Archive for October 2nd, 2009

Oct 02 2009

Don’t Quit Your Day Job– Part 302

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

If you’re up for a starkly depressing perspective on how hard it is to start out as a writer, Writing Full Time– A User’s Guide is an excellent resource.  (Also, Robert Weinberg gets major kudos for being a dual novelist/comic book writer– hooah!)  It is depressing, but I think that it’s important to have realistic expectations.  Even if your manuscript survives the 99% rejection rate gauntlet and somehow gets published, you’re only looking at maybe $5000 for a typical first-time novel.  (He focuses on horror, but Tobias Buckell finds that the median advance is about $6000 for an agented first novel and $3500 for a first novel without an agent). 

Now, if you’re one of our readers in the 13-18 range, you’re probably thinking “whoa, that’s way more money than I’ve ever made before!”  Probably true, but when you have to cover your own rent and food and transportation and school loans, you will discover that $5000 is wholly inadequate for at least half a year worth of work.  By comparison, a 22-year-old college graduate  working for the US government starts at a GS-5 (~$35,000 a year and benefits) and moves up to GS-7 after two years.   Also, the government guy doesn’t have to pay an agent 10-15%.  (Indeed, if a government employee started giving agents money, it would probably prompt a federal investigation). 😉   

I don’t have any magic bullets to the problem that authors get paid so little starting out.  However, here are some suggestions. 

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