Writing to Riches

Recently, during a discussion about my book, the subject of royalties and book costs came up. My friend looked taken aback when I told them how much I earn from a sale. They thought that after all my effort and hard work I should earn a lot more than that, but I only smiled politely an assured her that it doesn’t bother me too much.

That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Really, when it comes down to it, one has to decide why they are writing. Is it for the sake of writing alone? Or are they doing it to earn some money? Is it both?

Personally, I don’t really care much about the money. I already have a full-time job, so anything I earn from my novels is just pocket money. I haven’t even cashed in on any of my royalties yet! I’m in no immediate need for them, so I’m perfectly happy letting them build up until I can collect a decent sum eventually. ;) Sure it would be nice to live off royalty money and never have to work again, but for the moment I’m just happy writing.

I like to write. It’s something I need to. I always have a million ideas in my head and I have to let them out somehow. First and foremost I write for myself, as a hobby, a pass time, an indulgence. I also write to be read. Nothing makes me happier than when I receive a compliment for one of my stories. No amount of money would give me the same pleasure a glowing review does. In the long shot, a review will always be there for you, but you’ll quickly run out of money.

Yes, sparkles! Don’t tell me your eyes don’t light up like a kid’s eyes on Christmas morning when you receive a good review!

Honestly I feel kinda miffed when I encounter someone who thinks it’s useless to write if it don’t bring you any riches, or those who write with the purpose of earning money. I’m also annoyed by those celebrities who seem anything but the bookish type (Example: Snooki and the Kardashian sisters) and yet write a book and gain a lot of money. That is, if they even wrote those books to begin with; for all we know they could’ve hired ghost writers. Even if they did write those books, how do we know that their editors didn’t just rewrite the whole thing?

An actual line from A Shore Thing by Snooki:

“But we’re hot girls,” Gia pointed out. “We don’t need to pay for anything.”

I mean really? As for the Kardashian’s novel, from what I’ve seen from the Amazon preview, it is filled to the brink with ridiculousness and bracketed explanations, that you don’t even know where the actual story is. It bugs me to think that these people’s books earned a lot of money and fame when there are thousands of writers who deserve it a lot more.

In an ideal world, people would write for pleasure and royalties would be a way of showing support to the writer’s art, but unfortunately, that is far from the case.

Why do you write? Were you hoping to become rich when you started your writing journey? Or did you just want to get your work out there?

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35 thoughts on “Writing to Riches

  1. mlfables says:

    Why do you write? Were you hoping to become rich when you started your writing journey? Or did you just want to get your work out there?

    I just want to be read. That is why, after reading about the epublishing revolution, I got back into writing again.

    Its not about the money for me, all I want is for my work to get out there. That is a great intrinsic motivator for me, (before, if you wanted to be read seriously by anyone, you had no real choice but to go through the regular publishing method).

    • The epublishing revolution is great for us writers who may never get a publishing deal from traditional authors, and seeing as how competitive the market keeps getting, it feels like the most ideal solution. =]
      Thank you for your comment!

    • kimolgren says:

      One day I ran out of reading material, at least stuff that I wanted to read. A voice in my head told me that if I was so disappointed in my choices maybe I should write my own. As an avid and voracious reader I had to admit that the voice had a point. Now I’m working on two novels, and a nonfiction book, blogging, participating in NaNoWrMo, and reading as voraciously as before. However, I won’t lie, I hope that someday I will be able to make at least a modest living at writing because I’d sure love to do it full time!

      • That’s a great reason to start writing! =] I too felt like I needed to write the stories I wanted to read.
        I understand what you mean though, and I don’t think it’s wrong to aspire to do so as long as one doesn’t forget the reason they started writing in the first place!

  2. I write because I have something to say. I write because there’s always an idea that needs to be shared. I write because I enjoy it. But if I am being honest I also have a secret hope that if my story is interesting and well done that I will be a break out al novelist and make a lot of money thus funding my writing career long term. ~Gail

  3. I like what T.W. said – the reasons are elusive and clear as mud–if you are a journalist, as I am, you write because it is a way to have your passion make money — I have no other way of making money–and starving for your art is not a pretty thing

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t want you starving either! I suppose if writing is the only profession one has, they should use it to earn money, but in my post I was mostly referring to those who merely treat writing as a way to generate extra income. That’s a bit offending to the rest of us who really put our all into it. =[

  4. I write because I love doing it, and you’re right – I’m a sucker for a review. Even not-so-nice ones. Just knowing someone has read my work and taken the time to even critique it makes me happy. I would love to one day be able to live off sales of my books, but more because it would give me more time to write and do what I love. In the meantime, I’m happy just knowing that, on Fictionpress at least, my stuff is being read and enjoyed.

