Thursday, July 12, 2012

Warning: Your Life Will Not Drastically Change

Tip of the Day: Looking for a job in editing in the Chicagoland area? Albert Whitman just announced an opening for a children's book acquisitions editor.

A facebook friend's post made me think of this week's topic. In it he said that he was writing a book and that if you (his friends reading this post I assume) aren't there for him now during this initial writing process then you sure as heck better not ring him up when he's published and rich and famous.  

Published and rich and famous. Hmm.

Well, I guess I've got to break the news. Getting published isn't going to change your life. Much. Sure it's fun and exciting and book covers are shiny and all that. But unless someone just bought your book for a million dollars and you're going to be getting the top marketing treatment that only very very few authors ever see, then you're still going to have to cut the grass tomorrow, lug the kids to soccer, and clean the toilets.

I met a debut author at a reception not to long ago and he asked me too-- is my whole life going to change after this? And I told him the truth. Nope, not really.

At the last book club event I did with 4th and 5th graders they asked me questions like, are you a millionaire? Do you live in a mansion? Do paparazzi follow you around everywhere you go? I thought their questions were awfully cute but yeah, it's really not that different than before my first book came out.

I think people hear you're an author and assume you're making Snooki book money but that just isn't the case. The majority of the time advances on books are pretty low-- maybe $10,000 to $30,000 per book. $100,000 if they really want the book. But even if it's the $100k, break that down-- take out agent fees, taxes, and split it up over the years that it takes the book to come out (for me it took almost a year to write and revise the book and then another 2 1/2 years from the date I sold the book until it published) and you're making what your local part-time crossing guard is making. Agent Mandy Hubbard does a brilliant job breaking down how an author gets paid in this 2011 post.

After saying all this, I have to tell you that I DO love being an author. It's the best job I've ever had (and I've tried lots of jobs!). But the reason is because I love writing. I love telling stories. And I think that's the key, loving what you do. If you're looking at being an author because you want to be rich and famous, well maybe try out for a reality show instead because the chances are slim. But if writing makes you happy then stick with it. But don't quit your day job. :-)

Kristina, Miss Author in Action


Kate Fall said...

My kids do this every once in a while. "So once you have a book published, we'll be rich and you can stop writing." And I have to tell them "I can't even begin to tell you how many ways that's wrong."

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Yeah, when I sold my first book, many people asked me if I was going to quit my day job. Now that the second one is out there in the world too, and they see how I'm the same old person living the same old lifestyle (only even busier), they no longer ask.

For most authors, publishing just changes your goals--you have the satisfaction of crossing "publish a book" off your Life List, but then you start adding new goals to the list!

DeenaML said...

Jennifer -- I love that: publishing changes your GOALS, not your life. :)