The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Traditional Publishing, Independent Publishing, Hybrid, Old Model, New Model, Etc.
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izanobu
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The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Mon May 20, 2013 1:36 pm

Kris Rusch's Business Rusch articles should be required reading, in my opinion. Her latest (http://kriswrites.com/2013/05/15/the-business-rusch-shifting-sands/) is really interesting in term of how it shows once again that this business is changing and anyone who wants to have a long career from here out should be keeping up with those changes (and also, it is an awesome time to be a writer). The comments are also gold. I particularly found this comment by Kris to be relevant to recent discussions:
I love these dismissive comments I get about superstar authors, ignoring how many writers are now making a living at writing who never have before. And by living I mean six-figure incomes, and these are people who aren’t superstar authors. They’re doing it quietly. They’re doing it on e-books mostly, and that’s only 20% of the market. Now the rest of the market has come open to them in a way as easy to tap as e-books. Of course, I’m thrilled.

The prejudice against self-published titles is going away. Readers don’t care who publishes the book. And you can be as negative as you want but that doesn’t change the fact that the industry is different now than it was six months ago.

What you seem to be dismissive of is that this industry is in the middle of massive change. I’ve been in the industry as long as you have. I’ve owned publishing companies, worked for traditional publishers, owned many businesses including distribution companies, self published off and on since the late 1980s, and still believe that this change is unbelievably significant.


I'd also point out this very cool thread on the Kindleboards, where people are slowly building a list of hybrid and indie authors making a living: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,150820.0.html The list hasn't been updated in a week, but it is still up to about 200 names with more being added in the comments all the time. Pretty cool.

Personally, I think it is easier these days than any time since the golden age of the pulps (and maybe not even then) to make good money as a writer. (Note: easier doesn't mean easy. I'd never call making writing money easy money. Still got to actually put in the work.)

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Tue May 21, 2013 12:05 am

Also awesome, from Passive Guy via WotF Judge Dean Wesley Smith's blog: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=9181

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby s_c_baker » Tue May 21, 2013 8:31 am

Good stuff, Annie. wotf007
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Mike Resnick
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby Mike Resnick » Sat May 25, 2013 2:32 pm

Has anyone suggested what minimum figure is required to be "making a living"?
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Sat May 25, 2013 3:07 pm

I figure the minimum is different for everyone. I put it at "covering all the bills with writing", so for someone living in NYC or London, that would be a lot higher than someone living in Kansas City or even in Portland, OR. Or for a writer with a family as opposed to someone single. I don't think there is a set minimum beyond that. We all have different costs and needs. As long as writing is cover all those costs, I think it is fair to say you are making a living, just as you would if you were working in a deli and the paychecks covered your bills and rent etc.

Kris and Dean like to use 100k a year as a benchmark. So people's definitions vary.

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby Mike Resnick » Tue May 28, 2013 7:04 am

I'll agree that definitions vary at the top, but I think there's a meaningful one at the bottom. Durng the last two presidential elections, both parties stated that any family -- and I don't know if it's simply a couple, or a family of four -- that earns under $36,000 is below the poverty level and hence pays no taxes. So if $36,000 is the government's official poverty level, I think any writer who's making less than that is -not- making a living at it. Or to put it another way, if you're not earning enough to pay taxes, you're not earning a viable living, not according to me -- I'd put it considerably higher -- but according to the IRS. Simple as that.
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby s_c_baker » Tue May 28, 2013 9:10 am

Mike Resnick wrote:I'll agree that definitions vary at the top, but I think there's a meaningful one at the bottom. Durng the last two presidential elections, both parties stated that any family -- and I don't know if it's simply a couple, or a family of four -- that earns under $36,000 is below the poverty level and hence pays no taxes. So if $36,000 is the government's official poverty level, I think any writer who's making less than that is -not- making a living at it. Or to put it another way, if you're not earning enough to pay taxes, you're not earning a viable living, not according to me -- I'd put it considerably higher -- but according to the IRS. Simple as that.

The $36,000 figure is rhetoric aimed at pandering to the middle class.

The actual poverty line, as defined by the Dept of Health and Human Services, is here: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm

and is $11,490 for a 1-person household. $36k is for a household of 7, apparently. (Unless you're in Alaska or Hawaii, where it's higher.)

However, I'm not sure the poverty line is really a good bottom line. Do you want to be living in poverty or living comfortably?

