Writing – Personal VS Professional

Writing – Personal VS Professional

By Rebecca Besser


Yesterday I posted about having inner peace as a writer and how a writer shouldn’t base their creative worth on book sales (Giving Up – Writing Isn’t An Option).  In no way did I mean by that post that writers shouldn’t get paid and shouldn’t seek to get paid. Because I believe all artists should be paid for their work.

Being paid for your work and book sales are two different things.

An article writer, for instance, gets a flat rate for their work or gets paid a rate per word – this rate of pay has nothing to do with later sales of the publication.

As far as book sales, advances or signing bonuses a writer gets paid for their book are merely royalties paid in advance in the hopes of the publisher making that money back from book sales. A writer makes no more money until the sales of their book have exceeded what they’ve already been paid in advance. Then they receive royalties (a percentage of sales that was agreed upon in their contract).

For writers that self-publish, they hope to get what they put into their book as far as editing and cover cost, etc., back through royalties earned from book sales, because they are author and publisher. This leads to self-published writers getting discouraged easily, because they’re all in and not making their money back when there are little to no sales.

Not placing your value as a creative artist on book sales does not mean that you shouldn’t get paid for the skilled work you do. You can control what you agree to write for as far as advances and per word rate by agreeing to those terms. You cannot predict sales or force anyone to buy your books later or if you self-publish. That’s always a gamble. Many marketing strategies can be tried, but none of them are a guarantee.

You can determine (to an extent) the worth of your work when you agree to terms, but you can never control sales. You can’t base your worth on something you can’t control. You can determine your work’s worth on terms you can negotiate through a paying market/publisher. You have the right to charge for your skill and your time.

Writing is a business once you seek publication through a market where you make money or self-publish a book for which you charge money. And that’s a choice – the choice to be a professional writer. You are choosing to be in the writing business, that you want to be paid for your skill and time.

But there’s another choice…

There are many writers who only ever seek to write for personal reasons. They’ll post on their blog or through non-paying markets, or give their books away for free all the time. That’s “personal” writing. Some make money eventually, once (or if) they get enough attention and someone offers to pay them, but they don’t seek out payment for what they write.

There’s nothing wrong with either option as long as you’re happy. You just need to understand the difference. And respect that people have the right to choose their own path.

The fact that I sought out and now have an agent speaks clearly for the path I’ve chosen. 😉


©Rebecca Besser, 2016. All rights reserved.

Giving Up – Writing Isn’t An Option

Giving Up – Writing Isn’t An Option

By Rebecca Besser


Over the last year or so, I’ve seen posts on social media where many writers I know have been down and have questioned whether they should give up writing. This has mostly come about because of low sales and feeling like they have a lack of fans.

At some point, I think even highly successful writers have wanted to give up – we’ve all heard stories about how Stephen King and other now popular authors had a lot of rejection early on in their careers. So, in actuality, it truly does happen to the best of us. We all have doubt when we try hard and it doesn’t look like we’re gaining anything. That’s simply human nature. We want to be recognized for our hard work, for pouring our souls out to the masses. We want all that time we took from our families and all the effort we put into making our work presentable to mean something. We want acknowledgement that most likely will never come.

After all, writing is easy, isn’t it? Everyone’s going to just write a book someday, right? (Yeah, I hate people who say stuff like that to me. They obviously know nothing about what it takes to actually write a book.)

What most people (who aren’t writers) don’t realize is that if you’re truly a writer giving up is never a real option. And people don’t just become writers one day because they decide to. Writers who are meant to be writers can’t help but write and they can’t give up. Writing is part of who they are. They’re happier when they’re writing than when their doing almost anything else. It goes the same for musicians, painters, and any other type of artist. The need to create, to express themselves through some medium isn’t just about how much their fans love them, it’s about being who they are inside.

Yes, all artists want their work to be appreciated. They all want fans and dream of success. But life doesn’t always work that way.

To be happy as a writer (or any other form of artist) you have to come to some kind of understanding with your inner self. Because you have to know where your creativity comes from and know that not everyone will see and understand what you create takes out of you.

You have to find acceptance and peace within yourself.

Once you do that, you won’t let your value be controlled by other people or sales, or anything else beyond your control. At that point, you can set personal goals for yourself and find success in the things you can control. Feed your goals and your inner self because writing starts with you. After that, it’s all a game of chance.


©Rebecca Besser, 2016. All rights reserved.