Apologies, blog readers - missed Thursday's post due to a brief stay in hospital with my son. Fortunately he's OK...and you still get to read this, even if it's a couple of days late!
There's been a lot of press recently about authors who expect to be paid for attendance at events and festivals.
Many authors who make their living from their writing charge for their appearances, whether it's at a school, a writing festival or writing conference. And quite rightly so, I think, because words are their bread and butter. These folk pay their bills with the books they sell and every event attended is more time where they can't get those words on the page to sell in the future. It's treating writing as a business.
Which I find puts me, personally, into a bit of a quandary...
To date, I have had five short stories published. (And a competition winning limerick. I won £50 for that!) I have made no money at all from the five stories; they were all written because I was keen to use my talent to raise money for charities. My words for free - my choice.
In the words of Mr Squidge, 'This writing lark's an expensive hobby.'
I'd like to think I could make money from writing books and stories. It won't be mega bucks - at least I'm realistic on that score. But one day, it would be nice to be in credit re writing rather than always in debit.
So - why am I wittering about payment for authors then? Well, it's because I'm beginning to get recognition as an author. Not in a massive way - not even really outside of my circle of friends - but a couple of those friends who work in schools have suggested that I go in and talk to the kids about writing. (Especially as literacy levels in this country continue to fall.)
My problem is that I don't feel my work to date justifies charging anyone to have me talk about it - heck, I do it for free all the time to anyone that'll listen! That's why I blog! But neither do I want to undermine the fabulous authors who give talks and make visits as part of their career - and charge for it. (I've experienced a few talks and believe me - those authors earn every penny of their fee.)
The only thing I feel comfortable doing, at least until I have a product of my own to sell and *fingers crossed* make money from, is charging only if I am going to be expected to run a workshop. Reading a story to a class comes free - but preparing a classroom session will cost.
It's an uncomfortable choice and I expect that asking for payment will probably reduce the number of opportunities I'm offered, but I think I owe it to my fellow authors not to give away for free what they are paid to do.
Just don't come back to me and say that exposure of any kind helps to raise my profile of a committed author and I should be glad to do it for free...
Because I can't eat publicity.