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Writing: We’ll Be Rich Beyond The Dreams of Average!

8 titles in this week's installment of Book Plug Friday.

by
Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin

Bio

January 17, 2014 - 2:30 pm

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Hi.  This is Sarah Hoyt, and I’m a writer.  This, as we all know, means I live in my mansion, attended hand and foot by my devoted staff.  On Wednesday nights, I have poker night with Stephen King. When not doing that, or you know, having my manicure done and my ankles polished, or whatever, I write 200 words a day.  Well, I call it writing.  Really, I just dictate to one of my ten secretaries, between splashes in the pool.

Those of you who know me and have visited can stop choking with laughter now.

What is depicted above is the Hollywood idea of a writer.  No, not a bestseller, but a writer.  Any writer.  (And we’ll mention bestsellers later.)

I remember going with a friend to watch the movie Sliding Doors. My friend was also at the time my best writing buddy (Rebecca Lickiss) and our first novels had just come out within months of each other. As we sat there, the scene where the main character tells her unpublished boyfriend “I know this is only until you sell your novel, and then we’ll be rich!” and I laughed so hard I almost died.  Rebecca was also laughing, so it took us a while to realize that no one else in the theater had even chuckled.  You could hear them thinking in the silence “Well, it is true, right?  Why are the crazy chicks laughing?”

Years later, a friend who was having issues selling had to get a minimum wage job to keep her family in roof and three meals a day.  This was going well until the boss found she had three books published – at which point he called her into his office and asked her if she had got that job for research because, well, she had three (mass market paperbacks) out, so she was a millionaire, right?

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Lately there’s been an awful lot of talk about how much you make as a writer, and I was shocked to find I compare well to the President of SFWA, but even so, I’m making about what a top administrative secretary commands in my area, or perhaps a smidgen more than what an untenured assistant professor at a college would make, teaching a liberal arts course.  Since one or the other are my options for employment and I can write in the warm and commute nine feet from bed to office, I’m willing to trade that for having weekends off.  (Well, yes, I used to speak seven languages, and I could get them back easily, but since English is the lingua franca of the world, translation jobs aren’t as plentiful as you’d think.  Yes, back when I freelanced as a translator I did quite well in technical, scientific and financial translation, but, like writing, it’s a field in which you advance by reputation and recommendation, and I’ve been out of it for 22 years now.)

Part of this is the way that traditional publishing pays, where you can get nominally huge advances but it only pays over years.  (My husband’s first blog post was about this, and it might be worth reading.) Indie opens a pathway to make more money faster, but it’s exponentially more upfront work. In the last year, I saw my income explode from indie, as I put more of my trunk novels up.

Writers often fan themselves with money -- when they're tired of swimming in the stuff. At least writers in movies do.  In real life, not so much!

Writers often fan themselves with money — when they’re tired of swimming in the stuff. At least writers in movies do. In real life, not so much!

BUT I’m very slow at doing that, because I’m trying to fit an indie career around my commitments with Baen. Beyond my debt of gratitude to Baen for bailing me out of a couple of rough spots and for giving me a shot when my career was dead way back when, I also like both forms of writing.  So, indie goes slow and right now accounts for about a tenth of my income, though that should grow this year.

Still, give some consideration to the books below. Maybe you can help some indie writer’s income grow.

Though I very much doubt that it will grow to the point of fictional writers’ money.


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Nocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives)
By Amanda S Green

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.


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The Stars Came Back
By Rolf Nelson

Short blurb: How do you stop a bar fight with… earplugs? You’ll find out in this space-western sci-fi in the Firefly vein. Part military fiction, part mystery, part space-opera, part action-adventure, with everything from Greek and Latin to Talk Like a Pirate day, from swords-and-sandals combat to space-ship combat strategies, from contemplating philosophy, duty, and faith to the simple reality of earning a living and making ends meet as an independent contractor while dealing with corrupt officials and mercenaries. How DO you earn a living when the most important things aboard could get you nuked on sight if anyone knew… especially if you don’t know about them yourself?


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Notes To My Kids: Little Stories About My Grown Up Kids
By Jeffery W. Turner

Jeffery W. Turner turns his attention now to his two children. This book is filled with stories about their childhood lives and experiences. The notes cover things that involve all children: their birth, when they were sick, how they started walking, times with their grandparents, special holiday times, the houses that were home, beloved pets lost, and leaving the nest. If you are a parent with grown up children you will identify with these tales. They tell the story of the lives of two children as seen through the eyes of their father as they grew up. And paint a picture we have lived as parents, one our own children will see when they too have kids one day.


