Tag: Writer Stuff

50% of Authors Say They Can’t Support Themselves By Writing Alone

Posted April 21, 2008 by Holly in News | 3 Comments

I think a lot of times we forget that like with any profession, authors are sometimes paid very well and other times not as much as we think. I remember reading an article (somewhere online) last year about Nora Roberts. She was listed in Forbes as making $60 million a year. I don’t doubt that’s probably true (for a gross figure), but I think it’s important to remember NR has a long and established career, with more than 294 million books in print. That is, as I’m sure you can imagine, not the norm.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that 50% of multi-published authors polled by Novelists, Inc. (NINC) said they couldn’t support themselves by writing alone.

From Tess Gerritsen’s blog:

An organization called Novelists, Inc. (NINC) conducted a survey of its membership last year. NINC is a terrific group, by the way, to which I belong. Its membership is restricted to multi-published authors. NINC queried a random sample of 100 of their members. All 100 members responded, so this is a good sampling, with no self-selection involved. These 100 authors had published a median number of sixteen (sixteen!) novels apiece. Their genres were all over the board, with most of them published in mystery/thriller or women’s fiction/romance. Nine percent of them have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Nineteen percent of them had appeared on the USA Today bestseler list. Clearly these are accomplished professionals.

So they must be raking in the bucks, right?

These writers were asked: “Do you (or could you) support yourself on your current writing income?” The results:

Yes — 22%

Probably Yes — 9%

Probably No — 17%

No — 52%

These are depressing figures. Only 31% of multi-published novelists are able to support themselves on their writing.

So if you’re looking to get rich quick by writing that bestselling novel, you might want to think again.

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Guest Author: Meljean Brook – A little Q&A

Posted February 5, 2008 by Holly in News | 15 Comments

Tomorrow Meljean will be back with some fun Questions and Answers, but today it’s all writing, all the time.

  1. Are you planning to write a book for Michael?

Yes. But I have to do a few mean and evil things to him first. Sorry –he’s just too unapproachable, and a little too … inhuman, I guess, for him to have a romance that means anything.

  1. Your books are more on the dark side, with a definite element of good vs. evil. Can you give us some insight as to why you write these types of books? (As opposed to say, light, fluffy romance).

Because I’m an insane sadist, and I like to torture my characters.

…nah, that’s only half-true. I like exploring the shades of gray, and
asking — through my characters — so many interesting questions. Can a
man who has killed good men ever really atone for that? Can a woman who
has made some serious mistakes in her life, destroying everything that
made her happy, ever find happiness again … and does it take the
supernatural to do that, or can she find it in herself?

  1. How many books will be in the series?

There will be eight full-length novels, with several novellas to round out the world.

  1. What are your future plans for the series?

Hurting Michael. 😀 No, not just that. In DEMON NIGHT, we’re introduced to a new threat to the Guardians and vampires on Earth — I’m going to take that a step further in my next book, exposing the truth behind that
threat. Then I’ll wrap up the series as everyone deals with what’s been

  1. What’s your typical writing day like?

When I’m not on deadline:

6 AM: head to the computer, write a little bit.

8 AM: Wake up the girl, get her ready for pre-school, take her. Get
caffeine on my way back home.

9 AM: Check e-mails, blogs, finish up any business, take a shower, then

NOON: Get pre-schooler, try very hard to write.

5 PM: Praise the heavens when my husband gets home, try to write some more.

8 PM: Either make some kind of slop or go to in-laws for yummy yummy
Indian food.

10 PM: Make sure pre-schooler is in bed, promise myself to wake up and
write some more, but fall asleep, half the time.

2 AM: If I got my ass out of bed, I go back to bed.

On deadline:

4 AM: Crying as I get off the floor and start writing.

8 AM: Screaming as I get the tot ready for pre-school.

9 AM: Caffeine. Caffeine! Cafffffffeeeiiinnnee!! Write write write.

NOON: No, baby, Mommy’s not twitching. She’s not. twitch Do you want
to go to Dadima’s to play today?

8 PM: Run to McDonald’s for dinner. Caffeine. Caffeine.

2 AM: Sobbing again as I fall unconscious onto the floor behind the sofa.

  1. What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Read. Read and read and read and read and read some more. Read the good, and try to figure out what makes it good. Read the bad, and figure out why it’s bad. Write and write and write until your fingers fall off.
Read more. Don’t give up. And, for god’s sake, write what you love. It hurts sometimes, so make sure you love it.

  1. How do you feel your writing has changed – if at all – since you wrote your first novel?

I think my pacing is better, and my prose less opaque. I’ve learned how to make some things less confusing, and getting across information about my world-building better.

  1. Do you have a clear picture in your mind as you write of your characters? I.e. do you picture a certain celebrity, real life person, etc?

I have a clear, original picture of them in my head — I know what they look like, what they wear, how they move. Then I go and find pictures of models, actors, whoever that I can project that image onto in a solid
way. The celebrity might not look exactly like my character, but there’s usually something about them that just clicks and gives me what I need out of it.

Strangely enough, it’s NEVER candid shots of the celebrity that I use
(like paparazzi photos). They’re always projecting a certain image, or
inhabiting some other skin in the photos (like, a certain character they
are playing and promoting) — I’m guessing that’s what resonates with
me, not the actual look of the celebrity.

