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Another One Bites The Dust…

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Posted in: Authorly musings, Authors MIA

I was over at Vanessa Jaye’s when I came across this post.

Apparently Sara Donati, AKA author Rosina Lippi had this message on her blog:

If you were looking for my weblog (called Storytelling), or following a link to a particular post on the weblog, you have landed here because the weblog is not available.

The economic downturn and family circumstances being what they are, I find myself in a position I knew might well come some day — I’m going back on the job market, looking for more traditional employment. This means that I will be putting writing aside for the foreseeable future, and so I’ve taken down the weblog, for the time being at least.

Many of you have followed the weblog for six years, and I’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support. For newer readers, I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to get to know you better.”

That’s kinda sad isn’t it? I didn’t particularly love Donati or her books, but it seems a shame that an author who’s already multi-published is driven to abandon her writing for economic reasons. I’m guessing there’s quite a few authors who have had to abandon their dream of writing in exchange for more traditional ways of earning the mighty dollar.


  • That sucks bigtime. I’m so sorry for her. 🙁 I hope things turn around for her.

    It’s a risk writers take, and that’s why I’ve kept my nursing license active for the past five years.

    I’m fully aware I may have to go back to work fulltime at some point. I frequently help out during the cold/flu season anyway. It takes time away from writing, but I have to keep my hand in with nursing-only way to be prepared if I do have to get back into it.


  • I know the feeling. Last year, I sold many of my hard-to-find keeper books along with personal stuff to make ends meet. This year, while the roofing business is picking up, it’s all re-roofing, which means a lot less time writing because of the running around and paperwork. Also, very tired at end of day. Without a traditional book contract, I’ve considered getting a second job at some point if things don’t pick up. If I had to do that, yeah, no more writing too.


  • As an aspiring writer — I mean aspiring to make somewhat of a living at it, this depresses and worries me. I still can’t tell what percentage of writers — particularly ePubbed writers are making it. This is the second time in a couple weeks that I’ve seen or heard of writers who seem to be successful admitting they can’t make a go of it.


  • Writing as a full-time/long term career isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

    My impression of Sara was that she was established at a certain level where she was almost virtually guaranteed sales/contracts. So it was a shock to read otherwise in her post.

    I also noticed that Anne Fraiser/Theresa Weir (fantastic author!) seems to have the rights back to all (or virtually all) her books. She’s currently working on a memoir, and has a new agent for it, but it was kind of a shock to me to see a single-title book published in 2006 aleady OOP (at least that’s what I think ‘reverted titles’ refers to). :-/

    Gen, as you know, I was sorry for the set-backs you’ve experienced over the last year. Especially hard as your other job was also business-for-self. Here’s to hearing some good news from your agent!

    Shiloh, smart cookie keeping your hand in the game re the nursing. Doesn’t hurt to have a *just in case*. Hopefully you’ll never need resort to plan B.

    As a single mom with a mortgage, kid in university, and plans to retire in 25yrs ::please god & with a decent standard of living:: can’t say I’m in an all fired rush to give up the stability of the regular paycheques and benefits of the day job *at the moment*.

    What’s more, my job has evolved into a niche/boutiquey thing over the years which is great because the current employer pays very well for my skill-set, but might not be so great in finding another company that not only requires those sames skills but is willing to provide the same level of compensation.

    I would definitely be thinking trice, then once more before leaving my current job for any reason, despite the crazy amount of stress (the same ‘stress’ which catch-22-style effects the amount/speed of writing I produce, so no worries about publishers beating down my door offering oodles of money and contracts galore anytime soon.

    I’ve highjacked your post and written more here than in my original post. *g* sorry, Karen.


  • I feel for her and understand the choice she’s had to make. Although I haven’t given up writing, I’ve had to very much push it to the back burner. I work about 60 hours a week at the day job, so I write when I can, but it’s nowhere near as often as I’d like and sometimes weeks go by where I only get a few thousand words on paper. Maybe someday I’ll be able to write full-time, but in this economy, I’m happy to have a job that pays the bills.


  • @MichelleR

    Consider how many NY authors can’t afford to live on their writing income, then multiply it by a hundred or a thousand for epubbed authors.

    There are very few whose epub earnings support them. I’d say less than 1%, if that. No one should go into epublishing expecting to make enough to live on. It can be a very nice addition to outside income, but only if you’re published with the top 2 or maybe 3 epubs. Anything else and you’re basically making chicken scratch.


  • What is the percentage of authors who write full time and don’t need another source of income? This is depressing 🙁


  • It can be a very nice addition to outside income, but only if you’re published with the top 2 or maybe 3 epubs.

    Even if you’re pubbed w/ the top 2 or 3 epubs, you won’t be making much unless you’re one of their top selling writers.


  • Christine Merrill
    October 10
    2:57 pm

    I feel her pain. My husband has been looking for a new job for 8 months now, caught in one of those mass corporate layoffs at the end of last year.

