Novel Writers - Salary
By: John Halasz
A novel writer's salary varies greatly. If you intend to pursue a career as a novel writer, understand that it requires a great deal of patience and learning as well as a business sense. Most first-time novel writers either do not complete their novel or end up selling their novel for a meager amount of money in order to see it published. If you have just completed your first novel or intend to write and sell a novel, read the following sections to become more prepared at monetizing your novel.
A Novel writer's salary is paid in one of the following ways. They either receive a royalty, which is a percentage of the price for which each copy sells or they earn a predetermined flat fee regardless of the number of copies sold. The royalty is decided when the writer and the publisher draw a contract and varies greatly based on the publisher and the popularity of the writer. However, the most common figures are about10 percent of the sales. In 2010, The New York Times reported that the average advance for a novel is $30,000. In order to receive any commissions, the novelist must first recoup the advance.
In the past, publishers decided the royalty based on the actual retail price of a copy. However, these days, the novel writer's salary is a royalty based on the net price at which the books are sold to bookstores, which is the discounted rate. Though the publisher has the final say, the novel writer's salary can be increased through successful negotiation.
Regardless of a novel writer's experience and reputation, he or she will earn a royalty based on the number of copies sold. As such, if you are a first timer and the publishers are offering a low advance and a fair royalty, there is no need to hesitate. Remember that a first timer is always a risk for publishers and that the advance is only a minor part of the royalty.
A novel writer's salary may also be paid as a flat fee. This mode of payment is common when you are one among several writers who are writing for a series, if you are working on a licensed character, or if you are writing a TV tie-in novel. While royalties can keep you financially safe for a very long time, a single, flat chunk of fees can come in handy at times.
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Becoming A Novel Writer
By: John Halasz
The challenge of becoming a novel writer is often misperceived by aspiring novel writers. Some future novel writers perceive it as easier than it is and others think it is next to impossible. There is also a common misconception that avid readers can easily write a novel. Although reading certainly helps, like other forms of art, appreciating the art is different than creating the art.
Thanks to the easy availability of information on the Internet, many aspiring writers think they have mastered the craft of writing a novel. However, all those websites with tips and tricks for becoming a novel writer, including this one, can only teach the structure, techniques, and format of writing a novel. While learning these components are certainly a necessity, they are not a substitute for practice. The style of novel and the intricacies and nuances which make a novel unique and popular are dependent on the writer's imagination.
Novels are comprised of one or more protagonists who fight for a cause and one or more antagonists with whom they struggle, forming the crux of the novel. However, the manner in which the characters are developed, the portrayal of the most important scenes, and the relevance of the content are all important in making the novel a success.
Early novels followed a linear structure and had characters communicating in bookish language rather than in colloquial language. However, writers such as Alexander Pushkin introduced characters who spoke in vernacular, making the characters more real and thereby conquering a large readership. Several successful novel writers have developed such maverick writing techniques in their effort to create a niche for themselves.
At a time when it was a common practice to write about superficial themes, Philip K. Dick wrote about abstractions and the human perception of identity. He also questioned the widely-accepted definition of reality. All his novels were metaphysical by nature and presented a dystopian picture of the world with dark themes such as drug abuse and schizophrenia. Apparently, he used his unusual (almost supernatural) experiences on his way of becoming a novel writer.
Likewise, the narrative technique, 'Stream-of-consciousness', which was introduced by douard Dujardin in Les Lauriers sont coups (English: The Laurels are cut), has been widely used by various authors in their novels. Employing such unusual narrative techniques can immensely in becoming a novel writer and gaining recognition.
If you need a place which suits the setting of your novel and you have been unable to find any such place, you may create a new, imaginary location where the entire novel takes place. Again, this is not a new technique and has been famously used by several authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. However, if you can successfully portray the location as an important part of the novel, you are likely to taste more success in becoming a novel writer
Finally, remember that only after a story is born can you build it across genres or constrain it to a specific genre. Starting to write with a specific genre can be fatal to your creative skills and your novel. Though learning about different styles can be helpful, they can be equally destructive if adapted blindly. Practice and feedback will help you develop your own writing style.
Can Ebooks Compete With Traditional Books? The Good, Bad and Ugly Side of Ebooks and Books
Tech geeks have long ago predicted that with online e-commerce, your traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores would soon go the way of the dodo bird. Online book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble took some time to take off but eventually nibbled a substantial share of the book-loving markets going to corner bookstores to buy books. But the traditional bookstores didn't die. Some may have closed shop but for reasons less attributable to the emerging online commerce.
