I started writing twenty years ago for numerous reasons. Like most writers, I’m compelled to write. I have to get those characters and their stories on paper before my head explodes. I want to share something of myself with other avid readers. I want to make them laugh, cry, and to care about my characters as much as I do. Obvious reasons, right? What about money?
Ok, I’ll be honest. I avoided this issue for years because it’s just not something we’re supposed to talk about, right? But recently something grabbed my attention and I want to know what other writers think. I’ve seen one or two interesting lists circulating among the loops that show average advances, royalties, and earn-outs from various publishers based on reports from few or many authors.
Some of the earn-out figures surprised me and immediately brought a question to mind. How important is/was money in your first sale? Personally, I would like to move to PAN status when I make that first sale. This step is very important to me. However, some average earn-outs wouldn’t even put me on the map for PAN, which requires an advance and/or royalties of $1,000 or more.
So I thought about that. Imagine you get that wonderful, long-awaited call, the editor is very excited about your work, and he/she is easily the nicest person you’ve met in the last ten years, yet there’s one, tiny glitch. You won’t be receiving an advance and your average earn-out will be less (possibly much less) than enough to make PAN. What would you do in this situation? Is money important to you or is getting your work out there for others to read and enjoy the most important highlight for you in this writing thing we do?