That said, I tend to agree with Annie. It's up to individuals to decide what counts as "making a living." Personally, I think that as long as you're happy, healthy, and secure, you're making a living. If you live in a big city like Los Angeles, $12k a year would have you on the streets. In the rural mid-west, or the rural south-east, it might be enough to get by.

In any case, I'm not sure it even matters what the number is. All this means is that it's now easier to make it as a self-published or indie author than it has been in the past. That doesn't mean it's the BEST way to make it as a writer. It doesn't mean it's the worst, either. It's just a way, and it's getting more viable.
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Tue May 28, 2013 2:29 pm

Clearly 36k is your definition, Mike. Good for you? wotf007

My definition is different. Are you paying all your bills with writing? Then you are making a living. That way it allows for everyone's circumstances. What my husband and I need to in order to pay the bills as a childless 30somethings in PDX is going to be different than someone with kids or living in a more expensive location.

*also note that a married couple making 36k a year does pay taxes, as I can personally attest. We usually pay 9-12% of our income in taxes once all is adjusted for between state and federal tax (even with all my business write-offs).

*also the second- why is this even being debated? In the end, as long as someone feels they are making enough money from their writing and are happy with their life quality from paying the bills with that money, who gives a flipping frak what some random person's definition of "living" is? I refer back to what Kris said- the industry is in the middle of a massive change. People are making money in this change, good money that lets them write full time and do what they love to do for a living. Isn't that the part that matters?

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby Mike Resnick » Tue May 28, 2013 6:17 pm

All right, rather than naming a figure, let me generalize: if all you are doing is paying your bills, if you're not investing or saving, then you're in deep trouble when you get a rejection or two, or when your self-published masterpiece sells about the way most self-published masterpieces sell. Which is to say: if your expenses are X, your income had better be X + Y or you're in deep shit when the car breaks down, the roof leaks, or you get even trivial extra expenses like the computer dies or the dog needs surgery.
Last edited by Mike Resnick on Tue May 28, 2013 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Tue May 28, 2013 6:35 pm

That's common sense, yep. I guess I (probably optimistically) assume every good business person puts things away in to savings, avoids debt, and saves for retirement. Which is fully possible to do on 36k a year, btw. Again, it just depends on what your expenses are. Again, common sense (in the household budgets, which are my responsibility in our house, savings and investments are treated the same as the electric bill. It all gets paid every month, no quibbling). Not really worth a debate, is it? wotf007

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby Mike Resnick » Tue May 28, 2013 6:43 pm

"Not really worth a debate, is it?"

Since you respond to, and argue with, every message I leave on the topic, I have to think you believe it -is- worth a debate. wotf008
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Tue May 28, 2013 6:54 pm

Ok, Mr. Kettle wotf011

Less snarkily- it is clear, Mike, that self-publishing isn't your thing and that you don't approve of it and think it is a bad idea. That's fine. We are all responsible for our own careers. Why you then feel the need to drop into every thread that has to do with the changes to the publishing world and self-publishing in general and nit-pick at things is beyond me. So yeah, I do respond to what you say, because what you say is often short-sighted, old-fashioned, or just plain wrong in the context of how things are changing. Sometimes it is even mean. Not sure why a long-term professional and WotF judge would bother poking at things like this when it so very clear where you stand on the issues and that you have no desire to learn anything about them.

These threads aren't for you, Mike. They are information for other people. You've got your career and seem happy to have what you do. That's great. I'm not even being snarky here. Seriously. Good for you. Meanwhile, there are lots of changes going on and lots of information out there about things for the rest of us who are trying new stuff and dipping our toes into different ways of doing things. That's what these threads are for, as evidenced by the topics and information in them.

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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby Brad R. Torgersen » Tue May 28, 2013 7:15 pm

Ummmmm, maybe it's time I split out a separate section for indie publishing? Seems to me the current arguments boil down to, "Indie publishing is pro! / Is not! / Is so! / Is not! / Is so!" And since I hate to see friends spar over something like this, I am going to politely ask that the debate be left alone? Pretty please?
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Re: The Business Rusch- Another Big Change!

Postby izanobu » Tue May 28, 2013 7:21 pm

I'm not trying to debate anything, just offer up interesting articles and information (as are Tom and others who post relevant, interesting things by professionals about writing in this section).


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