Then came the eBooks, those non-editable electronically digitized books and reference manuals often downloaded on the internet in PDF file formats, had pundits extolling its virtues and likewise predicting the demise of the printed matter. To a large extent, they sounded no different from those who have predicted the death of the LP albums with the advent of the music CD and MP3s. For a while, they did disappear in music stores, but a niche market has been thriving for music lovers who consider analog records superior to digital ones.
Books vs eBooks
Will the same path be reserved for the printed books? They probably won't go that route. Then again, it may be too early to tell. There are indications that point to the advantages and disadvantages of either. Here are some.:
-While many book lovers find hardbound books a joy to behold and read, paperbacks are hardly a joy to read as they require some effort to maintain open the page you are reading. eBook readers, especially the likes of Kindle which has no backlighting to strain the eyes, have made reading any paperback novel effortless.
-You need batteries to use an eBook reader. And we all know that batteries have a way of dying on you when you need them the most. Unless you have a bagful of spare batteries, the printed book wins hands down when you have to read books in an extended camping trip or when vacationing out in the boondocks or remote pristine island that has no electricity.
-When you drop a book, there's nothing to fret about. When you drop an eBook reader, you can say goodbye to whatever you are reading and its contents.
-Reading a book makes you look intellectual. Reading an eBook in a Kindle or iPad makes you look cool.
-There are no free books from bookstores. The best deal can be had in thrift bookstores where you can get a buy-one-take-one deal or get a title for a few cents. But there are free eBooks of titles in the public domain. These are often your titles of great literary masterpieces.
-Corollary to the above, eBook readers open up literary hundreds of thousands of book titles at your fingertips which you can download within seconds or minutes depending on the file size. You also have the ability to search with instantaneous speeds. Try that in a corner neighborhood bookstore.
-An eBook reader costs a lot more than a book, typically 10x to 20x more. You will need to get at least 10 titles stored in it to break even. But that's not a problem with the new generation of eBook readers that allow you to store hundreds if not thousands of titles in its memory. You can also go virtual 'cloud computing' where the titles are stored in remote servers and any eBook reader that supports the format can read them wherever you go and using someone else's eBook reader.
Writer's Block? Try Doing Something New!
I loved college. I was learning new things everyday, both inside and outside the classroom. I took everything from astronomy to modern dance. I got my first apartment and had to learn how to cook for myself and support myself. I took the opportunity to study abroad - in Zimbabwe! I joined groups and had different jobs. I tried everything that even remotely appealed to me, mostly to figure out what I really like. And, let's face it, who I really am.It was a chaotic time, but that was okay because there was nothing holding me down and the only person I really had to answer to was myself.
Oh how times have changed! Now I have a husband and family, a mortgage, a business, a retirement account. Sound familiar? Somehow, these things take over our lives. Or rather they become our lives. What's the difference, really?
For many of us, this is the life we wanted. This is the life we have built through sweat and tears. So what's the problem with it?
The problem is that if you are living a relatively static life, it is difficult to see beyond your own circumstances. It can be hard to harness your creativity and passion. It's hard to come up with new content when you are always doing the same old thing.
My first career was in the field of experiential education. It sounds pretty academic, I know, but stick with me. I managed study abroad programs in Africa, India, and Chicago for college students. I loved these programs because they highlighted the fact that learning and growth happens just as much outside the classroom as it does inside the classroom, if not more!
To continue our own personal growth throughout our lives, all we need are new experiences that expand our knowledge of the world around us and challenge us to figure out how we fit into it. New experiences take us out of our comfort zone, challenge our assumptions, change our perspective.
When was the last time you tried something new? Really engaged with the culture of a place you visited? Did something challenging that made someone else say "Wow!"
I spent a year in Switzerland with my family recently, which was like a built-in experiential education program. Skiing and hiking in the Swiss Alps, weekend trips to European cities, and learning a new language were just the icing on the cake. For me, the daily challenge of making sense of another culture, relearning how to do everyday things a different way, and helping my kids to negotiate life reminded me of my strength and gave me a new perspective.
During such an experience, I always had new ideas for things I wanted to write about and share with others who weren't able to experience it. It is great for opening up your mind and igniting a new voice with which to share your message and expertise.
You don't have to leave the country to create new, meaningful experiences. There are a multitude of opportunities just waiting for you if you are ready to find them.
Sarah Schwab is the Founder and President of My Client Communications. She helps small businesses attract more clients online, especially those who struggle with content creation, technology, or design. Find out more about her approach to online marketing, including the one thing you must have in place to convert website visitors into paying clients, in her F.R.E.E. report: "5 Steps to Attracting More Clients Online." Get your report today and find more blog articles like this one at http://www.myclientcommunications.com
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