Mark Terry

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This Pen For Hire

January 8, 2009
Okay, maybe not THIS PEN. Maybe this computer keyboard.

Anyway, despite Erica Orloff having dubbed me "the genius that is..." I'm afraid today I'm going to confess to being crass and money-fixated. Yes, and as Stephen King said when he wrote those words, some of you are also calling me bad names.

I write for a living. I draw the line at child pornography and ransom notes (and Republican Party communications--Puff the Magic Negro will never be written by me), but aside from that, I'm pretty willing to write whatever people pay me to. Not much art about that. I'm working on an couple white papers, will have an issue of a technical journal to organize in the next couple weeks, and I'm putting together a large directory--sort of a phone book--for one of my clients. I've also written physician bios, book reviews, newspaper feature articles, short stories, press releases, novels, market research and market survey reports, technical materials, and done database work. Even a poem or two. I would be glad to write technical manuals and if I had the expertise and opportunity, I'd jump into working on INDs and the like for pharmaceutical companies.

Because, unless you're very lucky, that's what you do to write for a living. I like writing some of it better than others. Generally speaking, how much I like cashing the checks varies only by the size of the check. (Need I clarify? The bigger the check, the more I like cashing it. But you knew that, right?)

I plan to continue writing for a living for the next 25 years or so, maybe longer. That means, unless I get quite lucky with a book or film option, that I'm going to have to continue to write a lot of different things in order to pay the bills and put food on the table.

In fact, it's the price I'm going to probably have to pay to have a commute that is a dozen steps to my office, that allows me to go to the gym in the morning for an hour or so, to pick up my son at school in the middle of the afternoon, and to generally wear jeans and sweatshirts and slippers in the winter and shorts and t-shirts and bare feet in the summer.

And trust me, it's not too high a price.

Mark Terry


Blogger LurkerMonkey said...

A man after my own heart! I've even written for right-wing magazines on occasion. But when business is bad, and somebody offers almost a buck a word, what're you gonna do?

I think the only people who will fault you for this attitude are those who don't buy food with Word Money.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I have ghosted for some real jackasses. Some nice guys, too. But I make my peace with it when I have Demon Baby in my lap as I take phone calls.

I've been able to be home, with no childcare help, for four kids, and still write 20 books plus my freelance gigs for the last 10 years. I'm cool with it. Because Word Money doesn't exist,


P.S. I still can call you Genius. ;-)

8:17 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

LOL, I'm glad I hooked you two up! :-)

Yeah, I've been realizing how good I have it where I'm at, whether it's cool or not. It may not be the big bucks some get, but it sure is a better deal than I see anywhere else, niche-wise. I get to pretty much write whatever I want (or at least, they pretty much like everything I write so far), and it's fun.

If I don't find a book for NY this year, I'm thinking of trying the same setup for straight erotica or romance. I'd just like to see e-authors get paid better, and I can see how it's been done successfully with consistent subscriber income, serial payment to authors instead of an advance, and then higher royalties. The only thing that holds me back is the fear I wouldn't have time to write.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

If you have found a way to get paid for a poem then, as Erica says, you are truly a genius. However, I'll bet you didn't like cashing that check very much.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, yeah, I think I got a discount on the book the poem appeared in.

Lurker & Erica
-Word Money. Talk about eating your words!

--since I haven't read any of your pseudonym's work I can't say for sure, but I have wondered why you just didn't expand on that and go for a big publisher. Aren't there erotic romances out there?

1:22 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

My stuff truly doesn't fit into the erotic market. I really wish it did! I am the only erotic writer on Earth who can't write a sex scene, let alone twenty and thirty page ones.

I've been looking at my writing the past year, and I think I am odd. I haven't a clue what I'm writing. I probably need to research the fantasy markets.

2:35 PM  
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