I’m working on an article about publishing for children during the recession. I’d like to add a sidebar of tips from other children’s authors.
How does the recession affect the way you approach your writing business?
Will you do things differently? If so, what and why?
Will you write different things? If so, what and why?
What personal recession survival tactics can you share with other writers?
Thanks in advance!
My rules for survival:
1. Diversify income sources
2. Reduce debt
3. Plant a big garden
4. Don’t panic
Does it work?
Ask me in 2 years…
And um, no– don’t think I’ll be writing different things. Except to the degree that life experience affects my writing. For instance, one of the characters in my nano project is dealing with financial losses due to the economic collapse. But otherwise,no– I still write what I’m driven to write, and probably always will.
Ack – I missed saying thank you for these great tips!
No problem– I’d forgotten I even posted! Life is hectic!
Reduce debt is important, for any freelancer at any time.
John Scalzi posted some really smart financial advice for writers, in general:
As for plant a big garden, I think this is a great idea not just to grow veggies, but to deal with “4. Don’t panic.” It’s important to stay grounded and continue to do non-writing (or income-earning) things.
Even in a crisis/recession, very important to enjoy life/ourselves as much as possible, even if a small thing in the midst of other stresses.
Yeah… read that Scalzi article– it was very good!
Our issue with debt is that my husband came early to the job losses thing(last Feb), and started his own business making acoustic hand carved instruments, which required some tools and supplies. *lots* of tools and supplies*. Heh.
Bad timing, yes.
But I expect we’ll survive…
And if it all works, it’s going to seriously improve our quality of life as a family.
We’ll make it work.
I’ve always tried to diversify in my writing, since the writing world is almost always cyclical and each genre has its ups and downs. Sometimes I publish more sci-fi, sometimes more kidzbooks, sometimes even more poetry, depending on where each separate genre is in its cycle (some years, poetry amounted to 10-25% of my annual income, which is either an indication of a peak in the cycle or how low my freelance earnings were!). Right now I think it’s a very tight market in the US almost across the board, and I don’t think is going to change for a while.
Lately, I’m doing much more translation work (Spanish into English) instead of only relying on my own writing.
Which has the benefit of freeing me to write what I want, even if it is less commercial, because I am looking outside of my writing to pay rent and all. I therefore think the recession (and the slowing down of the urgency to publish constantly) will be good for me, creatively if not economically.
I don’t really write what are considered “breakout” books, and I accept that, since I’m comfortable writing the “midlist” titles that I write. So I can either try and write something else to chase after the market (at a time when the market is in much turmoil) or I can sit tight for a while (turning to other genres or sources of income) and perhaps try and publish what I want to write with independent houses when things settle down.
As a full-time freelancer, I’ve always tried to stay ahead of what I’m currently earning. This is especially necessary now since I think clients may be slower than usual to pay up, since I think the entire chain is being affected (bookstores slower to pay distributor, distributor slower to pay publisher or depending on volume of returns, not paying at all in some cycles).
Thanks for all this great feedback, Lawrence. I did use a lot of it for the article.
Glad it was useful.
Let us know when the article is out!
This probably won’t help much, since I think (HOPE!) that I’m actually lucky with where I’m at–which you know already! I’m trying to focus on the fact that the whole publishing cycle is so long that I may not be hit too hard by what’s going on right now. Still trying to get an agent for my fiction (I should fill you in on that offline!), and writing a book that has a May deadline. Mostly what I’m doing is sending out a lot of “Pleases” to the universe that this book stays in the publishing loop and doesn’t end up getting dropped, also that there are agents out there still, maybe more slowly, building lists for when we DO come out of this.
So a lot of wishing?
It’s not really a recession tip, but last year I was so focused on my freelancing that my personal writing projects suffered. I’m going to use this recession and complete lack of WFH projects as a time to really work on my other projects.
And I got a second job but temporary part-time job as a music teacher. 🙂
You’re right, it’s good to remember balance.
And if you can get a second job doing something else that you love, all the better!
I’m offering to hold my 2008 rates for visits through June 2009 to librarians in neighboring towns.
My advice would be not to put all your eggs in one basket. Now is the time to diversify. Plant seeds in other gardens you might not have considered before. What pops up might surprise you.
I also plan on using any WFH downtime to work on other projects that I haven’t had time for.
Holding down your rates is also a good idea. Thanks for sharing.
I, too, plan to hold my school visit rates steady. I haven’t raised them in a couple of years, and ordinarily, I would. I was also considering cutting down to 3 programs a day (instead of 4). But not now!
As for writing, I feel a bit more pressure to stay on deadline and to make sure the drafts that I send in are REALLY polished (i.e., less editing, copyediting, etc.)
Thanks Barbara, I quoted you in the article!
What personal recession survival tactics can you share with other writers?
I’ve been following your blog along with several others that deal with writing and know that you are looking for information from writers about writing for children in the recession. What prompted me to write this is this question you posed.
“What personal recession survival tactics can you share with other writers?”
Brandilyn Collins submitted an article to her blog http://forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/2008/12/homeless-mom-and-daughter-need-help.html Homeless Mom and Daughter need Help, so I went to link on the blog that shows the daughters blog http://destinationanywherebuthere.blogspot.com/, and I thought that it would be of interest to you.
The sixteen-year-old girl writes of their nightly experience, through a free internet service and wifi where she can catch it or 20 minutes on a computer at internet café after watching and add. She and her mother were evicted from their apartment.
I know this article is about writing and yet when you think about it the young girl writing a daily experience of what it’s like in a recession.
I do hope there is something you might use from this child’s experience that might help them as well.
Thank You, one of your avid followers,
From A Writer’s Group Blog http://awritersgroup.blogspot.com/
Hi! I’m from over at Anywhere But Here (destinationanywherebuthere.blogspot.com).
1) Because of my situation, I haven’t much had a chance to write. >_<;; So, I guess I write when I have time and am not stressed out. ^_^
2) I will try to be less stressed out when we get settled. (ha ha :P) And I will possibly spoil my chihuahuas for being so good during all this.
3) I don’t think so, except people say I could write a book about my experience and I think that’s a possibility. ^_^
4) I would say do something that relieves stress–for me it’s drawing and cuddling my dogs. And thinking about things I could write about… ^_^