Saturday, 30 March 2013

Making a living from writing - the practical side

I am now back with the last of my blogs about the 'Making a Living from Writing' series. Today is about the practical side of it all with Jane Clarke and Lorna Ferguson.

Jane has put down her prices for school visits. Lorna has had people say they can't afford much. She works it out according to hours and mentions lives (sorry, couldn't read my writing there) and then she is paid for travel. Be able to price for value. You work then ask for that.  Jane now has 1/4 days for schools. One before lunch then after, otherwise if it's 9am - 1pm then they class that as half day.  Jane has had 28 visits so far this year, most of them this month as it's World Book Day etc.

How do you come to terms with doing work that comes to nothing? Jane wrote a novel first before writing shorter books. She can get other projects out of things that aren't accepted. Can come up with other ideas for publishers, Keeps note of what book is where. Her only flat-rate was for Battersea. Dinosaur Cove series bought her a car. Her figures are: Dinosaur = 4000, Cat = 2000, Gilbert = 3000, Stuck in Mud = 2000. Royalties can go up and down.

Lorna said that a few years ago she went to see Anthony Horowitz talk, and he said to diversify into other media than just writing. Lorna has turned her book into a film script but agent declined it. It is good discipline. When you monetise your writing think of other writing magazines. Features linked with fiction or experiences.  Lorna mentioned another writer to check out for tips on her blog Ali Ventures (have since checked and she is not blogging anymore due to being pregnant). You can put writing for commercial use - brochures etc. Think of your strengths.

Social media - Lorna has got business via social media for Fiction Fire. Finds it cheaper than paying ads. Only paid ad is now in Mslexia.

Books sold directly?- Jane doesn't sell directly, she gets her local Waterstones to sell them for her, and gets points put on her card with them. If she sells books herself , they don't count as proper sales.

If had to make more money - Jane would teach, and Lorna, too.  Does Jane get support from package writing? No. 6 books = £11,000 year. Working Partners have standard royalties.  Jane says that educational books don't go in libraries but print books have lots of borrows. Scores higher in PLR.

VAT? Only to pay if you earn £77,000 a year (none of us there did). Keep records. Be professional and do invoices. Jane pays accountant for records.

And that was it. It was a good talk and I was pleased to go. Reminded me to update my records.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Part 2 of Making a living as a writer

Question and answers

Hours away from writing - Jane is up at 6.30am does things in the house. At desk from 9.30am. Has a lunch break then writes. 4pm she walks the dog then gets back and checks emails. She said that if something comes up she can please herself. Lorna reckons there is a danger with this. If she has edits to do for clients then she does them as they take priority. When she wrote her historical novel she found it best to do her tutoring and Fictionfire. She doesn't switch off. Every day is different.
Jane said it is essential to have an agent to get things out to publishers.

Have an agent? - Jane has and is grateful. She got publisher and agent at same time. Lorna did have one but they retired. Another but weren't aren't so proactive. None now. About to epublish her book so don't need one. Mentioned  Alliance for Independent Authors, who have an agent for foreign rights. (Made a note of this as I'm an indie author). Thinks we now have a right to ask publisherswhat they can do for us. If get trad deal then will look at you. She won't say never for another trad deal. If agent asks to take you on, ask what they can do for you.

Events etc - Jane's income for last year was £8000. Charges SOA rates. No one adds travel costs unless it's international. What a school wants you to do is to enthuse and inspire children to write not give talks about your books. That is accidental. Jane sends a promo pack to schools then follows up with a phone call. She gets repeat asks.
General events - Lorna said it's synchronicity. When she first had her book published, she went on the net. Got talks via Twitter etc, then they turned into workshops later on. She said you should cultivate connections. Be open to possiblities. Perceptive to what's going on. Work hard on your ID and what you can write. Join specialist groups such as SCBWI. It's now easy to connect with other authors. Jane does local festivals. Waits to be asked. Tells local press when a new book is out.

Next post will be out the practical side of making a living as a writer.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Making a living as a writer

On Wednesday evening I went to a talk by Jane Clarke and Lorna Ferguson about making a living as a writer for children. I suppose some of this can be said for writing for adults too.

Money - Jane gets most of her income from school visits, and Lorna gets hers from teaching English.

