Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Quitting Your Day Job


James Dashner, author of The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Tales (reviewed, interestingly enough, just yesterday by Fantasy Debut), is living the dream. Or, he "likely" will be:

James Dashner is a number cruncher by day and an architect of children's fantasy novels by night.
    This West Jordan accountant/author has battled for years between his creative right brain and his logical left in deciding which career path to follow.
    Now, with a national book contract in hand, Dashner says he likely will quit his budgeting job...and choose the right - brain.

It's encouraging to see someone "making it" after reading this piece of somber news.

I can relate to the left/right brain allusion more than others perhaps: I'm a software engineer by day trying to fulfill the creative end at nights and in my free time (I work with accountants, too, but that's another story). Dashner is, without a doubt, ahead of my game: He's under contract for a "five book series" from Shadow Mountain Publishing, but has a handful of books to his name already. Congrats go to James not only for showing some longevity but also for taking the plunge and saying good-bye to the stability of his accounting job for the potential uncertainties of life as a writer.

You often hear straight from the horse's mouth (successful authors, that is) not to quit your day job until your writing makes up a certain percentage of your current income. That percentage is without a doubt a personal threshold--we all grow accustomed to a certain lifestyle and have different tolerances for sacrifice. It also depends on if you are the sole money-maker in your household or not, how many dependents you have, etc.

We still want to achieve our writing goals, though, and so it becomes an issue of balance. Dashner understood this balance. He worked his day job while writing in his free time for eight years. Only with the security of a multi-book deal in hand did he jettison the day job to focus on his writing full-time.

Good luck to him. I hope I get there someday, too.

Quitting his day job - Salt Lake Tribune

Borders explores sale, suspends dividend

This is bad news. Or is it?

Think of it this way: If Borders is absorbed into, say, Barnes & Noble, as shoppers we have one less outlet to choose from. As writers, our publishers have one less venue from which to sell our product. That means less sales. Less sales means publishers will be far more picky about where they invest their resources (i.e., time and money). Pickier publishers means we or our agents have a harder time selling our work. This is bad.

On the other hand, if, say, Borders is absorbed or simply disappears, doesn't that open up the playing field for the "little guy", the small and independent booksellers who oh so many times were squashed by the likes of a Borders or B&N moving into their neighborhood? Maybe, maybe not. There's still some big players besides B&N, including Amazon and Wal Mart, for example, who sell in large volumes at relatively low prices. In fact, analysts cite the presence of those retailers as one of the reasons Borders has failed.

As with most things, time will tell.

Borders explores sale, suspends dividend - Yahoo! News