Just last week I breezed through Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living, an anthology of essays edited by Manjula Martin. I’d gone in search for information on, essentially, getting paid to be a writer. As I’ve been editing my novel, I’ve also been deeply considering other ways that writing can generate revenue, which of them I’m fit to pursue. This collection was a very timely book to pick up, as a pre-published author and as someone looking into writing as a career.
Martin was the co-founder for an online magazine on the same topic. Excerpts from that magazine have made it into the book. I gobbled up the various interviews and essays, amazed at the stories of writers who made it past the threshold. These are writers we have heard of, aspire to be, and their stories do not fail to amaze.
I think what touched me most was hearing about projects that never went anywhere, among the histories of the projects that went on to become hits. We all have drawer projects, and most people encounter money issues, and in these essays we see it’s possible to strike a balance with writing somewhere in the mix.
While this collection is very inspiring to a writer who yearns for and is working toward becoming a paid writer, I do feel it focuses more on larger successes than smaller ones. I’ve heard time and again for the past decade about starting advances turning out quite small. Or, one may receive a large advance and not earn out as much as the publisher hoped. These are the kinds of stories I feel myself longing to hear more of, the stories of the every-writer, after being wowed by the names and successes I’ve heard of.
Perhaps Martin could look into a second collection on this theme… ?
Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living
Edited by Manjula Martin
Available from Simon & Schuster in Trade Paperback and eBook.