Friday, August 20, 2010
The Write Attitude
I’m going to write a book about how to make a business out of writing and I’m going to call it The Write Attitude.
You probably think I’m joking – but I’m not.
The proposal and a chapter is written and I’ve talked to Accent Press about it, as they published Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction. It just hasn’t come to the top of my ‘to do’ list. Yet.
This is because I am what I like to term ‘a working writer’. I’m not suggesting other writers don’t work (as if I would!) but I suppose I’m trying to convey that this what I do. Writing is my living. There is no day job or pension.
So these are some of the things that generate my income. I:
- short stories
- ‘how to’ books
Teach creative writing via distance learning
My major focus is my novels. I’m now with publisher Choc Lit and my current books are All That Mullarkey , Starting Over and the next will be Want to Know a Secret? in November. There are two planned for 2011, one of which is 20,000 words written.
And my major writing focus has ALWAYS been novels … it’s just that I took a long time getting here.My first paid published work was letters to the press. Don’t discount letters as a stream of income! The most I ever earnt this way is £150 for 89 words, which is about £1.68 per word. Extrapolate that into an 85,000-word novel. £148,258.42! Woohee, yes, I’ll have some of that … Maybe one day.
Around the same time I wrote two novels. They were dire. Publishers returned them without comment. When the second one had clunked onto my doormat a few times somebody gave me a ‘how to’ book about writing by the late Nancy Smith and I took to heart one piece of her advice: if you can sell about twenty short stories to national news stand magazines, a publisher of novels may take you more seriously. So I decided I would do that and I took a course, a distance-learning (then called correspondence) course. If I hadn’t earnt my fees via my writing by the end of the course, they promised, they would refund my fees.
But they didn’t refund my fees because a) I had covered my course fees three times over by the time I reached the end and b) they went bust. Whoever they owed money to, it wasn’t me!
And, aside from the actual number, Nancy Smith proved to be right, because I did, eventually, begin to sell novels – but I had sold eighty-seven short stories to national news stand magazines by then and my ‘first’ novel, Uphill All The Way (Transita, ISBN 1905175000) was really my eighth.
I hope I’m not letting out any trade secrets here, but not all novelists earn enough from their novels to live on. As I proved.