    • Agreed! At least when they do that, you know that one extra person out there recognizes your name.
      And you know, I was thinking, those of us who’ve published on FictionPress and Fanfiction.Net are more likely to be okay with not making money off writing, because we’ve been sharing our stories with the public for free all along.

      • wonderinggrace says:

        Very true. My mum sometimes checks it out, and she always goes “Why do you give it away for free!” My response is usually “Read the reviews. That’s why.” And, actually, I started my online writing with FanFiction, and was on FictionPress almost as soon as they launched it (though my stuff on there was rubbish at the time, left the site and joined again a few years ago), so I owe a lot of my dedication to writing to those two sites.

        Even if I did make millions from writings, I’d most likely still post some stuff – short stories and that – on FictionPress, or at least online for free. Can’t neglect the fans :)

        • Reviews on Fanfiction and FictionPress always made my day. I don’t write fanfics anymore, but when I do receive a review for one of them, I feel very happy! And I’m the same way – if it weren’t for those two sites I wouldn’t have been so dedicated.
          Also that’s nice of you. Keeps one grounded, I imagine. =]

  5. I write because I have to. There has to be an outlet for all the strange arcane and largely useless stuff my brain comes up with. I think if I didn’t, my brain would get full up of the wrong things (or at very least, the things that make it hard for me to do the job that brings the money in) and I would just end up stymied.

    If other people like it, I like it far more. But I’ve never made anything monetary out of my writing yet.

    • Hmm. So I guess to you writing is a sort of Penseive (like the one from Harry Potter)? The way you put it, it sure sounds like it!
      Praise really is the greatest payment, trust me on that. =]

  6. I write because I can’t not write ;) I get so many ideas in my head scrambling over one another and I’ve got to get it out there. I’ve had some excellent reviews lately (and I won the YWO book of the year award – which surprised me no end) and I think the appreciation from readers is the icing on the cake.

    I have a bit of a laugh when people say they’re going to write a best seller and retire – sure, go ahead, it’s not as easy as it sounds ;)

    • Yes! And you know, to me it seems that writing because you just can’t avoid it produces the best results. If someone’s writing just to earn money, their story falls flat and doesn’t have much heart.
      Haha, yeaaah. There’s a lot more to it than just producing a story. xD

  7. I write because I can. :-P

    It would be nice to make a living out of it, but over the course of my writing career, I’ve only made enough here and there to set aside for something extra I’d like to buy. I don’t actually go looking for paid writing gigs- I’ve just had people approach me for projects through word of mouth.

    Like you, I have a day job that pays the bills. I just enjoy writing and it is something I do for my own personal development and growth.

    P.S. I just signed up for NaNoWriMo today.

    • Best reason to write! ;)
      Apart from novels, I don’t engage in writing projects either. The last thing I want is for it to start feeling like work instead of something I enjoy!
      And you should add me! Or I’ll add you. What’s your username? =D

      • Nicole says:

        I kept my username as NMNPHX – make it easy for people on WP to find me. I didn’t spend too much time on the website, but I couldn’t figure out how to add buddies yet. I’ll figure it out eventually – but yes do add me if you can!

  8. I write because I love telling stories, and I hope people will like the stories I think up. But to be honest, I’m a 22-year-old guy. Most of my friends don’t really understand my real reasons for doing it, so when I explain it to them, I say it’s for the money. It’s just easier than trying to get them to understand the truth!

  9. ” In the long shot, a review will always be there for you, but you’ll quickly run out of money.” I love that. You’re so right. Although I do daydream about being able – far into the future – to live from writing alone. I mean, I’m that expensive, really, especially if I live on a beach somewhere…

    • Thank you – I’m glad you do! =D And I suppose that idea does have a certain appeal to it. I just worry that writing would start feeling like a chore instead of something I enjoy. =[

      • Well, that would be up to you, wouldn’t it? To keep the writing-love burning, even after you’ve been with writing for years and years and know all its flaws and faults – you’d probably still love it, just in a different way. ;)

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