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Forgiving Michael
By Walt Pimbley

“Mikey, what trouble he’s been!” thought Grandma Liu. “Why do we wish for smart children? Mikey’s so smart, he melted the basement and made us all run. Not on purpose, he’s a kindhearted boy. Except when he’s sending dirty pictures to his friends on the Internet and getting my children killed!”

A school project gone wrong. The secret to a doomsday weapon in a teen’s head. Michael’s wanted alive in Moscow, Peking, Tehran. Wanted dead by Tel Aviv! Even Washington’s grown a little peevish with this All-American boy. With sinister spies and comely assassins on the prowl, can Mike’s Christian family find a way to safety?


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Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations
By Michael Z. Williamson

It’s a tough universe out there. A hard-hitting collection of the best fiction of Michael Z. Williamson, creator of the popular Freehold military SF saga, along with a helping of truth-telling nonfiction by a guy who has been there and done that, both at home and abroad.

Duty in the face of danger on a planetary scale. Pride and competence in the face of idiotic clients who hate that that they need your services, and an enemy who wants to make your bad day even worse. These are stories of the warriors and civilians who get things done in extreme situations, whether it’s rescue from a ship broken in space and leaking air and radiation, hard choices by a brigade of mercenary swords in a world of blood and magic, or scramble and response by troops in the Sandbox doing what it takes to make it through another scorching, rocket-filled day.


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Little Red-Hood and the Wolf-Man
By Cedar Sanderson

A short story retelling the classic tale, where little Red Riding Hood carries a shotgun and the Wolf may not be all bad. It is Grandmother, or as she is known in her native Russian, Babushka, who has the biggest secret of them all…


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Take The Star Road
By Peter Grant

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…


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Being Me (BBW Romance)
By Mac Flynn

Mitsy Collins can handle herself with wit, but not with her weight. She’s content in her world of skinny coworkers and fulfilling the needs of her cat, Mr. Perkins, but that all changes when her office floor gets a new boss, Steven Dunner. The rumors of his physique don’t lie and the whole floor is in combat mode to win his attention with his heart as the consolation prize.

Mitsy keeps out of the war, but becomes a casualty when Dunner ignores the bloodshed and takes aim at her. Is his intentions pure? Can Dunner really want her? Will Mr. Perkins be jealous?

Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin write and blog on science, science fiction, self-improvement, culture, and politics for PJ Lifestyle. Send an email to book.plug.friday@gmail.com for submission guidelines for Book Plug Friday, a weekly listing of independently published e-books.
Top Rated Comments   
I had to laugh, last semester as I was chatting with a study group, I mentioned that my second novel was about to come out. One of my (much younger) classmates gaped at me. "Why are you going to school, then?" she asked me. I explained that my goal with writing is to generate retirement income, not to try and live on it now!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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Re: comparing to the President of SFWA. . .

Of COURSE you're better. You write better, plot better, and even LOOK better. . . especially in a green Regency dress. (STILL need brain bleach about that photo of Scalzi in a Regency dress. . . . )

AND, you're one of the few authors I buy in both dead tree and e-book. So have a Starbucks on me, from your massive profits. I **THINK** you can probably get a small coffee, no friils, from them (evil grin)
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The way I've heard it, the only "rich" writer is Stephen King. And maybe a few romance writers who churn out enormous amounts of copy under multiple names.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, heck, I churn out enormous amounts of copy under multiple names. Which is why I make a living. As in enough to keep us in middle class splendor if we lived 100 miles from nowhere. Which -- sigh -- we don't.
Actually J. K. Rowling manages to be rich despite the GB tax system. But yeah, your point is taken.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
"A writer can get rich in America, but he can't make a living." -- James Michener

If memory serves, Roger Zelazny, despite his enormous popularity and many books, had to keep working for the Social Security Administration to the day he died.

Fiction writing is not a field upon which to found dreams of Lamborghinis or hundred-foot yachts.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I felt better -- and worse -- when someone told me "Heinlein ran scared most of his life." (Financially.)
A few of us make a full time living out of this. I mean, I won't knock it. I make as much as I would in a day job. Only I get taxed more, because, apparently, I didn't build that, or something.
But it's the INSECURITY. And the fact when I panic I block. So even though I made decent money last year, I was flat broke when the kid's tuition was due, and then blocked hard. Then I got very ill -- but that's something else.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually Roger was a full-time writer after 1969.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Admittedly, Sarah's in good company, several Baen authors have managed to go full-time. Ringo and Correia come to mind: Kratman doesn't count because he'd already retired. . . .
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had to laugh, last semester as I was chatting with a study group, I mentioned that my second novel was about to come out. One of my (much younger) classmates gaped at me. "Why are you going to school, then?" she asked me. I explained that my goal with writing is to generate retirement income, not to try and live on it now!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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