Sunday, 16 November 2014
Here's a particularly good article on the issue in the Toronto Star by Deborah Dundas, Can you afford to be a writer?, posted on FB this week by John Degen, Executive Director of the Writer's Union of Canada. And a good roundup of the discussion by Access Copyright here, "Education Fair Dealing"
Sean Michaels' debut novel won the Giller Prize last week, which was newly bumped up to $100,000 from $50,000 in previous years. Rick Mercer, the host of the evening, asked Mr. Michaels beforehand what he'd do with the money if he won. Mr. Michaels thought for a moment then answered, "Probably live off of it for 10 years." There you have it: writers living off $10,000 a year. Mr. Michaels says that his preferred writing venue is a coffee shop near his home, very low overhead there and he likes the distraction! (It's a lonely job to be a writer, for sure!)
$10,000 a year. It doesn't sound like much, and yes, it's always great when we earn more, but as author Evan Munday (who also works in a bookstore part-time) says in the Toronto Star article above, writing is something that we expect to do for as long as we can, because we have to tell stories. I have musician friends who say pretty much the same thing, they aren't in music for the money, but their creative drive insists on it. I have artist friends who say the same thing, too. We have to feed our families, of course, we have to be paid, but with or without big paycheques involved, we'd be doing this work of writing down stories either full-time, part-time, or in stolen quiet moments on Saturday afternoons while the kids are visiting with friends. In other words, we'd be writing, with or without the funding. Art will out, and for all of the dedicated writers I know, we find a way.
Here's an earlier blog post about my circuitous journey to becoming an author of children's books:
Becoming a children's author, part one
Friday, 7 November 2014
"I really enjoyed your book. It really was my taste. It was mysterious, adventurous, and creepy. I loved the giant flies. Sometimes I just sit on a hot summer day on my porch and let the flies land on me." 11-year-old fan #2
It's been a busy week, so this is a quick catch-up post. First of all, many thanks to a wonderful librarian who hand-delivered these two fan letters for Jake and the Giant Hand last night at the TD Children's Literature awards. It was a great surprise to have her find me in the (quite enormous) crowd, then give me these two really sweet letters. That's a first! I'm always so thankful when a librarian introduces my work to young readers, of course, but it's really, really amazing when they reach out to me with feedback. It's one of the best parts of being a children's author. Thank you to both young readers, too. Really sweet.
Also, here is a really good interview about Jake and the Giant Hand, on my publisher's website. If you want to know how I came up with the idea, you'll find the answers in this interview!
Finally, reviews are coming in and people are loving the book. Find some great reviews here on Goodreads.
Also the awesome 49th Shelf folks listed Jake and the Giant Hand as a top Halloween book for kids last week, See the complete list here.
The next book in the series, Myles and the Monster Outside, is now in the production and editorial process, and it's promising to be just as creepy and weird. Stay tuned!