So, first of all, I'm running a contest, because I've never run a contest before and it sounds fun. The prize will be Volumes 1-3 of TARDIS Eruditorum (Volume 1 in its first edition state, obviously, as that's the one that exists) in ebook format.
Entering is simple - you just come up with the best possible title for a Doctor Who story in the format The _____ of the _____. Post in comments. You can go for funny or sincere, and any sort of story - judging criteria will strictly be what catches my fancy.
One interesting note, though - collaboration is encouraged; you can win just as well by tinkering with someone else's suggestion. And if a tinkered version of your suggestion wins, both you and the tinkerer will win the prize. So if someone suggested the (actually quite rubbish) title The Terror of the Giraffes, and you came along and said, "actually, I think that would be much better as The Horror of the Giraffes" then, if I agreed, both you AND the person who came up with The Terror of the Giraffes would win a set of ebooks. You thus lose nothing at all by having people tinker with your titles. You may also tinker with other tinkerings as desired.
Limit of two initial entries. Entries based on tinkering other entries are currently unlimited, though if someone annoys me I'll change that rule.
I'll post the winners on Tuesday, along with other favorites. Second of all, then, I have an idea.
Virtually everyone writing with advice for writers these days makes much of the fact that the market is changing and blah blah blah. I imagine the same is true for other creative pursuits. But there's very little information on the pragmatic reality of being a professional writer - what sort of markets and forms people's "real money" comes from, and just, broadly speaking, information on the working conditions of writers. I can find a few individual discussions - authors here or there who go into detail on their royalty statements - but the market is so idiosyncratic that a few datapoints aren't useful.
And what I really can't find are questions like, for instance, do writers tend to make their money by getting small royalty checks off multiple books that add up, do they live entirely off new releases, do they get one hit that keeps them going for a long time, or what? And how does it work for other media?
So I wanted to just set up a nice, informal survey in the hopes that I can get a bunch of answers and compile them into something that paints a decent picture of how working creators make their money. To that end, if you are a professional creator and don't mind shooting me an e-mail with the answers to a few questions, please do.
Let's define professional creator subjectively - if a significant portion of your household income comes from your creative work, you qualify. So if you sold a short story for $75 but that's it, you're below the threshold I'm interested in here, but if you've got, say, a $8k a year Etsy shop selling knitted space aliens, please do reply.
Answer as many or as few questions as you feel comfortable with as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable.
- What media do you work in? (Writing, illustration, music...)
- How would you describe your lifestyle? ("Solidly middle class," "$80k a year," "I can get dinner on the table most nights"...)
- Does your creative work provide a majority of your household income? (Yes, no, 23% of it...)
- What aspect of your creative work provided the largest share of your income last year? (Merchandise from your webcomic, writing Star Wars novels, concerts...)
- Do you own the copyright on most of your creative work? (Yes, no, some complicated middle ground...)
- What do you consider the start of your professional creative career?
- Any advice for an aspiring creator in your medium/media?
- Can I use your name, or would you like to be anonymous?
I've created a dedicated e-mail address to compile these, so please send answers to whatcreatorsdo at gmail. I don't know exactly what I'll do with the data yet - it depends on what kind of response I get. But I'll find some useful way of compiling it.
(For the moment I'm not looking to spread the word about this. If I get a decent set of answers to start I'll probably look into spreading the word, but for now I'll just take any professional creators among my regular readers and make "hey, can you get the word out about this" a project for later, and likely for a post that's not half a contest to win my ebooks.)
And, of course, as ever, how's your weekend?
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