A Gift From Grumpy

My press release about SnapSizzleBop and whether the ArtistShare model might work for writers got a plug in Grumpy Old Bookman’s Tuesday’s posting. Grumpy Old Bookman is “A blog about books and publishing, aimed at both readers and writers. Listed by the Guardian as one of the top ten literary blogs.” I am feeling very honored to be mentioned and it gives me hope.

In the same day’s postings he mentions that “Galleycat reports that some established writers are finding it preferable to go with smaller publishers. Little or no advance, but better attention and maybe more money at the end.”

I read about this in Publishers Weekly too. It’s all well and good for best-selling authors, or writers whose books fit the fad-of-the month, or for hobbyists who have a different career and write in their spare time. And it’s especially great for re-issues of out-of-print books. In other words, if day-to-day survival as a writer is not of concern, then it’s wonderful. But it is not of any help to those who need to be paid for their work in the here-and-now.

So how do book writers survive? Some take on commercial writing tasks (writing press releases, business plans, and such), some write freelance articles, some line up speaking engagements (and sell their books too), some do editing and/or teach classes, and some hope to win grants, fellowships, and contests. Some try all of the above. These are just the first few answers that come to mind. Of course, you all know my hopes are vested in the ArtistShare solution over at SnapSizzleBop.com.

It would be nice to receive a grant or fellowship, but Brian Camelio, the founder of ArtistShare has been raising my consciousness about matters of patronage. While a gift, grant, or commission can bring financial relief, albeit temporary, there is nothing good about feeling beholden. And that feeling of debt, coupled with mandatory gratitude, is not a cocktail that enables creativity. I’m giving these matters some serious thought and no doubt will soon have more to say on the subject.

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