Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
This week I’m going to share some truths of the industry sparked by recent emails we have received here at Books & Such.
The first email went something like this:
“Writing is what God is calling me to do, and it’s the only way I’ll be able to support my family. I need you to take a chance on representing me.”
This writer is assuming that even if I am able to sell his or her book that the advance would be enough to live on and to support a family. This is almost never the case. Most established writers work a second job or are supported by the other partner in that writer’s marriage. Advances rarely come at a steady rate, and royalties are not guaranteed.
God may be calling you to write, but it’s unlikely he’s calling you to give up all of your income on the possibility of getting published. So don’t quit your day job!
Yes, sometimes people do get HUGE advances on first novels. Stephenie Meyer’s advance for Twilight, book one, was $750,000. These book deals are the exception to the rule. It’s always okay to hope and dream that you will have success in your writing, but you can’t count on success before it happens for you.
After you get that million dollar advance, feel free to consider quitting your current job, but until then, please don’t assume that financial success in writing is one published book away. (Okay, having that size of an advance might not be the goal, but publishing regularly, having a nice lineup of signed contracts and receiving significant advances are important before you set aside other income sources.)
What would define successful writing for you?
Do you need to be published?
Do you need to win an award?
What is your long-term writing goal?