Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Business of Writing



I read a couple of articles yesterday on the business side of writing that I wanted to share.

Many of us have the dream of being full time writers at some point in our lives. It's why we do what we do. We spend hours, months, years, perfecting our craft, being rejected, and perfecting it some more.

But do we ever think about what to do once we get there?

In this article, writer Jeff Vandermeer discusses some of the pitfalls of being a freelancer, and how to protect yourself for the Bad Times .

One of Jeff's readers references a similar post by one of my favorite writers, John Scalzi, who gives a ton of practical tips on how to manage your money if you plan to be a writer.

What I love about John's advice is that it is in-your-face frankness, which I will always appreciate. My Mama raised me right when it comes to money (don't buy it if you can't pay cash, save everything you can, credit cards aren't magical goodies creaters, etc), but I still learned things from this article. Stash half your money away because you'll have to pay taxes on a quarterly basis, for instance.

What do you guys think about this? Have you given thought to the kind of life you'll lead if you manage to be a full time writer? Are you full time writer and want to share how it's going?

My motto is always "be prepared," so I appreciated this look into a writer's life.

8 comments:

Yunaleska said...

I've thought about it, and realise it is probably going to be more stressful than having a part-time job now and writing when I can. Still, it'll be cool if I reach that dream.

(and yes, I'd stash money away!)

Stephanie said...

I ran a floral business out of my home for several years, so I am no stranger to self employment. I don't know what I'd do without my accountant though....he takes care of our income tax return...no way I'd even think of tackling it on my own!

Rebecca Knight said...

Hooray for accountants! :)

I'm thankful for Excel, for when the future comes knocking... I'm such a geek, but I love spreadsheets.

Sara Tribble said...

Nice post and links! Honestly I don't think I'll be the next NY Times Mad Seller. Would it be awesome-of course but realistic? Probably not. With writing I try to go in with realism. It may take years before I can land an agent. Plus even if I do get an agent it's going to take time for edits and revisions before it's ready to market to a publishing house.

I think some people misread how much money authors get, especially for their first deal. I agree, the whole paying taxes on it was surprising. I would have never guessed when I first starting exploring the writing world.

Rebecca Knight said...

I totally agree on people misunderstanding how much even the *star* writers make. For example, John Scalzi calls out his salary and it was less than most people would imagine for a best selling author.

I think shows like Castle (which I love) show us that most folks assume writers are filthy rich, when most are making very humble wages.

Abby said...

Great info, Becca!

We own our own business, so someday that will make the big bucks :), relieving any pressure to make money with my writing. Then I can write full time, and it will be awesome, of course. :)

And I love Excel spreadsheets too! The only program I've taken a class to learn, and so worth it!

christinefonseca said...

I have to admit, this isn't something I have thought of...but I have experience with freelancing as a consultant, so I think I could figure out the basics...I also am an avid reader of Suzie Orman, and she has done a lot to give me the 411 on financial health.

While I REALLY want to do this full time, I have no plans to leave my day job anytime soon. I actually like it - and it gives me a direct line to my audience, so that is cool.

Sam said...

Battling crankiness. . . .Chocolate is always nice. Or a Meg Cabot book. :)