In today’s blog, and in light of the issues I’ve read about online and e-published authors have had in getting paid, I wanted to say a few things about writing and getting paid for it.
I hope you’ll excuse me if I meander around a bit. Money for the fruit of my soul is an emotional subject.
I got paid on Thursday for a job I did last fall.
Due to a miscommunication, I never realized they’d requested an invoice.
Within days of raising a question about payment (uh…Monday?)…the money hit my account.
I’ve been wondering what was going on since at least October; I remember having a conversation with a friend who was part of the same project around then. And now I’m kicking myself – why didn’t I just ask the producer at the time, why did I step back and not bring up this question of payment earlier?
I didn’t want to seem pushy or petty. But asking “Hey, what’s up?” at a point sooner than four months after the fact would have saved a lot of time, and that would have been nice. As evidenced by how quickly we figured out what was up once I opened my mouth.
Anyway, I’m meandering.
What I wanted to say was this: it felt SO GOOD to get paid for something I’d written because I *felt* it. The piece I was paid for landed in my lap like a flash of inspiration, and having it produced (even abroad, even when I couldn’t go to see it) gave me the most wonderful, settled feeling in the world.
Getting paid for it today, seeing the money land in my account – that gave me a whole different kind of good feeling.
In our society, money is a potent type of validation. I remember the first time I got paid for writing something. A friend bought a short story I’d written. Later, I felt this kind of validation again when I earned money on my Fringe shows (most notably, “Stuck Up A Tree,” which is now *ahemavailableonKindle*). At the same time, we’re told not to ask about it – to the point where I put off a polite inquiry for four months! How crazy is that?
As a freelancer, a self-owned business, you – much like reporters – are advised to follow (up) the money. Nobody is going to think less of you for asking a question.
And trust me. Getting paid for a passion project? The best feeling ever.
2012 was a weighted year. When I got my 1099s for my self-published work in the mail the other day, the amounts added up to a very small sum. Even smaller, once I sit down, do the math, and send money to the writers, illustrators, designers, co-editors and charities owed for the last quarter or two. Having made a somewhat significant sum a few years ago thanks to commercial freelancing, I appreciate the difference between getting paid to write, and getting paid to write what you love.
But what’s left will still be more more than I made on my creative writing in 2011. Which isn’t a bad trend to be following.
Addendum: I asked for some advice re: photography for this entry, because I stress about things like that, and here’s the best response I got.