Thursday, January 29, 2015

a writer talks frankly about money

At the bottom is an important article by Ann Bauer about a writer's finances. There's a chapter in "True to Life," my how-to-write textbook, about money - how incredibly little most of us make writing, and how so many of us are sponsored by our loved ones, or grants, or else take other jobs to pay the rent. I respect Ann Bauer for finally bringing it up publicly.

The problem is that we have J. K. Rowling in view - a madwoman who used her welfare cheque to pay for babysitting so she could sit in a café and write about wizards. Obviously, a lunatic who took an enormous gamble not just with her own future, but with her child's. And yet now, with talent, hard work and, yes, luck, the wealthiest writer in the world.

But a vast percentage of the time, that's not how the story ends. I was just thinking about this, because there was an event at U of T's University College yesterday celebrating U of T teachers who published books last year. There was free food and drink, so a disproportionate number from the creative writing department were there.
My two books were on display, and I was proud. But that's not to say they've made money. Neither of them had a single review in a newspaper. A linguistics professor at the event said to me, "I wish I'd known about your writing book, I needed it while writing mine." And I thought, I wish you'd known about my book too. Almost no one does.

Now I'm going to spend countless hours producing another one, with no guarantee of any more attention or remuneration than the last. Because I'm a gambling lunatic too. In other words, a writer.

Here's her honest article. A recommended reality check.

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