Is It Really Worth It? $$$$

I recently had a conversation with someone about all the work that is involved in my being an author. It was a short conversation. This person asked me if it was worth it, meaning was I actually getting rich from my efforts. My reply was that we all put effort into things that we enjoy doing and not because we plan to get rich. In fact, most people I know with a “regular” job aren’t rich. Her reply was, “That’s one way to look at it.”

I think she felt sorry for me, the poor lonely author, slaving away in some tiny room, cut off from the rest of the world.

What I find interesting about being an author is that people often inquire about your book sales, those same people who certainly wouldn’t ask how much money your office job pays per hour. And if you think about it, there’s really no difference. You’re still inquiring about the money someone makes. What many people don’t understand is that authors don’t know about every book sale as it happens. We receive royalty payments two times a year.

Not About the Money.

Life is not about the accumulation of money. Many of us think that when we’re young and our whole purpose revolves around accumulating stuff. As we get older, we begin to see that stuff is something that just weighs us down and there is a huge big difference between a need and a want.

All that aside, I didn’t begin writing with the notion that I would one day retire from my efforts. It began as a means of self-expression, something inside seemed to be calling me to write, to say something. Any money that happens along is an added bonus, seriously.

Needless to say, this person does not see the value in what I do–books, big deal. Pfffff. Not that I expect people to fall all over themselves when I walk into a room, because I don’t. I’m the same person I’d be if I didn’t write. But publishing books is nothing to sneeze at. It’s an accomplishment, something that at the end of the day you can hold in your hands and feel proud of. People who do it, deserve some credit.

This person looks at the effort I put into my writing versus the monetary gains in the end. I don’t drive a fancy car or own a huge big house by the sea, I don’t travel the world. And I’m busy a lot, not only writing, but revising and editing the same story many times over. Sometimes I’m unavailable. Writers need their alone time. There are some who just don’t get that. But writers do find time for the important things in life. For us, writing happens to be one of those things.

So, if I were to define “worth it” it would mean something different for all of us for we are all as individual as the very things we think about and value the most.

Is writing worth it to me–absolutely.

The sun is shining here in Nova Scotia this morning and we’ve been promised a lovely weekend. If you are spending time with your family this weekend, consider yourself blessed.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers out there!

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19 Comments

  1. I am always amazed at how many people ask how many books I have sold? I have no idea. Who counts? I think if I did tell them and then mentioned how much money I make per book, they would be astonished. Writing is a labour of love, as you said, and if you make a bit of money from it, that’s a bonus. Have a fabulous Mother’s Day.xo

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    • It does seem to be a question that people feel they have the right to ask–quite interesting. Seriously, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

      Happy Mother’s Day. ❤

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  2. Very well said. Money and stuff is not the be all end all of life. It’s about following your bliss!

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    • Absolutely, and I feel there are so many people out there who do not do that for whatever the reason. Thanks for visiting my blog, Barbara!

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  3. Your post touched a nerve and prompted a new post of my own. There’s no way to compare different people’s concept of success, and I suppose that’s partly why we’re uncomfortable being asked about ours. I once asked someone if they judged the success of the occupants of homes based on the size, condition and neighbourhood. They laughed, but I was serious.

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  4. Susan White

     /  May 7, 2022

    Right on Laura.I spent the morning at my local market offering up words I have written stories I have imagined and crafted.I sold a seventeen books which will give me a nice bundle of petty cash this week.What was worth more than the money I made was the interaction I had with people and the knowledge I may be able to connect in some small way with the lives they are living through the stories I tell.All very much worth it.

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    • I always loved meeting new readers. Hopefully, some day I’ll be able to get back to doing these things again. So glad you had a good time. ❤

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  5. Julie Dempsey

     /  May 7, 2022

    You summed it up perfectly!!

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  6. I don’t mind talking money. I was raised not to because it was impolite for a woman, but I’ve overcome that. It was the only way I learned other freelance writers were getting paid and getting paid well. Why should I get paid $50 when another author was getting $150 for the same thing? Keeping silent only benefits the employer.

    While I don’t write to get rich (though I dream of it), my work still has value, and I want a fair price for it. But whether I make $1,000 a year from my books or $30,000, to me, it’s worth it because I love it. However, I do like to eat at least once a day and buy a new pair of shoes every four years, so I need money. If writing doesn’t support me (and it doesn’t at this time), I need to do other stuff to ensure my well-being (food, roof, clothing).

    Actually, I do ask people what they get paid per hour. Call it research for life or for my novels. Did you know government speakers who give those little talks on how to find employment can get $100 an hour or more? If you are ever hired to do a speech, ask them what their budget is, then ask for it. Don’t do it for free or $25 an hour when the man beside you doing the same work is getting $100 an hour.

    The problem with women is they won’t ask because they don’t expect it. Men ask, and that is often why they get paid more than us.

    From experience, I can sell a rooster for $5 faster than I can give one away. I’ve tried this experiment several times over the past ten years. People see the value in a $5 rooster, but they think the free rooster is useless, so won’t waste money on fuel to pick it up.

    Money is a fascinating tool.

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    • Interesting. Where I live, taking about money was considered no one’s business. It had nothing to do if you were a woman. It just wasn’t done, especially around people who worked for the same company as everyone’s pay was not the same and that could cause problems among the workers. Many ways to look at things. I’ve done very little freelance work, and my only experience with that was they paid according to the article. It was a flat rate. I didn’t get to set the amount, but, as I said, I’ve only ever written maybe half a dozen articles.

      I can remember back in the seventies when minimum wage was lower for women than men as it was considered that men could do more more work. However, I used to say that men stand around and talk more than women so we are often more productive. 😉

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      • I hadn’t heard about minimum wage being lower for women. Back when I was young, I didn’t ask about money, so I wouldn’t have learned about it. I didn’t ask because as you say, it wasn’t done back then. My first job was in 1984, so maybe the minimum wage thing was sorted out by then. I remember getting something like $3.05 an hour.

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  7. Excellent blog post, Laura.

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  8. I wonder if she would have asked a singer the same thing. Is it worth it… how can we answer that? It’s like saying “Is it worth being a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a human being?” Great post, Lauri. Your timing is timely. LOL. I’ve been thinking about this very thing for the past 3 months.

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  9. We must get together now that I’m (reluctantly) back in NS for a time:) Kids often ask the $ question in school visits, and they’re shocked when I tell them my portion is 5% (picture books) or 10% of cover price, max. I still get excited whenever somebody says they’ve read one of my books, especially when it’s a young reader. I don’t think anybody who does anything creative expects to get rich from it, but it’s all about the process, being engaged in doing something that makes you happy, playing make-believe (to quote you) I suppose.

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    • I’m sure it was hard to tear yourself away from the babies, but I’m glad you were able to spend time with them. Hopefully, they’ll be back to Nova Scotia sometime this summer. For me, it feels like an accomplishment that I feel good about. Would love to see you. I’m starting to get camp fever some days. 🙂

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