Opportunities - Jane has an agent. It was her agent who sent her the outline for the Dinosaur Cove series, and as Jane loves dinosaurs she said yes. She tried for it and got through to the second round. As she is someone who does what edits she's told to do, she did that and got through. You can register your interest with Working Partners, whom she works with for the Dinosaur series, and Hothouse. She said that her word limit for writing for other people is 10,000. For Early Readers you must have an agent, as they come with a secrecy code.
Lorna - With her consultancy Fictionfire, she said that in theory it works but not in practice, esp if she has lots of courses to do. She has written in the middle of the night. She has fallen asleep watching the news, then wakes up and gets a second wind to write. Sets targets of words.

Making Money - How long before made money? Jane said 5 years = 8 books before she went full-time. It was working part-time in a library before that.
Lorna gave us some statistics from the Society of Authors in 2007. Then advances were no more than £5000 and in instalments in 3 parts. And then you have to earn those out. Hardback = 10% paperback = 5%. ALCS reported that median income was £4000. The top 10% of authors got more than 10% and the bottom 10% got less than 10%. (Made me think - I want to stick to being an indie author). Lorna also said that she wants to write as most do fro the freedom to write more. Said be realistic. Her main income comes from Fictionfire.

Need support - Jane said hard to answer as her husband died 11 years ago but left her life insurance so she could pay the mortgage. Lorna said she does get support from her husband as he believes in her and is behind Fictionfire. He's the first person to read her work.

I think I will continue this post tomorrow. So see you then.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My March goals - for writing

On 2 March I went to another SBCWI brunch for goal setting. We told our successes and why we hadn't done any goals. Then had to set our goals for March. Here are mine:

My main goals for this month are to submit either an idea for an article or a whole article to magazine, one fiction and one non-fiction. How am I getting on? Not that well. I had a bad cold last week so didn't do much apart from getting my next romance book ready to epublish. I managed to write  half a non-fiction article and need to type up the other half. Fiction, I started highlighting and changing repeated words for a story to send to a womag. Have to get on with those once I have published Don't Get Mad. And it will be on my laptop as my desktop's hard disk is failing and I am afraid to use it incase it fails full stop.  Hopefully this time next week I will have done more.

So, what goals have you got this month? And how far are you with them?

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Me and sensitve skin - an update

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I could possibly have rosacea due to either the v cold weather, toiletries with a form of alcohol in and/or eating citrus. I don't know if it's cos the weather has got warmer, stopped eating clementines and lemon marmalade and stopped using facial creams with forms of alcohol in but my face is now a lot calmer and less red. The only time it did go bright red again was when I had had a bath and got warm.

I shall know soon when it gets colder again if it was the cold weather that made my face go that red. I have now got rid of all toiletries for the face that had any form of alcohol in, and ones that I didn't want and were out of date. The kitchen was enfused with lots of different smells earlier as I poured oils and creams down the sink so I could recycle the containers.

So, that is how the experiment went. If the weather does turn a lot colder again, then I shall see how my face goes and let you know.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

What Geraldine would say to Mandy in More Fish in the Sea

Welcome back to my Geraldine's sayings blog. I have just perused my PInterest board for sayings and here are two things that Geraldine would say to her favourite niece, Mandy, who has just been betrayed by her mother and boyfriend and should find 'More Fish in the Sea'.

So the story is that Mandy was getting over the betrayal of her mother going with her boyfriend, which makes her lose the baby she was going to have. Geraldine tells her that there are plenty more fish in the sea and to think of other men that she knows. She tells Mandy this:

She has to take out the negatives in her life and forget about her ex and move on. Mandy does.

The next thing she has to do is:

Then she can truly move on and find the right man for her. Mandy does. She finds Russ who is a work colleague. To find out what happens between Mandy and Russ you have to buy the ebook, available on all digital platforms.

Now for things that Geraldine or Mandy might use in every day life. Mandy or Geraldine might use this coaster to put hot mugs on. Available from my Zazzle store

Then she might use this magnet to put on her fridge in Heaven to remind her to go and visit another sad relative. Also from my Zazzle store.

Friday, 1 March 2013

IBS and Medication - Update

This is an update to where I am with IBS and my medication. Over a week ago I decided to stop my IBS medication as my IBS had flared up badly. I thought it was either not working or working too much. Well the results so far have been good. My IBS has calmed down a lot now and I feel better in myself. My insides also feel better. So I am not going back to having them again for at least another couple of weeks. I need to update my prescription for one of them, so when I see my GP again (in two weeks time) I shall ask her to do so but tell her that I've stopped taking them for now as I feel a lot better without taking them.

I shall give another update then.  Next time I will have an update on how my face is going with not using products with any form of alcohol in.