I don’t know how much the average published book makes its author, but what I do know isthat there is even less money being made by an unpublished book . Only you’d think sometimes that wasn’t the case for an aspiring author as anything with even so much as a hint of an ‘in’ to the scary world of publishing seems to have a very healthy looking price tag. So how much does it actually cost to be an aspiring author?
Now, I am a keen saver (or loosely translated as, 'I’m very tight') and reluctant to spend my hard earned cash. But I know that you have to make a certain amount of investment in a writing career to make a good go of it. Discounting my laptop and internet connection which I would have even if I wasn’t writing, I probably spend £30 a year on printer toner and paper – although last year I got my parents to buy me printer toner for my Christmas present (yes I am that tight). I also pay about £30 a year for my web domain and hosting and I pay my fees to the Romantic Novelist Association – £160. So we’re looking at about £230 without even breaking a sweat.
Then you add in the cost of actually putting submissions in the post rather than emailing them. The year before last I mailed out 12 physical submissions to agents at a cost of £5 per submission (including return postage) – so there’s another £60 gone. So now we’ve spent £290 and we’ve still barely got started!
An email landed in my inbox last week that was spookily titled ‘Are you ready to deliver the perfect submission to an agent?’ I got it just after I had finished preparing what I thought to be a pretty good submission. I clicked and opened it and saw that it was for a series of classes to help you understand what makes up a perfect submission. That sounded right up my street… at least until I saw that it cost £295. According the email it could be the best £295 I’d ever spent. £295, Do they write my submission for that?
And what about conferences? That’s where you get to meet real, live agents; pitch your book to them, submit later with a larger chance of them remembering who you are. You’re probably talking a cost of about £100-£300 to go to one of the bigger conferences in the UK, and that's before you add on travel costs and accommodation if you’re from out of town. We’re then talking £800+.
And then in order to get my manuscript 'conference ready' shouldn’t I have it edited externally, to give it the best possible chance?
£1000 just for the above. It would be very easy to spend £1000.
Even so, there is still no guarantee that at the end of all that money I’d secure an agent or a publishing deal.
Being an aspiring author can be a money minefield. It seems that everything costs, and the biggest trouble I have is knowing which are the good or the necessary spends and which ones are a waste of hard-earned cash? Did I mention before that I HATE spending money? But am I missing out for being short sighted?