that same lesson over and over again. But what if life gives us a lesson and instead of responding the same way we always do, we respond differently? Perhaps life will be done giving us that lesson and we can move on to something else.

Take a rejection letter, or a harsh critique, or a writing project gone south for some reason out of our control. What if, instead of responding with our same old anger, frustration, and depression we respond with genuine gratitude.

I have found this is EXTREMELY hard to do. Though I can’t do it fully yet, I have discovered some principals that help me head in that direction. These are yogic principles that I try to adapt to my writing life. They are drawn from Rolf Gates’ Meditations from the Mat. I hope you find them helpful, inspiring, or at least intriguing:

“We already have everything we need.”

“The surest way to get what you want is to let go of wanting.”

“What is required is a radical, absolute, living trust in the universe.”

“Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and vocabulary.”

“Pride and ambition will get you hurt; humility will get you well.”

“There is wisdom within us that is more powerful than our despair.”

“Make a commitment to focus on the nature of our efforts and not the nature the result.”

It’s at least worth a try!

ScrivaLiz

The Wonder Cupboard of Cora Goss-Grubbs, an occasional series

by Amber Keyser
Published on: January 12, 2015
Categories: Creativity
Comments: No Comments

Creativity–it’s the core of our process as writers and artists. The raw materials for the creative process are gathered in every corner of our lives. Memory, images, experiences, the work of other artists, dreams… The brilliant William Gibson said that he had a kind of dumpster attached to the back of his head. He through all that raw material in there and after it had been tossed around in the mess, what came out were ideas, ideas, ideas.

Gibson had a dumpster. The Mudflat Heathens have a Wonder Cupboard (thanks to Andrew Karre’s inspiration). In this occasional series, we share its contents, the raw materials from which we work. Let me present Cora Goss-Grubbs.

 

The Wonder Cupboard of Cora Goss-Grubbs

Cora’s wonder cupboard includes Eucalyptus trees, the Pacific Ocean, long seaside drives (feet out the window, ocean breeze wafting through), Santa Cruz (CA), the unintentional killer, adolescent trauma, the Sex Pistols, the Thompson Twins, car sex, nostalgic romance, drag queens, Swallowing Stones (Joyce McDonald), Magic Words (a short story by Jill McCorkle), and this quote—don’t know the author—“Hard work in the service of your dream is deliverance. It delivers you from meaningless, and into the hands of your highest abilities.”

 

Cora Goss-Grubbs writes young adult novels, short stories, poetry and essays. Her essays can be found in She’s Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back by Tightrope Books; Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women; and online at Literary Mama. Her poetry has been published in Here, There and Everywhere; Pontoon 10, an anthology of Washington state poets; and online at The Far Field, the Washington state Poet Laureate’s website.

 

 

Rest, Reflect, and Wait Now. Revise Later.

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: January 4, 2015
Comments: No Comments

Heron-crop1As the Scriva who is the first to offer a post here for 2015, I suppose it would make sense to talk about new beginnings and resolutions. If you’re looking for that, here’s a link to a thoughtful post by Addie several years back. Thanks, Addie.

This post of mine, however, is about ending a project on January 1st, namely the first complete draft of my next book. A writer’s calendar is what it is, so now instead of gearing up to revise 70,000 words, in keeping with that New Year’s urge, I’m giving the muse a rest.

Am I exhausted? No, not really, In fact, my first thought is to go back to chapter one and start everything all over again right away. If I were on a tight deadline, that’s what I’d have to do, and that’s what I know other Scrivas are facing. But I’m lucky this year. I can afford to give myself a vacation from my manuscript, an emptying out of preconceived notions about characters and narrative. I will rest in still waters. Time away from text provides the distance that can bring a fresh perspective. I will wait to let the story “breathe.”

Revision, I remind myself, traces its origins to the Latin verb revidere, to see again, or to look at anew. It’s the “anew” part I’m aiming for as I rest, reflect, and wait. In the meanwhile, I wish you a year of your best writing ever!

page 1 of 1

Welcome , December 17, 2017