Sunday, June 9, 2019

Why Being an Author Is the Best Job I've Ever Had

This little cactus is growing - and blooming away! - beneath the shelter of this much larger paddle cactus. I think of this, not as hiding its light under a bushel, but welcoming the sheltering strength of a friend. Go, little cactus, go!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite part and least favorite part of being an author.

I'm having a hard time picking my favorite part. Really, being an author is an amazing job. Easily the most fun, most rewarding job I've ever had. (And I've had a few, including two previous substantial career paths.) How do I love it? Let me count the ways!

  1. I get to create for a living. Spending my days weaving stories the way I want them to be is unlike anything else. The only conference calls I have are with people talking about my favorite subject: me and my work. I don't have to attend meetings or work with other people unless I choose to.  
  2. I am a source that creates money for other people. By writing my books and stories, I generate income that then generates money for others. From my assistant, to editors, to cover designers, to my website designer, even to retailers like Amazon, Smashwords, and Kobo - they all have income because of what I create. That's powerful stuff.
  3. I get to make my favorite authors be my friends. This is really the best perk, that I can stalk reach out to people who write books I love and they become my friends. My twelve-year-old self still has little fan girl meltdowns over it.
  4. I'm creating a source of long term income. The super cool thing about writing books is the money they generate continues to come in, for the most part quite regularly, forever. Especially now that "out of print" is no longer an issue. My books will continue to generate income for my heirs. My first published novella, which has been out for over ten years, still bring in about $100/month. Not a fortune, sure, but it all adds up.
  5. I'm creating something that will outlive me. Long after I'm gone, my books will still exist. Will I care? Well, no, but while I live I feel good about giving something lasting to the world.
What is my least favorite part then? An easy answer there: the fluctuating income. I self-insure, have no employer-bestowed benefits, no guaranteed check every month. It makes budgeting impossible, not knowing how much money will come in at any given time. Ideally, I'd make enough - hit the literary jackpot as some do - and have a big financial cushion. If I could budget a year in advance, that would be amazing. Otherwise I'm at the mercy of a fluctuating marketplace. 

Small price to pay, however, for the awesomeness of the job!