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Thread: A question for the "real" authors

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed RJHubbard53's Avatar
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    A question for the "real" authors

    There is a lot of good information below in the article posted by CD. However, I have an honest question for many of you "real" authors and/or writers.

    Do you make a living at this?

    I'm new to writing - I don't know the terminology, publication process, methodlogies, etc. but am intrigued following the conversations on this board.

    I'm no dummy; unlike the Gen Y population, I realize that career progress and compensation are dictated by experience, practice, and competence. I don't expect overnight success but am curious about expected earnings in this field.

    How long did it take you to break into this and transition from hobby to career? How much do you typically receive for your short stories when published in anthologies or magazines? If you are skilled enough to get a book deal - in this genre - what's your typical pay? If you're in a dry spell and aren't getting much interest in your stuff, how do you make ends meet?

    Thanks!

    RJ
    It ain't braggin' if you can do it. . .

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    I guess that depends on how you define living. I've met some that claim to support themselves, but now days there are far too few professional markets and plenty of awesome authors to submit to them. So the chances of getting in a pro-market are much like winning the lottery by the odds, although your skill will play heavily into that. A lot of those I see making the most money do the self-publishing thing, but doing that will likely taint you with agents and traditional markets. I would think that most authors aren't making enough money to live off of it unless you see their name listed at a place like this or above. Even then they might be doing some side work. I'm just guessing though as I have yet to get to that point myself.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed RJHubbard53's Avatar
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    thanks for the response, Ken. After following these threads, checking out some website, blogs, etc. I was curious about it. Especially in horror; it's not exactly Oprah Book of the Month material
    It ain't braggin' if you can do it. . .

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    I can say that I am only one year into my career, and have made next to no money as of yet. In fact, when my book comes out this Fall-I will not recieve any royalties until close to Summer of next year-if any books sell. It is a hard business, but you have to realize that the first couple of years are more about getting your name out there and building publishing credit than about raking in the bucks, unless you get VERY LUCKY! I am just thrilled that my publisher has invited me to participate in the World Horror Convention next year!

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    I've treated my wife to McDonald's...and SUPER-SIZED IT!!!!

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozmosis7 View Post
    I've treated my wife to McDonald's...and SUPER-SIZED IT!!!!
    Quit bragging! LOL!

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    I once made $36 for writing an erotic tale about a woman who buys a shark-shaped dildo. To add weight to the adage, sex really does sell. Other than that, I have a couple of royalty checks/cheques (depending on which side of the pond you reside), that might, if I'm lucky, pay for a new pair of socks.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed RJHubbard53's Avatar
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    oh the glamor/glamour!
    It ain't braggin' if you can do it. . .

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Wallwork View Post
    I once made $36 for writing an erotic tale about a woman who buys a shark-shaped dildo.
    LOL! I just literally fell out of my chair.

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    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    It's very tough to make a living at being a "writer". I have one book out and royalties from a few anthologies and have gotten paid enough to make it into the HWA (Horror Writers Association) but it's nowhere near enough to live on. If you can get a couple books in rotation and keep them selling, are able to sell some stories, and even put up some eBooks/eStories that should earn indefinitely, you can make a little bit. Pair that with a teaching gig (I just got my MFA) and maybe editing and you can get by. That or sell 50,000 books. It's funny though. I've been a freelance art director for 15 years, so I make anywhere from $30-75/hr. So when I get my check for $12 or $56 or even $325 for a story or a royalty payment, I kind of laugh. But someday...maybe someday. But it's really hard to do.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Draven Ames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.W. LaSart View Post
    I can say that I am only one year into my career, and have made next to no money as of yet. In fact, when my book comes out this Fall-I will not recieve any royalties until close to Summer of next year-if any books sell. It is a hard business, but you have to realize that the first couple of years are more about getting your name out there and building publishing credit than about raking in the bucks, unless you get VERY LUCKY! I am just thrilled that my publisher has invited me to participate in the World Horror Convention next year!
    Very true to life story. If you are doing it for the money, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Draven Ames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardThomas View Post
    It's very tough to make a living at being a "writer". I have one book out and royalties from a few anthologies and have gotten paid enough to make it into the HWA (Horror Writers Association) but it's nowhere near enough to live on. If you can get a couple books in rotation and keep them selling, are able to sell some stories, and even put up some eBooks/eStories that should earn indefinitely, you can make a little bit. Pair that with a teaching gig (I just got my MFA) and maybe editing and you can get by. That or sell 50,000 books. It's funny though. I've been a freelance art director for 15 years, so I make anywhere from $30-75/hr. So when I get my check for $12 or $56 or even $325 for a story or a royalty payment, I kind of laugh. But someday...maybe someday. But it's really hard to do.
    I've been accepted into the HWA, but I'm still waiting for it to happen. Sad.

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    They have like 5 levels now don't they? Which membership did you guys get?

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    I was able to buy copies of my book for near cost and make my investment back plus buy a new desk chair. That was really my goal, because writing while standing up sucks. And I still have like 20 copies to sell, but I have linked to Amazon instead trying to move up the charts. I hit like 300k on the kindle version for a while. My first quarterly check was laughable, but as has been stated, it isn't all about the money all the time. You have to take your licks getting to the center. ah - 1.....2....

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Draven Ames's Avatar
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    I don't remember the level, but not very high yet. But it will go up, I'm sure. I've also got a movie in submissions for the Nicholls Fellowship. That should be interesting. 6500+ entries.

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draven Ames View Post
    Very true to life story. If you are doing it for the money, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
    Oh, I'm in it for the money LOL_but I don't have to be a bestseller to get by. My beloved just finished his degree and when he gets a better job, interview tomorrow, I won't need to make much to stay at home and write. I only bartend 3 nights a week as it is.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed RJHubbard53's Avatar
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    well, luckily i am a trophy husband. My wife works damn hard; I work but not as hard so have some extra time. i've never expected it to be a career; more of an accomplishment. thanks for all the answers; you're all very honest!
    It ain't braggin' if you can do it. . .

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Sure, maybe we will meet up in OC sometime...only..you're buying the McD's and I expect the supersize!!!

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Oh and McD's is code for dirty martini's, hold the vermouth. :P

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    Well I will make the martini's I guess-dirty or otherwise! I am the professional...bartender that is!

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