When I started writing with the aim of being published, I read every article and writing book I could get my hands on. I asked the experts. I took courses. I listened to others. In other words, I did my homework.
I don’t recall any of those experts ever mentioning the cost of being an author. I am talking about finances, by the way. The emotional cost is a whole other post.
No matter how big your publisher is, no matter how many resources they throw at you, at some point, you will be forced to crack open your own wallet and pay for things in support of your writing. I know I underestimated how much it would cost me to promote my books and quite frankly, I’m not sure I could ever have predicted an accurate amount. And it’s okay. You spend money to make money, right? At some point, it begins to pay off.
But here’s the thing. If you’re anything like me, and you have a family or responsibilities of some sort, you will often get stressed about money. It doesn’t even matter if you’re financially comfortable. Money is a huge source of stress. And if you have a bad royalty quarter…or even a few…that stress is compounded. Doing the math isn’t always fun for a writer.
I remember the marriage course my husband and I had to take years ago through our church. The minister told us, for most couples, money is the number one source of stress in a marriage. If you don’t have any money, and don’t have a plan to make some, everything else goes down hill.
Writing is sort of the same. You need a plan and it can’t just be about what your book cover will look like. It has to account for finances.
Here’s another big thing. Your significant other must be on the same plan. You must both drink the Kool-Aid. In other words, it’s really nice when your spouse believes in you and is willing to support you. There will be times when that support involves your finances.
I’m a lucky woman. I have support from my incredible husband. Not every writer has that.
So when you embark on this magical journey of publishing, be realistic with yourself and with your family. As much as writing can seem a lonely pursuit at times, in this sense, it’s very much a group effort. Talking about the costs ahead of time will alleviate much of the stress. If you go in with eyes wide open, it won’t be as much of a shock later.
Only then will cracking open the wallet be exciting, rather than stressful.