2016 writing income and Hugos
I’ve been away a long time and shame on me for that. Suffice it to say that I’ve been more or less exhausted for a huge part of the end of 2016, for a lot of reasons, one of which was SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
In many ways, 2016 was a rough year. For my writing career, 2016 was the year things first started to move. I made my first actual sale, I got asked to join an anthology in its proposal stages, I got a revise and resubmit for a novel that I’d all but given up on, with a couple friends I started a podcast and while it’s still tiny, it’s growing and the people who listen to it actually like it. And this is the first year I actually got paid for my services as a writer/person of language. Not, you know, a lot, but payment is payment, which means that this is my first ever author earnings report.
With a nod to both Jim C. Hines and Kameron Hurley, I decided that I want to do this partly because it gives me a reminder that while this is a passion project, I’m also hoping to turn it into a job. Looking at the numbers, that’s going to come somewhere in the far, far future. But mostly I decided to do this because there’s this persistent idea that writers are a super rich class of people who don’t need day jobs and selling one short story will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. It doesn’t help that a lot of people don’t want to talk about money. And honestly, I don’t give a fuck, mostly because money in this context is ultimately just data and without data, it’s hard to make informed decisions.
Self-published fiction: 1,32€
At the beginning of 2016 I published a thing under a pseudonym that I intended to turn into a series of things that I failed to follow up on. To this day, I have sold one copy, which was thrilling. On top of that, I got paid for doing some translation work for a book called A Witch’s Kitchen. I did not yet get paid for the short story I sold, because of reasons. That’s going to show up in next year’s income report as the princely sum of 60€ if I recall correctly. Still, it is income from something that I love deeply and that makes me happy.
As you can probably guess, my writing expenses for 2016 were considerably more than my income. I went to two conventions in the US plus a workshop/retreat, none of which was exactly free. This domain and the web hotel it’s on are likewise not covered. Classes, craft books, research reading and just fiction in my field also cost money. I’m in the privileged position of having a day job and a supportive spouse in a similar situation, both of which provide me with disposable income that means I can do all these things and not worry about whether or not I’ll be able to eat in the next three months. At some point, I’m going to need to start thinking about whether or not my writing income actually covers stuff like going to conventions and such but that day is long in the distance.
That short story I sold? It makes me eligible for a Hugo in the short fiction category. Funnily enough, since the print run was only 500 copies, it does not make me eligible for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, nor to my knowledge, any other awards. The story is in Finnish and put out by a micro press so I’m not expecting to actually get nominated but as a voter, I appreciate writers and creators putting up awards eligibility posts and believe them to be a good thing on the whole. The story is “Jo huomenna kaipaan sua” and it is available in the anthology Marraskesi from Osuuskumma.
If you are eligible to vote on any literary awards, please do so. A literary award can be the difference between a career and obscurity for a writer. But more than that, everyone likes to get acknowledged when they do a good job. And just to be clear, I want you, dear reader to vote according to your tastes, even if they don’t include me.
In any case, here’s to a great 2017! What’s next?