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.

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