    While, in theory, I might be able to support me, I sure can’t support us. One kid just started college, which means a whole new kind of debt. But it is healthcare that will probably break us, in the end. The old company is jerking us around with the cost of COBRA insurance, which is currently astronomical.

    I have enough books under contract to keep me busy until the end of next year. Instead of writing, I am wondering if I will be stocking shelves in Wal-mart by Christmas.


  • What Nadia said is absolutely true. In addition, new submissions have been flooding the market as people attempt to supplement their incomes through writing. This has, of course, led to increased competition for readership and greatly increased “lag” times between submission and publication.

    I have close to 25 titles available, and royalties for non-release months have been dismal.


  • Throwmearope
    October 10
    6:56 pm

    Christine, it’s the insurer jerking you around by your Cobra. I think Obama has some programs to address that. You should contact your state department of insurance (I think, wish I knew more about the new stuff). If you do work at WalMart, I think part timers get insurance after a year if they average over 20 hrs a week. Best of luck.


  • I almost exclusively lurk here, but add me to the list of authors who have had to put writing on a back burner thanks to a crappy economy and other issues. I didn’t have to go back to work, I have a day job. But I made the decision to go back for my Masters degree in order to remain viable in an ever competitive job market both in the larger scheme of things and with my current employer. It was a tough decision, but necessary. I hope that once I graduate, I’ll be able to start writing again. So I’ll keep my toes in the industry to I won’t have to start completely over again!


  • If she ever reads this – hugs.

    I’ve never been able to give up my day job and I doubt I’ll ever be able to retire unless my health absolutely mandates it. I can’t write nearly as much as I long to, but I can’t stop writing, either. I have to fit it in where I can. It’s been a good supplement but it’s never been enough to quit my day job.

    I’m afraid that even if I started to make enough to quit the day job, would royalties always stay at a level that I wouldn’t have to go back to a day job – but my resume would be out of date.


  • I went back to a day job for other reasons, i.e. I was in a position to get one, after several years of being an Accompanying Spouse. But while my royalties have been a useful second income, money from books has never reached the level where I could actually live on it, even in the UK where I don’t have to worry about medical cover.[*] Even if it did, I’m like Ashley — I don’t see it as a reliable long-term earner, and I already know through experience how difficult it is to find a job after several years out of the job market.

    Which is why it is over a year since my last book came out, and I have no prospect of finishing even a draft manuscript this year. And that’s with two manuscripts that already have four chapters and a solid outline that I could be working on.

    [* The best year, I made enough money that if my house was already paid off and I had no unexpected large bills, I could have easily covered my food and utility bills without having to eat beans every night. But I’d have had no margin for what the insurance companies like to call Acts of God.]


  • Ghetto Diva
    October 12
    2:39 pm

    I’ve worked at my job for 13 years now, and will continue to do so, despite writing for two companies. I do write for the enjoyment and financial part of it, but raising 2 kids, and having to move recently, and the future costs of kids, including private school, college, and bare necessities in life, I don’t see myself leaving my job anytime soon.


  • Unfortunately, I can’t work because of my health. Hell, most days I can barely function or manage to get a single word written. It’s been really hard the last couple of years, but I’m not quite ready to throw the towel in just yet. Good thing I write for the joy of it and not so much for the money, though don’t get me wrong, what little I make from writing does in come very handy. Being a single income family is not easy, but what choice do we have? You can only do what you can do, and my options are severely limited.

    I hate to hear of authors having to give up the writing they so enjoy for any reason. I know how hard it is to ignore the voices and the need to write that story down.


  • Christine,

    Don’t know if you’re coming back to read this, but COBRA should only be 35% of what you normally would pay — there is a credit of 65% that employers can claim. So if your cobra was normally $1000, it should only be $350 as your cost. This program started late last year and should continue through December (and there is rumor of it continuing into next year).

    If your husband’s old employer is not doing this, you need to take action.

    Here’s a link to help you out: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204709,00.html


  • Christine Merrill
    October 12
    6:08 pm

    Don’t know if you’re coming back to read this, but COBRA should only be 35% of what you normally would pay

    The operative word there is “should”. I found out avout that, reading MSNBC and realized we qualified, so I told my husband to check on it.

    Apparently, my husband’s company sent us the info on this, back when we didn’t think we’d need it (we had 6 months of severence at a managable level), and anyway, didn’t really know what it was, so thought it didn’t pertain to us… And the company wasn’t exactly saying ‘Seriously… dude… fill this out!’

    ‘Now,’ since we didn’t act on it ‘then’ they say that we have to appeal, which takes 10 working days to get the form + 30 days to get their decision, which if it is no, will require a lawyer to decide if we have grounds for claiming we were not properly informed… Or if our own stupidity renders us not eligible.

    In the meantime, we must pay, since my initial attempt to ‘just get insurance somewhere else, bite the bullet, pay the premium’ had me declared uninsurable, and has me a little scared to try again.

    Things are complicated, as you can see.


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