Tuesday 25 September 2012

Being an Income-Producing Writer

So many people tell me they ‘want to be a writer’. But not so many people put in the time and effort. I have been making a living as a children’s author and freelance writer for about 20 years now. And so does my husband, children’s author, Bill Condon (www.enterprisingwords.com). We live well. But we also put in the hard slog, sitting for many hours most weeks at our keyboards. Today I started writing about 6 am, and except for some breaks — coffee, lunch, emails — I’ve been writing until now 4 pm when I have exhausted my writing brain. Now I will read a while and go for a walk, start again tomorrow morning.

I always say that life is about prioritities. I know would-be writers who are more committed to their families than to writing. Fair enough. But then I know authors with young children who still manage to write and to promote their books. If any writer were to commit to a 40-hour week, like others do — butchers, secretaries, plumbers, etc — they ought to be able to make a decent income.

Mind you, Bill and I are very lucky, with over 250 books between us, produced over the past 30 years, to receive quite generous Lending Rights’ payments. Once a year the Federal Government deposits monies into our bank account to compensate us for our books that are held in public and educational libraries for which we’ve only been paid one royalty per book. A marvellous scheme! (Though next year there will be changes… more later.)

Sometimes, too, we get CAL (Copyright Agency Limited) payments when people or organisations have photocopied our writings. Another wonderful scheme!

Today I wrote about 3,000 words of my junior novel, A Game of Keeps. This is the second book I’ve written this year — and the fourth I’ve produced. Accepted recently for publication is A Beginner’s Guide to Better English, while my compilation of silly verse titled Erky Perky Silly Stuff is still awaiting a publisher’s decision.

Meanwhile I have a children’s poetry anthology, Every Day is A Birthday, with yet another publisher. What will I write next? Not sure. But I’ll certainly be back in my typing seat being productive…

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