Time to read: 7 minutes
It’s another Monday, but not manic, sorry, Susanna Hoffs. I’m just tired AF. By way of author updates, I don’t have too much. A proof job fell into my lap last week, and I started and finished that before working on my own manuscript. I’m 91k into the last book of my rockstar trilogy, and I’m hoping to finish it ASAP. I want to dive into editing them and polishing them up for an August release. The week between books went really well for my other trilogy, so there’s no reason not to do that again if I work hard enough over the summer. It’s crazy how I’m already thinking about a Christmas novel, but we’ll see how much time I have when school starts. My daughter will be in her last year of high school this year, and September is always a little busy as we try to shake off the summer months. I am grateful I write clean first drafts, but my co-worker who read my series and proofed them for typos would like to read the rockstar trilogy before release, so if I take her up on that, I need to make time for it.
I have a book coming out on the 17th, and the first review on Booksprout put my mind at ease. I really wasn’t sure about Fox and Posey’s story, but I was honest in my author note to my reviewers and said as much. I have ARC copies available until it goes into KU on Wednesday, and you can download a copy from Bookfunnel if you’d like. There are eight left, but don’t download one unless you want to read it and leave a review: https://BookHip.com/PPSTKQF
I’ve been trying to shake off some doldrums and with the rain and my girl-stuff flaring up, it’s been difficult. I honestly wasn’t feeling a book launch, and it shows. I need to start Amazon ads to the preorder so they’re up and running when the ebook goes live, and I was going to schedule a promo for Give & Take on either ENT or Fussy Librarian to keep the ball rolling on my books. I haven’t done that either, and they book about a month out, so we’re looking at the middle of June before I can do anything now.
I guess this all kind of feeds into the discussions online lately about writers and their worth. I wrote a blog post about it a while back, which goes to show we’ll always have conversations about things like this. I sound bitter, frantic, almost, and what’s funny is my situation has changed very little. I’m selling more books because of the 1st person POV change, so that’s turning into a good move, but my fiancé and I broke up so I no longer have that “stream of income” I amusingly called it. (I did work for it, so it may be appropriate after all.) The blogpost I wrote in 2020 I could be writing now, except I’ve learned a lot over lockdown and actually put into practice those things as I started releasing new books last year. At any rate, it just goes to show some things will never change, and writers’ pay is one of them.
The conversation this time started over a tweet from an agent who said her agenting was a career and our writing was a passion. Let me dig it up so you can see it.
I honestly understand where she’s coming from (don’t come at me with pitchforks, please), and I often think of something similar myself when I see all the writers querying and complaining about all their rejection emails. Savannah probably could have been a little nicer about it, but agents have bills to pay and they can only pick up what they know will sell. It’s not rocket science. On the flip side, which is where my old blog post comes in, no one pays a writer for all the work that goes into writing a novel. All the months and years that we spend writing, there’s no pay for that, and sometimes, after we find an agent, get that book deal or self-publish, there’s still no pay for that. Certainly not a living wage.
It can be disheartening to keep writing, to keep producing for no little to no gain. And when we complain there’s no money in it, everyone piles on and says you shouldn’t be writing for the money. Which… is what Savannah did. It’s quite the conundrum, especially if you break down all the hours you work on your books for free. I work maybe 20-30 hours a week on my books. I have to if I want to write as quickly as I do. Part time wages compared to what I make full-time at my job would work out to be about 15k a year from just writing. I’ve said before how much easier my life would be if that were a reality. Of course I love it. Of course I love helping my friends publish their books. Of course I love the readership I’m building with my first person books. I don’t know how you can’t be a writer if writing calls to you. How do you shut it off simply because you’re not earning an income?
I listened to the latest Six-Figure Author podcast episode and could really feel Jo’s plight. He revealed he was getting a job for the first time in a long time, and that brought on a lot of emotions for him and the people listening. I doubt I will ever be able to quit some kind of a day job. I need the stability of a paycheck, and I would have to be earning a lot from my books to even think about it, even if my work barely pays me a living wage. If you want to listen to the episode, you can here. He starts talking about that 8:00 minutes into the video.
I guess I don’t know where I’m going with this post, except I can see both sides. There are ways to make your book enticing to agents before you query, just like there are ways to make your book more enticing to readers if you self-publish. Know what’s going on in your genre. Know who your comp authors are. Know what shelf your book is going to be in a bookstore. (It really is amazing how many authors say they wouldn’t know.) Work on your craft. Whenever I see a tweet that says they queried the perfect agent and still got a rejection, I just think the writing isn’t there. It’s a tough industry and you have no idea who’s right. Should you get an editor before you query? I don’t know. How strong is your writing? Should you get one before you self-publish? I don’t know. How strong is your writing? Either way, you have to know the industry. Read Publisher’s Weekly. Read Publisher’s Marketplace if you can afford it. Read Jane Friedman’s The Hot Sheet if you can afford it. Publishing is a business. Learn about the business you’re in. Someone DM’d me and asked me a question because she said I knew more about indie publishing than anyone else she knew. That’s not just from publishing books. That’s from listening to podcasts. Reading blog articles. That’s from listening to talks on YouTube like the 20books50k conference last year in Vegas. That’s from knowing the heavy-hitters in the industry and signing up for their newsletters. Sign up for workshops if you can. Anytime Melanie Harlow speaks, I’m on it. What do you do to stay on top of your industry? When you’re querying, what can you bring to the table? Everyone keeps saying the agent/writer relationship is a partnership. Okay, what’s in your half besides your book?
I don’t understand the helpless mentality online. You are not helpless. Your career is in your hands. You just have to decide how long you want to work for free, because it’s a lot longer than any of us realized it would be.
This is the first year ever that I have sold a book or had page reads every day since January 1st. My craft is better, my brand stronger, and my focus clearer. I didn’t know what I wanted when I first started publishing. I do now. And until I have to be like Jo and cut back to find something else that will pay the bills, I’ll never stop trying.
Hopefully, you don’t either.
Have a great week!
Writing novels is kind of like a 401K. The time you spend writing is like that % of your paycheck that’s going into the black hole of “retirement savings.” Yeah, you’re not making any money right now. But every book you add is a little more compound interest that you can eventually see in the form of royalties. Agents are thinking about what might sell *right now*. That’s fine, but it’s not the right business model for authors. Both business models are valid. Both pay. It’s just the time scales are different.
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Thank you for this reminder!