The Art is About the Money

Writing samplesIt’s the money, stupid.

I now take a very pragmatic approach to writing and getting paid for doing so.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be as pie-in-the-sky “I just want to be published” as anybody else. I thought my work was perfect, and not in need of editorial tweaking. I thought I was an artist√© (and actually did smoke Camel Lights, have a black turtleneck, and wore a beret… though the last was part of my Army uniform). Not anymore. It’s Yog’s Law all the way for me, baby.

Let me tell you why that changed.

  • I remember thinking about the “art” of writing. It was… oh yes, today. Pursuing money and creating art are not polar opposites (despite the example on Family Guy when Brian writes a bestseller). It is possible to do both.
  • Art does not mean “inaccessible”. It can mean that, but it doesn’t have to. The “highbrow” vs. “lowbrow” distinction is bullshit. There’s good and bad art of both varieties. So can you write an NON-artistic “literary” novel? Absolutely. Can you write an artistic adventure story? Absolutely.
  • Getting paid for your art means that you have that much more freedom to do more of it. Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Whatever amount of your income you can replace with writing, that’s that much more time that you aren’t stuck in a cubicle.
  • Paying markets gets your art in front of more people. Gems among the “for the love” markets are rare. Also, if they’re paying (whether in royalties or up-front money) then they have a business plan – which means they intend to make money by getting as many people to see the work as possible.

But here’s the biggie:

If your work is awesome – which it is – you deserve being paid for it.

As I said in the above, there are different ways for you to get paid. Yog’s Law – money flows toward the author – is key, but how that happens is a different story. In these changing times, make sure you know what you’re getting into. If you don’t, then ask. And if there’s a bit in a contract that you don’t like, question and challenge it.

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