Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writers and Money

I am back from the American Academy of Religion meeting in Montreal, of which more later, where I also collected a freelance-editing check that I was owed.

When I collected nine days' worth of mail at the post office, I was happy to see that another check that was "in the mail" was in fact in the mail.

It's not always that way, as SF writer John Scalzi makes clear in this blog post about writers and money.

3. Writer pay is generally low and generally inconsistent. And if one writes fiction for some/all of one’s writing output, especially so. I’ve written in detail about writing rates and payment before so it’s not necessary to go into detail again right at the moment. But what it means is that if one is a writer, one does a fair amount of work for not a whole lot of money, and then has to wait for that payment to arrive more or less at the pleasure of the person sending the check. Unfortunately, writers like pretty much everyone else have fixed expenses (mortgage/rent, bills etc), and those people generally do not wait to be paid at the pleasure of the writer; you pay your electric bill regularly or you don’t get electricity.

I am reminded of a writer friend's favorite line: "My retirement plan is a family history of early heart attacks."

So far, however, he has outlived his father.

The only worse idea than writing is getting a PhD in Pagan studies. At least a couple of times a month I hear from someone who wants to do that and who wants advice on which graduate school to choose.

It's cheaper to go to the tattoo shop and have them tattoo "Unemployable in Academia" somewhere on your body.



Anonymous Devon Ellington said...

yeah, it's great when the actual checks show up. I've got a pretty good contract though, that stipulates 20% cumulative late fees. That's cut down the number of late payments ENORMOUSLY.

No matter how much we love what we do, we have to run it like a business. When we respect our work and don't allow disrespect, we get paid fairly and on time.

Of course it took me YEARS to not only figure that out, but figure out ways to implement it!

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Pitch313 said...

Somebody intent on "Pagan Studies" could always get advanced degrees in the history, social sciences, or philosophy of one of another PAGAN culture.

Purely for personal edification and a theme for blogging, of course.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Two pagan titles (most recent still being processed), 1 novel, 4 technical books. Most successful book to date has already been pirated (in Myanmar), and downloaded 1400 times from one site alone for a loss to the publisher of about $80,000. Tell me about it.

8:09 PM  

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