I love my job.
Today the weather is perfect. Sunny, clear blue sky with white puffy clouds. The dewpoint is thankfully low, meaning almost no humidity and it’s a balmy 72 degrees — a great relief from the 100+ temperatures from this Summer of Hell.
The windows are open, the breeze is blowing through the house and I’m working on articles today; tonight I’ll move on to editing. Foster the People are singing on my garage-sale stereo, procured for a mere $2. Life is good.
So, what’s the burr in my panties today? Because you know there has to be one. Well, I have to say it’s not entirely my fault — there were conversations, and then I read my friend Patti Larsen’s post and my irritation runneth over. And I just have to make some pertinent points:
1. Publishing a book doesn’t mean you are suddenly rolling in the money. Especially if you self-publish. Bitch, please. Saying something like that just highlights your ignorance of how the writing business actually works. Like Patti says (and it’s been my mantra for years) this is a MARATHON, not a SPRINT. Meaning, you might earn some decent cash over the span of months or years, but you don’t publish and take a wheelbarrow to the bank the next day. I wish.
2. People don’t take into consideration the fact that successful writers (notice the distinction, okay? Don’t make me point it out again) have put in thousands of hours learning their craft, practicing their skills and falling flat on their ass. Hitting it big right out of the gate is rare and you will probably have a better chance of being hit by lightning. Seriously. Not that it doesn’t happen, but the stars have to be aligned just right. The vast majority of successful writers have worked hard to get where they are, and work hard to stay there. They’ve taken second jobs, worked ungodly hours, made time at five am to throw words at the paper and hoping they stick while juggling a full-time job, family and personal relationships.
3. In addition to this, successful writers have also invested in their BUSINESS. That’s right, you heard me. Writing for a living is a BUSINESS. Oh, there’s art and skill and talent, of course — but if you don’t treat your writing career as a business, you’re not going to make it. This means you are going to have to make some sacrifices along the way. Equipment, books, workshops, conferences, membership to professional organizations, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s editing, book covers, formatting, ARCS…so much more. If you’re not willing to invest in your business, in improving your skills as much as you can, you’re making this ten times more difficult for yourself. Don’t believe me? Fine. I’m the one making a living as a writer. How about you?
4. As far as asking me how much money I make or how many books I’ve sold, my advice is…DON’T. Don’t ask me or any other writer that kind of question, because it’s rude, invasive, and none of your fucking business. I would never ask YOU such a personal question, no matter what your profession is. How would you feel if someone asked you how much you have in your bank account? My kids don’t even know this. My boyfriend doesn’t know. And I don’t know this about them. It’s none of my business. No one but ME knows my financial status, it’s classified and unless you have the decoder ring and the password, you aren’t gonna know either. I’m the one that pays my bills. I’m the only one privy to that info. It blows my mind that just because you’re a writer, people think they have the right to stick their nose right in the middle of your personal business. So don’t be a rude fucktard.
In conclusion, mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.