hundreds of print ads
dozens of bilboards
hundreds of audio scripts
hundreds of video scripts
hundreds of web pages (maybe thousands)
dozens of live speech scripts
dozens of talking point scripts
dozens of on-hold messages
dozens of call center scripts
hundreds of brochures (maybe thousands)
dozens of environmental signs
hundreds of bylined articles
dozens of white papers
hundreds of press releases
dozens of tv commercials
dozens of radio spots
hundreds of trade publication articles
dozens of magazine articles
hundreds of newspaper articles
hundreds of resumes
hundreds of corporate blog posts
hundreds of powerpoint presentations
dozens of menus
hundreds of event themes
dozens of packages
hundreds of posters
aaaaand...one book (so far).
I've generally made a pretty good living with my English degree. Books pay the least by far (so far). I've got a great writing-based day job. And my hourly freelance rate is north of one hundred bucks. Book writing, I figure, pays significantly less than minimum wage (so far). So why do I obsess over it so?
Maybe because you can't help it. Storytellers have to tell the stories rumbling around in their heads. Money and fame are poor motivators I imagine, but birthing a story and sending it out into the world for others (even just one person) to enjoy is the greatest reward.
Plus, to make gobs of money with your writing takes a certain amount of luck. Hard work, yes, and persistence, but also a decent amount of luck.
Because we're trained to think that books are "better" than all that other stuff. Which is not true: that other stuff is important and practical! Book writing is not practical. Unknown says it best--we do it because we have to, because we can't help it.
When my first book came out, I added up a rough estimate of my time over 7 years and divided it by my advance. It came out to be $0.18/hour. I'd advise you not to do that with your advance. : ) For the second book, I'm up a couple cents.
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