I had two books going recently, one nonfiction and one fiction.
SCRATCH was a mostly fascinating collection of essays from writers of all stripes talking about the money part of writing. You know, making a living.
As Vladimir Nabokov said, “I write for my pleasure, but publish for money.” As J. Robert Lennon remarks in his essay, “this philosophy seems unambiguously useful: fiscally pragmatic and mojo-positive.”
Money is something we don’t really discuss, which in her essay Choire Sicha might be because “writers cleave off from the real world, where math actually exists. Many of us gleefully profess an incompetence with all kinds of numeric systems, up to and including taxes. If you ever want to see something sad, ask a room full of freelance writers about their tax strategies. It’s like asking a pack of baby kittens about space travel.”
But the most illuminating one for me was the interview with Cheryl Strayed in which she speaks very candidly about her money issues. She describes being on tour promoting her wildly successful bestseller, WILD, and having her rent check bounce.
I don’t think most writers understand the money part of publishing, and I’m sure non-writers don’t. This book can fix that.
The second book I just finished was from my friend Gretchen Archer.
She writes an absolutely hilarious series of capers set in the world of casinos. DOUBLE DOG DARE is her latest, but I suggest you begin with her first and savor your way through.