Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Glamorous Life of an Author

Julie’s post last week made me think about how an author’s life might be perceived by people who don’t know us – glamorous, exciting and rewarding (in both senses of the word)!  While I was still ‘pre-published’, I dreamed of earning huge advances, having launch parties with canapés and champagne (even though I hate the stuff) and perhaps even going to movie premieres as my book was turned into a film.  The reality isn’t quite like that ...

Huge advances are not all they’re cracked up to be – from what I’ve heard anyway.  You might end up not earning out and then having to pay some of it back (even if you’ve already spent it!).  So having a small advance and decent royalties is much to be preferred I think.  That way, you might get a nice surprise if your book is selling well.

I haven’t had a glitzy launch party yet, although I did organise one in a pub for myself once.  No canapés and the ‘bubbly’ wasn’t champagne – just as well, since I scandalise my friends by putting 7Up in mine to make it taste better :-) (Sorry, I know it’s sacrilege!)

And the movie premiere?  Nope, not happened either, but maybe that’s a relief too since I only know two authors who have had their novels turned into movies, one of which bore very little resemblance to the actual book.  If you’re not J K Rowling with the power to vet the script and pick the actors, is it really worth it?  Well, I guess that would depend upon how many squillions of pounds/dollars you were offered.  (Any movie directors out there?  I’m willing to negotiate!)

As Julie said, the everyday life of an author is far from glamorous – slobbing around in your PJ’s or tracksuit bottoms with no make-up and your hair in a mess.  The housework rarely gets done (because there’s this one scene you’ve just got to write first) and the cooking is a bit hit and miss because your characters are talking to you and distracting you.  But none of the above matters because for me it’s the best job in the world – I get to decide my own working hours and routine, I can take a day off any time I want, I don’t have to get up early (yes!) and I can do all sorts of things in the name of research.  Brilliant!

I don’t care about the advances, parties or movie premiers either, as long as I’m allowed to make a living out of telling stories, in my own time, on my terms.  The thrill of holding a copy of my own book in my hands is all the reward I need (although of course it’s nice to be paid too!) - that is the great reality of being an author.  Anything else would just be a nice bonus (ok, a very nice bonus!)

Happy first Sunday of Advent, everyone!

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