Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For love or money?!

by Jude Mason

This may wind up as a bit of a ramble, so be prepared folks.

As with many authors, I've always been a story teller. I began when I was too young to read creating little plays for the neighborhood kids to perform for captive audiences of squirming parents, who I'm sure would have strangled me a time or two. But, even then, as innocent as I may have been, my goal was to please those watching. If they didn't clap and cheer, which was my payment at the time, I was devastated.

Moving on a few years to when I sat in English class sopping up every little word the tall skinny teacher graced us with. Okay, this was more than a few years, we're talking a dozen of them. By the time I got to grade 12 English class, I'd already filled dozens of books with my scribblings. Free verse poetry, pages of angst filled plots. More pages of the blossoming BDSM writer who had no idea that was a genre or even an acceptable thing to write about. That one English teacher fanned the spark when he handed out the years assignment. Write a book. Didn't have to be all one story, but it had to fill one of those scribblers we used in the later grades.

I adored all that year of creative writing and learning. Was I paid? Not monetarily, to be sure. But the approval of that teacher, and the few eager young people who somehow shared my passion for the written word all sitting wide-eyed while small snippets of what I'd written were read out. That, for me, meant more than if he'd handed me a thousand dollars. Later, when he'd graded all of the books we'd written, he kept me back when returning them to their rightful owners. He said, 'All writers are a little crazy. They have to be to create the worlds and characters living in their books.' He gave me my book and said, not to give it up.

Payment? You betcha.

I never submitted anything after that until I got online. I didn't understand how to and I was still very unsure of the genre I wrote in. Nasty stuff, BDSM stuff. Old men, sitting in smoke filled flophouses wrote that stuff, right? Not respectable wives and mothers. The approval I craved, well that wasn't an issue. I thought I would just continue writing for myself and dream about being published. The payment for this part of my 'writing career' was really just the opportunity to spread my wings and write exactly what I wanted to. No censor.

When I got online, it didn't take long before I found a nice writing group and discovered there were people who loved what I wrote. The payment there was simply the audience. I wrote pretty much what I pleased, but when the occasional fan would suggest something, I'd be in heaven and instantly drop everything to write what they'd asked about. A publisher approached me and asked if I'd ever thought about submitting, and the rest, as they say was history.

Royalties were small, but for the first time I really understood what my dream was all about. Submitting, waiting, being accepted, contracts, editing, re-writes, proofing, all that and more. It was a huge learning curve and I didn't even get the full meal deal (I so hope that's not a copyrighted bit) The cover I had on my first couple of books was a generic thing. The actual edits weren't nearly as in depth as I needed. The wait time was horrendous, but only in my imagination. The day the book came out, I was so excited I couldn't eat. Being paid for work I'd have done for nothing was huge. I mean, how many people in this world adore their jobs and would really do them for nothing?

Do I write for money or love? My answer to this is 'YES!' To me, genre is simply different things to play with. I have tackled most genres and sub-genres over the years and they're honestly just different ways to play with characters and tell their stories. Right now, m/m is hot. I love m/m stories, always have, so I've gladly dived in and written a few of them, alone and with my writing partner.

I've heard tell that femdom may be the next biggie. I adore femdom and have written that since I was... never mind, too young to be writing femdom. LOL! The paycheck is lovely. But, if a reader lets me know they liked this or that, the paycheck is just nice, the reader is my payment. He or she is who I've always wanted to please. Having one, or more of them, tell me I did something right, or they want something else, that's a huge part of why I send stories to publishers.

I'd love to hear what you've got to say about this post. Anyone, readers or writers.

Hugs

14 comments:

  1. Hi Jude,

    Great post.

    "...if a reader lets me know they liked this or that, the paycheck is just nice, the reader is my payment."

    To me, this says it all.

    Best,

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  2. Leave it to Jude to answer a multiple choice question with "yes!" LOL

    Seriously, I know what you mean. There has to be a bit of both love and money in there. A couple times, recently in fact, we've been asked to write something that possibly wasn't at the top of our 'love it' list, but we did because we're loyal that way, and want to support our publishers and show that we are indeed team players.

