On Earning a Living Writing by Sylvia McNicoll Most people work seven and a half hours a day. So if you only write for two hours, Don't expect a full day's pay. You must teach, apply for grants, register for Payback and PLR. You must edit, keep good books, publicize your works near and far. And when you finally settle down to write
You may be too exhausted cause it’s late at night.It will be a cherished, well-earned delight
Ten Top facts about Earning a Living as a Children’s Writer in Canada
1) You can’t define writing income solely as advances and royalties:
It’s a cobbling together of Public Lending Rights (PLR), Access Copyright, School/library & conference speaking, teaching, editing, judging contests, receiving grants and everything else people pay you to do because you’re a writer.
2) You must do more than write one book a year. See above for other possible income streams. Ask yourself if you want to write other things: websites, scripts, advertising, corporate newsletters or whether that will distract too much from the writing you love.
3) Promotion: You owe it to your book to use some of your creativity to promote it. Don’t grind your teeth about that infringement on your writing time. Consider it part of the writer’s job. Do the parts you enjoy, ignore the rest. Let your university, your local library, your community newspaper, your local bookstore know when you have a new book.
4) Join the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) to support the solidarity of all writers. Nothing says you’re a pro like belonging to TWUC. Sign up and enjoy The Writers’ In the School Program, Northern Writers in Schools and National Reading Grant programs. Join the Canadian Children’s Book Center and apply to tour. Join CANSCAIP for community of like-minded creators. SCBWYI is their American counterpoint. IBBY and PEN International are worthwhile altruistic organizations.
5) Make sure you are registered for PLR, Access Copyright and for TWUC’s school list. Keep your bios up to date.
6) You must get out there. Opportunities show up because you’re out and about. Even if you’re not the one who gets hired for all the author visits and festivals. In Toronto you have so many launches and events—don’t you dare be an unsocial couch potato writer. Beginners, if you show up for other authors’ launches, you may make contact with the publisher and/or publicist. It’s easier to step away from the unsolicited slush pile this way.
7) You need other jobs to keep your writing alive as well as pay your mortgage. You want to meet new people/characters, encounter new situations/possible plots.
8) You need a website. Blog, tweet, facebook, tumblir, instagram, whatever, as minimally as you want, short pithy posts are better than long ones.
9) Keep the doors open to new opportunity.
10) Be nice: Don’t be a prima donna, a grouch or a whiner. Don’t gripe about the lack of money. This is a dream job, everybody wants to be you.
For an additional post on the grant portion of the talk, please see Grant Me Creative Writing Money Canada Council http://sylviamcnicoll.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=971&action=edit .