Meljean has agreed to stick around as much as possible today to answer any other questions our readers might have, so leave a comment.

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow when we grill ask Meljean some of the really important questions we all want the answer to…like Boxers or Briefs? 🙂

And don’t forget, Demon Night is available today! Download it in eBook format here and here, or buy it in paperback here and here.

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If Cassie Edwards Plagiarized, That’s Not Right

Posted January 11, 2008 by Holly in Discussions, News | 8 Comments

I wanted to take a minute to clarify something, from all accounts and the evidence presented, Cassie Edwards plagiarized. Until it’s confirmed, no one can say with absolute certainty that’s what happened, but it seems as if that’s the case. That is wrong. Very, very wrong. I saw the article done about this on AP, where Cassie Edwards said she didn’t know she had to cite her references. I think that’s crap. Absolute and utter crap. Unless she didn’t attend any schooling – which I highly doubt – or doesn’t live in the literary world – which I highly doubt – she had to have heard at least once that to copy/paste without acknowledging your source is wrong, wrong wrong.

You may be wondering why I started this post by saying, “let me clarify something”. That’s because there seems to be some concern, in regards to myself and other people, that we don’t believe plagiarism is a big deal, or that we don’t believe what Cassie Edwards did qualifies as such. That’s horse shit. Or it is on my part, anyway.

I have an issue with the way this news came about, and the source it came from. My very first thought after seeing the original blog post about this was, “There they go again, bashing CE.” My second thought was, “Cripes, can’t they leave her alone.” and my third thought was, “Isn’t their credibility on anything CE related pretty much shot?” Especially after the tone of their original post.

Since then, SB Sarah (I think, forgive me if it was SB Candy) has apologized for the tone of their original post, saying had she thought about it a bit harder, she would have toned it down some. Regardless, I think people are using the issues SB had with Cassie Edwards to take away from the real issue. I’ve been accused of this myself.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think had this come out in a different way, or on a different site, this would be a non-issue. As it stands, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts and comments stating things like, “Oh, shut up. CE was wrong wrong wrong and SB’s were right right right.” I agree. It doesn’t matter how this came out, the fact that it did is huge.

I can say, with complete honesty, I think the way SB’s constantly attacked CE in the past was ridiculous, however. There comes a point when you need to step back from something you find abhorrent and say, “Ok, you all know we think this author sucks, let’s move on” and unfortunately (I say this because everyone seems to be pointing a finger at SB’s now) they didn’t. That sucks. But it shouldn’t take away from the real issue. Something should be done, not only as punishment to Cassie Edwards, but also to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. What? I have no idea. I would love to offer some suggestions, but as I have no experience in publishing, writing or anything like it, I can’t. I hope someone does, however.

Now, having said that, I need to make something else just as clear:

I think this issue has moved past the point of “reporting the news” into something entirely different. Something sad and vile. I can’t help but think about the fact that Cassie Edwards is a 72-year-old woman. That doesn’t in any way excuse her behavior, but I would hate to think that we, Romance lovers that we are, might be so mean spirited that we’d want to see a woman of that age completely broken. And I think that’s where we’re heading. Am I saying we should walk away and forget the entire incident? That we should say, “Oh, well, she’s old, so it’s ok?” Absolutely not. Again, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Under no circumstances should something like this be excused, or overlooked, or go unpunished. But I do think constantly attacking her, calling her names, taking potshots at her, saying she’s a horrible author anyway, so who cares, laughing because finally, finally she’s getting what she deserves (after all, she’s a shitty writer anyway, so why not bash her as much as possible) makes us nothing more than vultures and makes us, as a community, look bad.

The romance genre and it’s readers takes a lot of hits anyway. As I said in my post the other day, it was only a matter of time before someone said, “Well, what do you expect, she writes romance!” And it has happened. And you know, it probably would have happened anyway. But seeing the comments on the posts up at SBTB, DA, KarenS’s blog, and many, many other places makes me almost ashamed to be apart of this community. Why? Because we aren’t proving anyone wrong when they say we’re to be sneered at, or laughed at. Especially when we’re so quick to turn on one of our own (and by this I do not mean to excuse Cassie Edwards, but I do mean to say I feel the tone of the comments should have been much, much different. Instead of saying, “Ha! Finally she’s getting what she deserves for writing such craptastic books” we should have been expressing outrage and sympathy for those who’s works were taken from. Yes, I know there have been comments and posts to that effect, but more often than not, I’ve walked away from posts and comments and the general tone of this and just felt dirty).

And so here I am, writing this post, partly to express my belief that what CE did was wrong, and partially to appeal to all my fellow romance lovers: Please, please remember we are not above others. It is not our place to judge, or throw stones, or be down right mean to someone, regardless of their actions. I think CE’s career is over, no? Chances are she’ll be sued, and ruined and not be able to hold her head up any longer. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that she’s been exposed, that her actions – her own actions, not those of others – have brought her low? Do we need to continue to kick her now that she’s down? Do we need to continue to make ourselves, as a community, seem bloodthirsty and bitchy?

All I would say is this: Plagiarism is wrong. Cassie Edwards needs to accept the consequences of plagiarizing. Those consequences should come from her publisher, the authors of whose work she actually plagiarized, RWA, etc. Even her readers or prospective readers should make a decision on whether or not to continue to buy her books. However, the public crucifixion of CE is completely unnecessary and just plain mean.

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