Friday, March 22, 2013

Worth It

I had a conversation with my hubs a few nights ago about writer contracts and royalties. I was doing some research and he was wondering about what a writer gets paid. When I told him I thought royalties were around 10% on list price (and if I'm wrong, please let me know), what he said to me was,

It's not worth it.

So I said, but it's not about the money to me.

He went on to argue about how he wasn't talking about the number of copies sold because he knows that isn't usually a whole lot. He was saying that if 10% is all an author gets in the first place, then it's NOT WORTH IT.

My reply: Good thing you're not doing it then.

I've thought about it this entire week. This is the first time I've really felt like an "artist." The money has never mattered to me. I don't write because I expect to make a lot of money. I write because I love it. I don't want to get published for the money. I want to get published so that I can BE a writer. So that other people will read and hopefully love my work like I do. And of course there's that dream of walking by a bookstore and seeing MY BOOK on the shelves.

I'm lucky because I'm not the breadwinner in my house. I don't need to earn a lot of money for us to survive, therefore, writing is a perfectly acceptable career-choice for me. My husband looks at it like a math problem: Calculate the number of hours spent researching/writing/revising/etc and then calculate what you might make per book and... yeah, I'm sure the numbers wouldn't come out all that great. If you put it that way, maybe it's not worth it. But I love to write. I would do it no matter what. I keep doing it, despite the rejections, despite the busy-ness of life, despite the occasional (sometimes more frequent) feelings of suckitude. I will always write because it makes me happy. And for that reason alone, it's WORTH IT.


  1. Totally worth it and great response. I'm right there with you- I write because I want to, it's in my soul. Whether I make money or not, it's still there.

  2. This is so, so true. I think anyone who wants to have a good $$ return on the number of hours they put into writing will be very disappointed and should probably pick another way to earn money.

    I'm with you. I write because it makes me happy and I want to share it to hopefully make someone else happy. Very worth it.

  3. i know exactly how you feel! I've explained this to my husband before as well and he said the exact same thing as yours 'it's not worth it' to which i said 'i don't do it for the money'. And yeah there's lots of sucking parts like querying and rejections and more rejections, but when you love something it doesn't matter.

  4. My husband also thinks that the amount of work and hours we put into our books is never really "paid off" in $$ but luckily he understands that for me, like you, its about doing something we love. Reading this though, 10% does sound very little lol

  5. I read somewhere it's 8-10% of the net is what the author receives, which is roughly 50% of the cover price (discounted books eat into profit even more). I worked in a bookstore and we used to talk about these things all the time with authors. And then, 20% of the author's pay goes to the agent. People seem to forget this part. This is why agents and publishers tell writers NOT to quit their day jobs.

  6. It's like doing the math on having kids: the money and time you put into them, college tuition, all the stuff you sacrifice. Do you expect to get a big payout for that? Yes. But in dollars? Probably not. And yet, many parents go ahead anyway. And some people choose not to (for the record, I"m one of the latter. I enjoy other people's kids, but like that I can give them back when we both turn cranky).

    So for people focused on the financial equation, slip something over your ballpoint pen! No unplanned book babies for you.

  7. Your husband is right - in the monetary sense. It's not worth the time and energy, compensation-wise.

    Then again, we're compensated in so many ways, aren't we? I'm with you - it's totally worth it because it's what we love!

  8. He's right and wrong. It's not about the money. If we wanted a lot of money, we wouldn't be writers. We write because we love to write. :)