Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Publishing and Money

Second Wednesday is for Indie Author stuffs...

I ran across an article last week that was a fabulous dose of reality about which kind of authors made how much money. Not that money is the be all and end all, but it is nice to know what we are in for...

See here is my thing...

I have a day job. I will HAVE TO have a day job until I make enough writing to make up for NOT having said day job... because my retirement and insurance are really good, this is quite a LOT of writing income I have to make, or I really CAN'T quit... And not just once, but a good guess it will continue in the foreseeable future. That means I really need to be in that LAST, six-figure group to quit the day job. (not my income, but my income plus insurance for my family plus retirement put me very close—close enough that when I start TAXING the money that buys insurance, it would push the need over)

[now I LOVE my dayjob in a lot of ways, I'd just really prefer to do it maybe half time—the content is great, the people are great, the cause is great... but it just ISN'T writing fiction to my heart...]

So I need to keep the income in mind... do I write a little and not worry about it, or do I try to write enough to cross over and be a WRITER?

That's why I'm talking about the money.

See, the OTHER thing about the money (and time and jobs)... When I have so little writing time, I REALLY only have WRITING time... and I have some projects I'd like to commit to as an INDIE publisher... An Indie person needs to be a jack of all trades, but with a JOB, I just don't have time for that—not even to DO it, but REALLY not to LEARN IT. Does that make sense?

I didn't really get it until I started publishing my serial, which I can only do Indie, there being no formal serial mechanism annallat... but there is a LOT of time involved (and money)--covers and editing—I am paying for these, but it means thus far I've lost money. I KNOW this will be worth it—to not have a sub-par product out there, but time and money... time and money... time and money... neither of which I have.

So back to the graph... did you know I am a number nerd by day?

These are all percentages, so it gets a little hard to know what is what in real numbers... I assume there are MANY more aspiring writers than published writers, though self-publishing makes crossing that bridge a lot easier... so N for aspiring is biggest, followed by self... but I have NO CLUE how traditional and hybrid categories compare.

Comes out March 4--my 3rd Cozy
What I KNOW is I fell into the $1-$4,999 category this year... and last year... and the year before that. In 2010 I was the next category up because a three book contract with an advance meant I got a portion (40% of the advance for all three books) at signing. But in 2011 and 2012, I would have fallen in that 'traditional' $1-$4,999 category... this year I became purple... me and my $30 of Indie income *rolls eyes * Actually I've lost money on that so far, because I am paying for covers and editing, but I have hopes now that I am bundling it will get better, and once it is DONE, it will improve even more.

What gives me HOPE though, is that distribution of purple... hybids. That's me.

I sent a book that would be first in a second cozy series to my agent this week. I think it will sell. I'd frankly like to ALWAYS have a traditional series going. It gets me invited places. (is that shallow?) I think breaking out is easier with an icebreaker... and my personality just is NOT charming enough to break out otherwise. I am awkward.

And while hybrids have about 26% of us sitting here where I am ($1-$4,999) the next bump is at the $20K-$40K slot and 14% of us are making over $100K... I can be top 14%!

I will believe forever that publishing route should be a match of goals, genre and personality, but I am SO RELIEVED to see I am not dooming myself going about this sort of willy-nilly as I am... I'd felt very uncommitted...but I'm NOT uncommitted! I am a THING! A HYBRID!


Diana Wilder said...

Hm. That makes me feel a whole lot better, actually. The money part, I mean. And relating to the time issues also.
Good post!
Diana at About Myself By Myself

Natalie Aguirre said...

Can so relate. I'm grateful for my day job and plan to keep it because I think the money is too up and down in writing no matter what way you publish.

Johanna Garth said...

The thing is always a factor. Even though I don't have a day job (aside from writing) I still think of money as a marker in terms of writing success. I think that was the main reason I decided to try the traditional route. I felt like just indie would never enable me to reach the monetary goals where I could say, 'Yes, you've hit the arbitrary success line in your head'. So I'm a hybrid too and I'm guessing more and more authors will follow that hybrid path.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Being a hybrid is the only way to really go. To have name recognition by being formally published garners an author readers willing to gamble on a a self-published novel.

Sadly, I realized I would never be traditionally published. So I rolled the dice with eBooks alone.

So far snake eyes, but if you don't play, you cannot win.

Like you, I have a day job (rare blood courier) that consumes most of my day. I will cross my fingers for you to garner the success you have worked so hard for. :-)

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah it's nice seeing that purple bar doing so well

Liz Blocker said...

That's a great, great graph - as well as a good reminder of the reality of being a writer. I still think it's damn worth it, though, so I say GO FOR IT. Believe in yourself, be positive and yet understand the reality, and get to that 14%. I hope I'll meet you there someday soon :)

Catherine Stine said...

I'm a hybrid author-I've been published y Scholastic and Random House, yet I've also indie published and in February I have a novella coming out with a small publisher. I firmly believe that hybridism makes the most sense.

Andrew Leon said...

I try to just not think about the money.
All I know is that I'm not willing to play that publisher/agent game. Not the way it's traditionally done. The system works backwards.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hybrid seems a good way to go. Keep at it, Hart. It's working for Elizabeth and it will work for you as well.

DeConstruction of the Sekuatean Empire said...

Cheer up! Since the category goes down to $1, you and I are in the same group! Yea! I'm in it for the babes, anyway.

Helena said...

How exciting to see the cover for your next cozy! Reading Keeping Mum will be fun.

You're very smart about how you've got both the traditional and indie going, and now that's pretty much what I'm going to try to do. Indie is exhausting!

Tina said...

I'm a math nerd so you KNOW I loved the graph! I do think that hybrid is the way to go - a combo of the old-school and the age of technology. I keep saying this all over the place, but think about how the music industry has changed, and how YouTube has changed how we learn things, specifically thinking of how The Engineer learned all his aquaponics, and think about how publishing is flowing in the way of technology, with some clinging to tradition, and others willing to step out and do a little of both.
Says the girl with one published story (which was for free because it was for a fundraiser) and a half-finished first draft of a novel...
Tina @ Life is Good

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Hart! I appreciate this post. I just wanted to stop by and say hi, and to let you know that I'm going to be doing a post soon about friends new books ... you have so many and are working so hard.

Keep up the great work, and someday you'll be able to write full time.


Kathy M.

Tonja said...

Thanks for sharing the graph. Sounds like you are on the right track.

Arlee Bird said...

Interesting stats. The sampling size of 5000 is pretty reasonable to account for accuracy.

As with most businesses nowadays, the key to making more money is diversification. Hybrid is the right direction, but there can always be more for the creative thinker.

Tossing It Out