Monday, September 9, 2013

How Much Do You Invest In Your Writing?

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  - Ernest Hemingway

Most of us nod our heads to this, right? We put our time and effort into our work. We write, we learn, we study, we read, we write some more, we revise, we query, we deal with rejection, we start again. Sound familiar? If you're in this business as a lark or to make billions, I have some sad news...

STILL, there's more we can invest in our writing and I'm wondering how far you would go? As in money, moola, smackers, compensation. Well you get the idea. Here's a list of okay and not okay things to spend your money on if you're a writer. Most are serious. ;D But honestly, it's something I've been juggling lately as far as promotion goes, so I know I can't be the only one. Can you add to the list, please? I know it can't be complete.

Oh and one more thing - I'm not saying you HAVE to spend a single penny. I'm only saying it may not be such a bad idea if you're already investing all of your time and effort to consider some possibilities.

Things NOT to spend money on:
  1. Agents who ask for money. This is not how it works. A legitimate agent is difficult to come by, but worth the hard work. If they offer representation it will be because they want to work with you and they get paid by selling your work. Simple as that. 
  2. "Publishers" who ask for money. Same deal. If you self publish, that's different. But if it's a legitimate press they should be the ones to front the costs for the editor, printing, etc. Publicity is a different story. Many authors do not get a publicist, or if they do, they still find themselves doing much of the promotion, but you can always negotiate this in your contract.
  3. Don't quit your day job. I know, this isn't directly spending money, but you're definitely losing it if you do this solely to write. I know plenty of authors who still work and find time to write even with a family. Is it hard? You bet! But if you have to write, you have to write. Just don't forget you also have to eat and sleep somewhere with a roof over your head.

Things you CAN spend money on, but you'll have to prioritize:
  1. Editorial services. Is it necessary? NO. You might just have fantastic critique partners who are enough. You should have them no matter what. Mine are indispensable. But sometimes you're close, so close, but you need a little more help from a new set of eyes. OR sometimes you decide to self publish and then it's an absolute MUST.
  2. Cover design. This is only if you ARE self-publishing. But a cover is very important. I'm in love with mine, but I know my publisher paid for it. It's worth it. 
  3. Contests. I'm debating right now entering a few of these. But each one costs money and it adds up. I think in my case I will swallow the bullet and pick maybe 3 of my faves. I'll probably get some input and do a bit of research first though. Is it a guaranteed win? No. Of course not, but the more eyes on my book and the more possibilities the better.
  4. Conferences and continuing education. I allocate myself several smaller workshops or one larger conference per year. Each one has absolutely been worth it for me. I get so much out of being with other writers and learning craft. I love it. You shouldn't spend this money though if you're expecting to meet someone who will instantly offer you publication. That's not what the networking is about. If you really can't afford it, you can always find online free conferences. There's Writeoncon, which is awesome and I believe there was (and hopefully will be) Indiecon online too. 
  5. Books. You gotta read if you're gonna write. Libraries are good resources though! ;D
What can you add? Oh and to save you a bit of money, we are offering THE BINDING STONE free on Kindle September 9 and 10th!!! So go grab a copy!


  1. Up to this point, I haven't invested money in my writing -- simply because my family's budget doesn't allow me to. Conferences and editorial services are two areas I hope to soon be able to spend a few dollars on!

  2. It always astounds me that people will pay shady agents. I guess it's desperation, right!?!

  3. Just downloaded The Binding Stone. So excited to read it.

    I think your list is pretty good. For me conferences and books top the list of things to spend money on. They're things that will improve my writing, and hopefully the writing can sell itself.

  4. So agree with the advice not to quit your day job. Writing for most does not provide stable income.

    I do think investing in contest promotions does help get more excitement for your book. That's why as a blogger I spend a lot of money on book giveaways and postage for my blog promotions of books and authors.

  5. Here - here to the conferences, retreats, and writer's days. Worth every penny! Knowledge AND inspiration AND hanging out with writers. Does it get any better?

  6. If you're looking for networking, you can join writer's associations like Mystery Writers of America, or my own local Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. It's a bit of money for annual membership but the benefits can be great.
    Heather Ormsby

  7. How much do I invest in my writing?
    Lots. ;)

    I'm not a fan of spending money on contests (there are a lot of shady ones out there). As for conferences, with the right ones, they're completely worth it. But I do my networking online, not at conferences (primarily). I reserve my funds for craft workshops, and those are less easy to come by, especially ones not aimed at beginning writers. But look hard and you can find them. Tomorrow I'm starting a nine month screenwriting class with Kat Falls which I already know will completely rock my socks. And in November I'm traveling to Minnesota to take a four day intensive with James Scott Bell, Donald Maass, and Steven Volger. If I survive the intensity, it's going to be amazing - and I'll be bringing a shiny new story to work on.

  8. In the early days of my writing, I spent money on an intensive writing course. Loved it. It took me through the whole process of coming up with ideas, researching magazine markets, and querying. Since then my money has gone to one day conferences and postage. But now that I've started the self-publishing journey, I've dusted off my wallet. I'm paying for a freelance edit (a must!) and a professional book cover (another must!)