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:~: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 :~:

Imagine, if you will…

The Call offering a three-book deal with a price tag of $100K.

How would your life change?

Depending on your perspective, that might seem huge—it does to me—but let’s break it down.

From what I understand, advances are typically paid out in thirds as edits are completed and approved. So, you’re not going to get all that money at once. You’ll get it over, say, the course of a year or more.

Now, think about taxes. As a writer, you are considered self-employed. Lucky you, you get nailed with a few extra taxes—self-employment taxes. As a ballpark, let’s say that hundred grand puts you into the 30% tax bracket, and your self-employment taxes for that bracket run at about 15% (I’m taking these rough numbers from a previous year of my own taxes several years ago.).

You’re 100K, just shot down to 65K, doled out over the course of a year or two.

(Of course there are deductions you can employ, shelters you can find to cut down on the amount of taxes you pay, but we’re just playing with numbers here.)

So, here you are with new pressures and time constraints—revisions, edits, promotion, web site maintenance, blogs, fan mail, speaker requests, etc. You have no guarantee for future book deals. At this point, you have no idea how much $ or time your publisher will invest in promotion or how well your book will sell.

The big question: Do you quit your day job?

The answer is as unique as each individual’s circumstances.

For me, quitting the day job is tricky. My job depends on skills which wither when not utilized. Without working consistently, I could see how it would be difficult to find another job if I suddenly needed to go back.

That said, I currently only work part-time, and my income is negligible compared to the $100K (which I would reduce the hell out of via deductions to pay the least possible amount of taxes).

This is what I would probably do:
  • Work the day job only on an emergency need basis (regular girl calls in sick, etc.)

  • Hire a housekeeper

  • Buy those prepared meals to stick in my freezer to feed my family.

  • Employ the skills of a personal coach (at least temporarily) to get myself on track.
    (Home-based self-employment is a lot harder to manage than it sounds—I’ve done it before.)

  • Focus on perfecting craft and storytelling, honing brand and marketing skills in hopes of keeping book deals coming.

Now tell me – how would your life change with a $100K three-book deal? Or how has it changed since you've sold?



Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Not sure, but all good things to think about.

When (thanks, J *wink*) I sell, I'm getting my housecleaner back. I had one for a while after Gremlin #3 came along. It was fabulous. But I gave her up so I could have my gym membership (priorities). Sanity overruled a clean house. I want that office I posted below. If I got a really good deal, I think I might invest in babysitting half days for Gremlin #3 while the others are at school so I could get some major writing done during the day.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Oh, yes -- the office. I forgot about that. We'd remodel our walk-in to become a small office for me. :-) I'd like to add onto the house, but, alas, we do need to pay the bills first.

Babysitting for the little ones is a must, IMO, and good for them socially, too.

12:37 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I'd scale back gradually, depending on my husband's business. I've always got my pseudonym to help, too!

But the doling out part makes that not great living expense material!

I want a housecleaner!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

jkI couldn't give up the teaching career -- like you said, you don't get all the $$$ at one time -- and my kids like to eat, a lot. I'm surviving working on edits and promotion while teaching, so I think I could handle both. (I hope I could handle both, LOL)

In terms of what I would do if I sold at that level?

1) Pay off my student loan (so that money could go into the kids' college funds and I wouldn't have to borrow money to put them through school).
2) Roll a significant amount into CD's or another interest-bearing account. (And pay back what I borrowed from my retirement fund while the DH was unemployed this year)
3) Promo. If I'm selling at the $100K level, then selling again is going to depend on my sell-through (kind of like how my current and future numbers at Samhain would/would not put me in the running for the new Kensington/Samhain imprint). So there needs to be money put toward building a brand, name recognition, etc. So if I want to sell beyond that initial deal -- promo, baby!
4) Spend a week at the beach. :-D

7:07 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Spy -- I want a housecleaner, too!! A MUST HAVE!

8:22 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Lin - Great list! And you could definitely handle both!

8:22 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Good question, Joan. I would get a new car (I so desperately need one LOL), and I think I would do some work on the house. I want to add a 4th bedroom so the boys don't have to share anymore, and one more bathroom. Four people to one bathroom just isn't working very well, especially since the kids are older now and the boys seem to take as long to get ready now as my daughter does.

3:48 AM  

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