Tag Archives: money

The One Key to Making it as a Freelancer Writer

Publishing & the Profit Motive

I just read a justifiably indignant NY Times article criticizing the wrongdoings of the publishing industry. The quote below summarizes author Timothy Egan’s complaint:

Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.

As an impoverished, struggling writer, I more than empathize with his point. However, the one thing that Egan is forgetting is that book publishing is a for-profit industry. If Barbara Bush’s dog will sell more books than a struggling artist’s poetry, then a publisher is wise to favor the former, even if it hurts our personal sensibilities. Or look at it the other way, that dog book just bankrolled 10 garrulous memoirs. Without the best-selling fluff, the publishing house couldn’t afford to take a loss on you.

In these tough economic times, it’s very important to remember the profit motive. Though it’s not romantic, I highly advise considering potential readership before launching into 10 years of toil. But that’s only if you want to get published.

writing process: FREElancing

After finishing my master’s degree, I was so excited to finally do some freelance writing. As a writer, this is pretty much my life dream. However, I should have studied the word’s etemology before I got too worked up:

Free + lance = freelance

From these two root words, it is obvious that freelance writing is not the most profitable of ventures (at least in the beginning). I’m not sure how the word “lance” applies to me. My best guess is that I have to be careful not to get in any jousting matches because freelancing does not provide health insurance.

NOTE: Any advice in how to become a rich writer is very welcome.