Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Fuss at Someone Making a Living

Writers scramble to turn a dollar, often settling for change. Yet I witness times when we turn on our own, as if seeing someone else succeed where we fail justifies our behavior.

1. Contests - Many writers think entry fees are signs of unscrupulous behavior, scams in the shadows. Yet entry fees usually enable the contest to exist. Contests open many doors for new, unpublished, or unappreciated writers, not only raising their self-esteem, but also introducing them to publishers, agents and editors who might not otherwise have cared.

2. Consults - As a writer rises in his profession, his time becomes even more valuable. He receives requests for his time, yet many writers will pursue him, seeking his assistance, asking for an edit . . . for free. He must decline, or infringe upon his income-earning hours that put food on his table. Consulting fees allow him to assist others, without eroding his paycheck.

3. Advertising - Newsletters, blogs, and websites usually run ads. Some folks complain about ads, when those ads allow a publication to be free to the public, or at least offered at a reduced rate.

4. Sales - We walk a fine line between hawking our wares like a used-car salesman, and intelligently promoting ourselves. I've had a couple of people complain that I sold products in my own newsletters, and advised I should stick to providing the editorial and markets solo without commercialism, when in fact those ads enable me to continue providing those newsletters.

I've seen writers tear down Stephen King for one book not measuring up to a prior, JA Konrath for going almost all self-published ebooks only after he'd whored himself to a traditional publisher to first make a name for himself, or Janet Evanovich for holding out for more millions for her next three Stephanie Plum mysteries. Personally, I've been scolded for having ads and charging a fee to research upon request. I've been told to give back more to the writing community because I refused to assist for free.

Do not begrudge a writer's fortune and gain. God willing, one day you'll be accomplished, and you don't want people throwing virtual tomatoes at you for working hard and finally earning that freelance life.

Embrace success . . . whether it's yours or someone else's. You want it, and nothing hurts worse than to find a way to earn it and have someone else say you don't deserve it.


Ellie Garratt said...

Well said, Hope!

Annette Lyon said...

Of ALL people out there, to criticize YOU of not helping writers? Good grief! I'm one of surely thousands you've helped with contests, markets, and inspiration.

Debra Stang said...

I sometimes get flack from other writers for providing copy to content mills. It may not be the most glamorous way to make a living, but when the phone isn't ringing off the hook with private clients, it does pay the bills!