Hopeful authors are frequently told not to write for money because the chances are they’ll never see much of it. But sometimes this seems to get misinterpreted as meaning authors shouldn’t expect to be paid.
I once saw someone tell a young aspiring author that they’d lost all respect for them because the young author hoped to make money from their work. I’ve seen people say it’s okay to steal books because the authors shouldn’t be writing for the money anyway.
When people tell authors they shouldn’t be writing for they money, they mean the authors shouldn’t be writing JUST for the money.
Because authors, as a general rule, earn very, very little. Telling people this is not to discourage them, it to open their eyes to the financial reality of writing. It is not sneering at them because they hope to make money from their writing. That is not okay.
Why shouldn’t an author expect to be paid? They work hard on their books. Artists aren’t expected to give their paintings away for free. Photographers don’t offer their services for free. Just because something is a vocation doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve payment.
And what about those authors who are lucky enough to write full-time? For some people writing is their sole source of income. It’s the only way they can pay the bills, put food on the table, and clothe their kids. For some people writing is a job.
When you do your job, you get paid for it. Imagine going to do your job, working for eight or more hours straight, and then being told you don’t deserve to get paid because you shouldn’t be working for the money. Would you be pissed? Damn right you would.
Authors deserve to be paid. It doesn’t matter if they write every day or only release one book every few years. If anyone out there thinks authors don’t deserve to be paid, I challenge you to write a book – to spend years actually learning how, to spend months working on your manuscript, to put your heart and soul into it, and then be told you don’t deserve paying for it.
Authors weave magic in their pages. They take us out of their mundane lives and whisk us away on fantastical adventures. They give us friends to laugh, cry, and fall in love with. They take us to places we never thought we could go. They touch us in way we couldn’t imagine.
How can anyone not want to pay them for bringing so much joy into our lives?