Friday, March 11, 2016

Poor Author, Rich Author

I came across this article by author Ros Barber. In it she breaks down the meat and potatoes of how much money she has made from her two literary novels. Spoiler Alert, it isn't much.

I knew this. I've been on both sides of the table, watching my own royalty payments come in and notifying my clients of how much they have made. It can be...disheartening.

Like most authors, I dream of making enough to replace a full-time salary. But as well as I'm doing, I'm no where close to those kind of numbers. I'd say, I make enough to replace the salary I had in high school as a part time cashier at McDonald's. It's a glamorous life.

When I see how far away I am from my goal, it can be counter-productive. And that's the last thing any of us need.

So instead, I'm choosing to focus on what my writing has brought me. I'm not making the mortgage payment yet. But here's what being an author has afforded me.

1. Extra stuff for my kids:
Ballet lessons, gymnastics class, summer drama camp. They add up and if we were a traditional single income family those would be luxuries that we couldn't afford. But now we can, and that makes me happy.

2. Special treats:
We don't eat out often, but having that extra moolah means occasionally treating my kids to a happy meal. I can also order the side of guacamole during my bi-weekly writer's group meeting, guilt free.

3. Budget bumps:
We just bought a house and put down a hefty down payment. While my book money didn't cover all of it (HA, not even close), it did contribute. Knowing that the money I made from writing helped us to get into this house makes living here even sweater.

4. Emergencies happen:
Did I mention we just bought a new house? Yeah, we've already had the plumber out here for three different issues...and he's coming back again. We had to buy a new stove AND a dishwasher and there are countless other issues that tend to pop up with a new house. While we haven't had to dip into my author account yet, I can breathe a little easier knowing there is some money there if we need it.

Look, do I wish I was making more money? Yep. And I'm going to keep writing and working on building my brand so that maybe someday I'll be making the money of a full time McD's employee. Until then, I'm going to focus on what being an author has given me instead of what I don't have yet.

Plus, I didn't mention the last thing being an author has afforded me.

5. The indescribable joy of knowing that people I don't know read my book and loved it. Priceless!


  1. Thanks for this informative post. In preparation for the release of my debut novel, I've been doing a great deal of research on this topic. I'm trying to develop a common sense approach to my marketing budget, which I know isn't an exact science. Based on your experience, what is the right amount of money to devote to paying for blog advertisements with key influencers, entering award competitions, paying for reputable reviews and services like Net Galley and Book Bub? My marketing budget is next to nil so I want to spend the precious dollars that I do have allotted as wisely and efficiently as possible. Are awards as important as Net Galley? Does a glowing review trump an ad on the right-hand column of a popular blog? Thanks again.

    1. This is such a tough question, because every book is going to be different. For my debut, the only marketing money I spent was on a 2 month Netgalley spot and a small amount on prizes for my blog tour giveaway. I didn't pay for any blog tours, ads or promoted spots. As a debut, your biggest challenge is exposure, so I would go for what can get your book seen far and wide. I'd say skip the awards, and go for exposure and reviews. That is what is going to be your biggest help right now. I hope that helps!

    2. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such informative posts and respond to my question. I'm going to move forward as you suggested. : )

  2. #5 is definitely priceless. So cool!


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