What is a writer worth? (Repost… because I’m lazy like that.)

The typical scene after a writer cashes his first royalty check.

So what does a blogger do when he runs out of things to say?  He reposts old blog entries.  This is from February 12, 2008, the day John Scalzi shook my world and actually announced how much money he made as writer.  Totally insane and undeniably educational!

Ever wonder what a working writer makes? Wonder no more. John Scalzi, winner of the John W. Campbell Award and a Hugo Award nominee, gives a very revealing look into the finances of a working writer. Along with letting you peer into his wallet, he also gives you some salient advice on how to manage your money and stay out of credit hell. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s possible to make a good amount of money as a writer. Most writers don’t. You should assume, strictly for business purposes, that you won’t, or at the very least, won’t for a very long time. It’s not all about you, it’s also about the market. Don’t get defensive. The median personal income in the US in 2005 was $28,500. You have a lot of company in the bottom half.

It’s a long article (or posting or whatever you call a blog entry), but it is well worth the read. John is a very successful writer. The key to his success is beyond being an exceptional novelist he is also a gun for hire. By his own admission, he will write most anything as long as the money is good. Click here to read the entire post, and I would also make it a habit to visit John’s blog on a regular basis. He’s got a lot to say and most of it is worth listening to.

If you’ve never read any of Scalzi’s books, I recommend Old Man’s War. It’s a military sci-fi novel, but the writing is good enough to make it enjoyable even if you’re not into that particular genre.

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I Got a Publishing Deal!

"The Singing Rodeo Clown!"

"The Singing Rodeo Clown!"

Well, it finally happened. I got an offer to publish my memoir. I had given up hope on ever getting it published because it is a 900,032 word document about my time spent as a rodeo clown/folk singer from March 1986 to later in March 1986. Because of the extremely controversial nature of the book, the publishing company wishes to remain partially anonymous. They said I can give the second and third letter of the second word of their publishing house name. So, let me just say that I am very happy to part of “ub’s” family. They have an almost stellar reputation, and have been known to have several books on the New York Times’ Bestseller list. To be clear, they actually own copies of books that were on the bestseller list. They didn’t publish them. They have already assigned my manuscript to the same editor that wanted to edit Paris Hilton’s memoir, and the marketing team has already started “Twittering” up the book. Here’s the latest “Tweet.”

PartiallyAnonymousPublishingCompany: Just signed some clown to publish his dense and unreadable memoir. Buying gun and bullets tonight to end my misery.

You can’t buy publicity like that. Dense and unreadable? They totally get me. They’ve asked me to cut the steamy scenes or as they call them, “the disgusting sex scenes that caused them to projectile vomit.” That means the book will now come in at an even 900,000 words.

Yea for me, and APRIL FOOLS!


Change is the theme for the day.  I’ll get into more details later, but for now, enjoy the one  and only Bob Dylan singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”  I’ve posted Ben Sollee’s version here before, and I like it the best out of all the remakes and covers.  But Dylan is the one who inspired “A Change is Gonna Come.”  It’s cool to see him singing the song in a tribute to Sam Cooke.    And yes, it does sound like Dylan is gargling glass while he’s signing, but that’s what makes Dylan Dylan.

I’m Not a Stalker – An Open Letter to John Scalzi

SciFi at its best!

SciFi at it's best!

Dear John,

I hope all is well. We exchanged greetings at this year’s BEA, and I may have given you the impression that I am a stalker. I’m not. I realize that no stalker thinks they’re a stalker, but I promise you I’m not. Allow me to explain. First, why you may have gotten the impression that I am a stalker:

I walked up to your signing table at BEA just as your session ended. I had a signing right after you. I introduced myself to you and you very kindly offered to give me a signed copy of Zoe’s Tale. I happily said “Yes.” While you were signing the book, I said the following; “You don’t understand. I talk about you every day.” To which my friend and co-worker said in a very exasperated voice, “Yes, he does.” Before I could explain why I talk about you every day, I was called away to tend to something behind the curtain. I never had a chance to explain why a 42-year-old man talks about you every day.

Any reasonable adult male may have been creeped out by hearing that another adult male talks about him every day. My friend and co-worker who was there even confirmed that I came off quite stalkerish.

Now, let me explain why I’m not a stalker. My job (beyond the author gig) is helping author’s develop marketing strategies for their books. I advise them on how to build a community around themselves and their book. I use your blog as an example. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of the Old Man’s War universe, and once I get through with some of my own projects I plan on jumping into Zoe’s Tale. And if I were ever to stalk someone you would be on my list. But in this case, I am merely turning authors onto your blog so they can see how a blog should be implemented and managed.

So, sleep tight. I’m not a crazed fan.


R.W. Ridley