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.

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