    Sheesh, now who's rambling?

    Great post, Jude.

    Jenna

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ash,

    Yup, I coulda just typed in that line and called it a day. LOL Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to see what you add to this conversation.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Jenna,

    But, but... sigh. Okay, so I ramble. You gotta admit, it was kinda an okay read though, right? Wimp, whine!

    Thanks lady. You're right. We do bend a little for publishers or fans we love. But, again, it's fun to stretch your own boundaries, see if you can go in different directions. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm in a shortage of love and money lately and I NEED TO SELL MORE BOOKS so while I love to read what reviewers have to say about my book, I need to build a bigger fan base, that's just the reality of book sales these days. Like the writer Kate Braverman once said, 'I am addicted to writing now. I truly don't know what else I can do.' I love mentoring young people so I teach College-Essay writing seminars and I go into classrooms to talk about writing. Here's what I tell them: I really like my writing. I believe in my writing. To be successful you need to do your best every day for a very long time. So on the love or money seesaw, I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. Fun post, Jude...Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author, 'The Shadow of a Dog I Can;t Forget' and the upcoming novel, 'Night Surfing'

    ReplyDelete
  6. Believe me, no one is happier than I am to hear you listen to your readers. I love your stories. You are a fabulous story teller.
    With that said, have you ever considered a sequel for Rick and Cass? I didn't want Pink Ribbon to
    end.
    I just counted, I have over 30 PDFs
    written by Jude Mason and her writing partner (hi,Jenna!) I'd
    say I was a fan. LOL
    Hugs and kisses

    ReplyDelete
  7. I always taking whatever they offer, sometimes too little, rarely too much. I didn't get into this business of writing to get rich and my yearly salary proves that. But I love to write and pursue my ideas knowing I'll never get rich but I just might eh? Why not? ;)))

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jude, thank you for the great post and for proudly proclaiming that the answer is both! Back when I was in college, I wrote a paper for Egyptian paper. I was a lot bored and ended up writing about history with material that encompassed various movies as well. When I recieved it back, he had written that I was a great storyteller and gave me a great grade for doing something different that was relevent to the course. Thank you Jude, for reminding me that when I write to remember that I AM A STORYTELLER. And somewhere out there people are going to want to read what I write.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Word Actress, I think many of us feel a little desperate, or a lot desperate, to make more so our bills get paid. I know right now it's huge for me. I write because I love it, it's who I am to a large degree, but with the economy and what we've been dealing with at home, I need to make as much as I can.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this. Good luck with your work!

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Pat,

    OMG, Rick and Cass. Now there's a couple of very interesting people. Here I thought you loved Ambassador Sloan and his lady, Amanda.

    There are always people I'd love to go back to and add more to their stories. Yes, Rick and Cass have more to say, and I do love the way they interacted too. I'll do my best.

    Glad you enjoyed. 30 books... OMG

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mick,

    Sometimes knowing you won't get rich gives you the freedom to write whatever you love to write. But, don't let it limit you to accepting less than you are worth.

    Jeeze that sound prophetic doesn't it? I've read some of your work, you have an amazing talent.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  12. Shoon Joining, Ambassador Sloan?
    OMG are you already planning a
    sequel for your Sci-fi novel. You
    know Sci-fi is my favorite genre.
    But you were talking about FemDom
    which made me think of Rick and Cass and how I didn't want their story to end. LOL Maybe I'm the one who needs to "Get a Grip".
    Your stories make me happy.
    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOL Pat, making people happy is my goal. Whether they get a little turned on along with the happy is a good thing too.

    Yeah, I jumped genres. I'm an author, I'm allowed, right?

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sharon,

    I'm not sure how you're post snuck in there, but I really want to respond to it.

    I was called a storyteller long before I was called an author. I loved the title and still do. I don't speak super well, but the story ideas are always there, thank heaven. Those are what makes us different, in my opinion.

    I'm so glad this gave you a boost.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete