“A Heavily Subsidized Hobby”

Think of this as a companion piece to the "Day in the Life" post here a few days back. Author Harley Jane Kozak talks today about money,  contracts, and the work-a-day life of  a writer.

I was offered a contract this week. Actually, I was offered two. After a year of writing “on spec” as we say in Hollywood, that was pretty exciting news. It’s not that I made no money this past year; there were  those first two books, and I still get residuals for the acting work I did in my previous life (another six  bucks for that 1986 Highway to Heaven episode) but it’s safe to assume that I spent a lot more than I  took in. Would that I could say the same about calories.

So, when I sold a short story to Ms. Magazine, and was offered a two-book deal from Doubleday on the  same day, I called my husband at work to tell him the good news.

“Great!” he said. “How much?”

I told him.

Silence on the other end of the phone.

I could hear him mentally dividing the book advance by two (two books in two years), then subtract taxes and agent’s fee, then add up babysitting costs, marketing and promotion . . .

“Can you ask for more?” he asks.

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