Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm A Writer, So Why Am I So Poor???

My husband is going to kill me if he ever reads this post. But since having that happen is as miraculous as the Second Coming, I think I'm pretty damn safe.

Yesterday was a good day. Despite the fact in the past two days not only has one of my editors quit on me again, (I swear it's nothing I'm doing but I have gone through 4 editors at two different publishers), but one of my publishers has decided to pull most of their print books and concentrate mainly on ebooks.

This is not a problem for me really. I found the silver lining there, and actually dig the idea that the print rights will revert to me. I'll be in control of the printing, the cover, the distribution...everything. (I'm kind of a control freak, so this really spoke to my inner alpha bossy-girl). I was mildly disappointed because now I'll have to deal with the bs of printing, but it's not like I haven't looked into it several times over the years when I was pre-published. I just have to refind all the information. Well, enough said on that, I did mention it was a good day. The reason being, I got my very first, official royalty check. It wasn't for a good deal, but it was enough that I could put the money back into use and buy prizes for a contest I ran before going to RT. That was before I went to the bank to cash it.

I think you'll know the rest of the story without me even saying it. But yes, for the first time in 15 years, we were overdrawn on the account. What??!!! Say it isn't so! The rest of the day, I've been scrambling about, transferring money from this account to that account to cover the deficeit, and hoping to God the government hastens the cutting of my tax refund checks. Hubby is so upset...(He swears we were all right) that he had me tell them we are going to close the account. (He wasn't with me, but I called him on the cell phone when I found out.) Well, that's all well and good. We never had trouble with our bank through three different buyouts -or is it four- until the current owner (yes, a major, major bank) bought them, and now we've had nothing but trouble since. Anyhoo...the next two weeks are going to be very interesting. We both just filled up our cars, so we have enough gas. Dave got a few groceries yesterday, so we aren't likely to starve. (I could stand to lose a few pounds anyhow, so this might be good.)

I work very hard for my hard for it honey. (Sorry, couldn't resist) Not only in my full time job, but at writing that having something like this happen when we are so careful with expenses, (hubby is in school full time right now so only working part time), is really a humiliating kick in the teeth.

I had an entire list of things I had to do today, and buy with that check. None of which are going to get bought, because I'm afraid to put anything on my credit card right now....just in case. Things will work out...they always do. I'll get a paycheck next week and hubby gets paid tonight or tomorrow...but it's just knowing that we work so hard and still we're very poor. I have 7 contracts for books and novellas, most of which will not see publication until later 07 and early 08. That's no help for the immediate. My Red Sage titles were advanced, so I won't see any return on them for a long while. I have another ebook coming out in July, but heck...I won't see payment for that until August or Sept.

I need the Lottery Gods to smile on me just once. Even the NJ Cash Five will be appreciated. The thing is...I can't even afford to buy a ticket. Hahahahahhahahahaha.... It's a cruel world.

I have heard the term "struggling writer" but I always thought that meant the road to publication. I didn't think it meant "struggling to pay bills," "struggling to buy food," "struggling to make ends meet."

Thank God I don't have kids. If I did...this would be a whole other nightmare.



Skylar Masey said...


I can sympathize! I'm also one of those people who lives paycheck to paycheck since I provide the larger portion of the household income. I thank God everyday that I have a job (especially in my hometown). But it seems every time things are looking good, something hits to mess up our finances (like the car accident in the mountains).

As for the struggling part as a writer, I'd fall in that category, especially since I'm still straddling the fence on the pub/unpub issue. It didn't help that my book didn't come out on time, and I'd started the website, hosted contests, and given out promo items to advertise. So I got stuck paying out with nothing coming in.

I should've followed my friends advise and paid for everything out of an advance (which I didn't get..ha ha) or earnings from the book. But how can you get people to buy the book when it comes out, if you can't use your own full-time earnings to finance it until you get royalties? Ugh, I hate Cath 22s!

Lynda K. Scott said...

A writer's earnings is precisely why I still have the day job. Sigh. I really would like to quit so I can spend my time writing but...I forgot to marry a wealthy man and settled for love instead :D

Skylar Masey said...

Ditto that Lynda (except for the married part). Also all the writers I know say these days it's almost mandatory for writers to keep their day job.

I'd like to quit my full time job, but would go crazy with the anxiety of paying my bills without a steady income (because royalties don't always come in when you expect them, or so I've heard). I like to have a bit of a safety net, instead of free-falling without a parachute. :0)

Anya said...

I can definitely sympathize! with you. I have been there and its not a good feeling. Hopefully things well get better sooner rather later.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

We've been there too, with kids. Thanks to relentless tax increases we had to refinance our mortgage in the space of about 15 minutes last year or load up the wagon and drive right to the poor house. We manage to get by, but sometimes I don't know how.

I work part time and I write full time, not because I made a ton of money writing, but because I felt I'd never get a writing career off the ground otherwise. I envy people with the energy and the werewithal to do it all, but I can only concentrate on a few things at a time so I took the major gamble that we could live on one salary for a while. The upside is, when you finally do get to the top, you can entertain legions of new writers at conferences with stories of how difficult it was to get there. At least that's what I'm hoping. ;)