Mark Terry

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Changing Your Life

September 23, 2009
For the longest time, I wanted writing to change my life. What I wanted was a novel-writing career, so I could write fiction full-time and maybe even get rich.

I got a writing career and I do get to write full-time. I ain't rich and may never be.

And yet, I still write fiction. Partly because I can. But I was thinking this morning (yes, while walking Frodo) that a big hit could still change my life.

I know we all want to be Stephen King (really, are you sure you want that kind of fame?) or JK Rowling. But I'd be pretty happy with a good solid fiction-writing career that brought in, oh, $100,000 a year, let's say. (I'd gladly take more, don't worry, I'm not crazy, at least not in that way). (And I know 100G sounds like a lot, but your agent takes 15% and the government takes another bigger chunk and...)

And I imagine you would, too.

Fiction writing may be no more a way to riches and regular income than a lottery ticket. I don't know. I know that when I do write a novel, I do wonder if it'll gain an audience, or get a decent-to-big advance, if we'll get a movie deal, audiobook deal, lots of foreign sales, etc.

Don't you?

C'mon. Be honest. Do you really write a novel with ABSOLUTELY NO CONSIDERATION to how much money it might make? Tell the truth. You want to make a fortune, too, right?


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Well, sure. Every book you have published is kind of like having a lottery ticket. But, as with a lottery ticket, my expectations of winning are not high!

At this point I thin maybe having a bestseller would be more important for the accomplishment aspect (Yay. I win!) than the money.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

And yet, I imagine you and Mary would find a way to spend it. :)

9:55 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I start with an idea and test market it among friends and critters. I now write a pitch line and a query,and then a synopsis, before I draft a word.

I throw it up on the blog, ask critters and friends and seek out people I know who don't read my genre and I ask "Would you read this?"

without that validation. I've got too many novels languishing already. Call me jaded, but I need a little bit of hope to keep working in the darkest hours. :)

10:07 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I'm learning about behavioral theory because of all the dog training we're doing. Apparently, people (and animals) are more motivated with random rewards than steady rewards. No reward, Small reward, medium reward, jackpot (much like a slot machine). So the occasional jackpot, or the expectation of one, is pretty darn motivating compared to just the regular everyday compensation. Something to think about...

11:09 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

I think Sara's on to something. I generally know precisely how much I'm going to make, as well as about how many royalties I'll make over the years. I know I won't hit it big because I'm in a small niche with appeal to a limited market.

I'll let you know when I finally write a lottery ticket, LOL.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, if it works for you. That sounds an awful lot like how movie studies ask for notes and then do focus groups. I'd be afraid it would cut the heart & soul out of my work and become writing-by-committee, but I imagine you eliminate a lot weeds that way.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Spy & Sara,
Spy, Sara's my cousin, the sociology doctoral student, so she might be a little understating where she gets the idea about rewards, but I believe it. When I worked at Ford Hospital it was amazing how excited and/or upset people would get about a year-end bonus that was $100 before taxes.

When I'm having low moments in my writing life, I often say, "I could really use a big hit." That big hit doesn't have to be six-figures (I wish it were), but it means I need something that seems special, financial or otherwise.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Sara's my niece, not cousin. Anyway...

2:16 PM  

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