Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could be paid for doing the very thing you love doing best? Suppose what you love to do is write poetry or stories? Is it possible to earn money by writing?
Anything is possible, I like to tell myself, but getting to where you’re trying to go takes hard work. Despite what snake oil hucksters will have you believe, there are no shortcuts.
Yes, you can make money writing, but the kind of writing that is likely to produce a steady paycheck is often writing marketing copy and blog content for a large business enterprise. Is that the kind of writing you want to do?
Non writers hear about book royalties and bestselling authors who own yachts and several houses and they think everyone who gets a book published makes thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties. Not true. Such success is rare.
According to Sara Nicolas who wrote an article entitled “How Much Do Authors Make?” published by Book Riot in May 2021, “In 2018, the Authors Guild partnered with 14 other writers organizations as well as some publishing platforms to conduct a survey of 5,067 professional writers in the United States. The median 2017 income of participating authors was $6,080 with just $3,100 of that being from book income alone (as opposed to speaking fees, teaching, book reviewing, and other supplemental activities). The median income of people who described themselves as full-time authors was just $20,300 when including all book-related activities.”
Just for comparison, remember that the USA poverty level in 2023 for one person is $13, 590. Thus, if an author is hoping to support themselves on generating income from one book, ($6,080 in 2017) it would not be achievable unless they find another source of income.
You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Economic survival, is the reason so many fine published writers teach at colleges and universities and as writing instructors. Economic stability is also the reason why many writers spend part of their day reading and editing other people’s work.
Many book authors have other jobs: doctors, lawyers, business people, waiters, construction workers, etc. I used to be an antiques dealer, and then a magazine editor and then a marketing consultant. Whatever work I’m doing, words, sentences and paragraphs are always on my mind, despite the necessity of paying the bills.
Writers are writing because they have a compulsion to write. They want to be heard. More important to writers than money, is a following of readers.
Every week or so, I write a blog post. Most of the feedback I receive is from other writers. This is not surprising, because if you are sitting by yourself at a computer or pacing the house thinking about what you wrote, you’re eager to connect with someone else who might be going through a similar process.
This is why writing communities are so important. Writing groups and professional organizations usually offer workshops and readings. These events, now frequently online as well as in person, enable writers to keep expanding their skills and also to meet other writers.
A couple of months ago I received an email from a small independent publisher, Devil’s Party Press. One of the principals, Dianne Pearce, asked if I’d be interested in exploring the idea of being part of a Poetry Collective that would foster the concept of launching an imprint dedicated to publishing chapbooks.
For anyone not familiar with the term Chapbook, it’s defined as short book, shorter in page count than a traditional book and often referred to as a booklet. Traditionally, a chapbook contains poems, verse or a novelette. In recent years, with the increased popularity of flash fiction, it’s an excellent size book for an author’s flash collection.
I’ve had a number of pieces of Creative Nonfiction Flash published, which some people might categorize as prose poems. So yes, I was interested.
Devil’s Party Press describes themselves as “Publishers of Second Acts.” All their authors are over forty years of age. The first paragraph of their mission statement reads, “Devil’s Party Press LLC began because we believed that there should be someone publishing older writers who had never been published before. We believe that the older you get, the better your stories get, and the better you become at telling a story.” You can read their complete mission statement here.
Devil’s Party Press currently has three imprints: Gravelight Press, Hankshaw Press, Out of this World Press and also digitally publishes a literary magazine Instant Noodles ( where I’ve been twice published). Initially founded in Milton, Delaware, a town named in honor of the English Poet John Milton, The company took the inspiration for their name from a William Blake quote that said John Milton “was of the Devil’s party.”
Still in its infancy, this new collective of poets and short form prose writers decided to name the new imprint Old Scratch Press. Old Scratch is a nickname for the devil, which led to it being chosen as the imprint name. The name aligns with Devil Party Press, but the name to me has the association of the senior status of the writers ( all being over forty) and the idea of scratching an itch. To elaborate on the itch scratching, I go back to my insatiable urge to keep writing, because I just have to and I suspect the other writers in our group feel the same way.
The group is calling itself the Old Scratch Press Short Form Collective. In the coming year I hope the Old Scratch Press Short Form Collective will not only oversee the publication of several chapbooks, but will also sponsor some readings and discussions about poetry and short prose. Still in the early stages, it’s a group effort. Thus, it is the group that will decide. Be assured, however, that I’ll be sharing anything noteworthy here on my blog as well. Meanwhile, there’s just one week is left to submit to Instant Noodles Spring Issue. The deadline in March 1st.
Wondering about what sort of shape and form a piece of very short creative nonfiction might take, Here’s one: “The Simple Joys of Baking Cake” published last summer in Random Sample Review.
Thank you for reading and for your feedback. Please subscribe to my blog via WordPress or Medium and follow me on twitter at SN Maril. Visit my website at Nadjamaril.com.
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