The Detcon1 Award for YA/MG; Jim Hines Talks Money
Posted on January 8, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 11 Comments
Two quick things to tell you about this evening:
1. Detcon1, this year’s North American Science Fiction Convenion (i.e., the convention they have when Worldcon is overseas) has announced that Detcon1 Award for Young Adult and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, and the folks who have memberships can both nominate and vote for the award. This is pretty neat; folks have been trying to get a YA Hugo on the ballot for a few years, to no success. This is a fine way to point out the importance of YA/MG to the genre.
As an aside, I’m intending to attend Detcon1, so if you’re around for it I will see you there. It looks like it’s going to be an excellent convention.
2. For the last several years Jim C. Hines has been talking about how much money he makes from writing fiction on a year to year basis; the 2013 installment of this series is now up. It’s a really good look for people interested in what a successful midlist spec fic writer can be doing financially, here in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. Bonus: Laura Resnick, also a successful midlist writer, pops in the comments to share information on her own financial situation. More data! It’s good!
John, am I misremembering, or did you also use to post about your writing income?
John, without getting into “how much do you make” territory, because I suspect you’d have included that if you wanted to talk about it– how much variation do you tend to see from year to year? Jim appears to be seeing pretty substantial swings from year to year and clearly expects a big drop next year to offset the good year he just had; I feel like that’s probably typical across the board. Is that your experience as well?
I used to. I stopped when it became clear that I was an outlier.
My income has been fairly steady for several years now.
John: You don’t actually have to be a member to nominate for the Detcon1 award. We would love for everyone who reads YA sf to contribute! Members of Detcon1 will then vote for the winners.
Thanks for spreading the word.
Jim Hines is an awesome author, too. The Libromancer series is brilliant.
But $60k after hitting it somewhat big, and 18 years building up his skills? I’ll show this to my mother the next time she tries to convince me to quit my day job to write novels full time. Even though my day job is writing, oddly enough (contract grant writing – fun stuff, actually).
I think too many aspiring writers focus on the really successful writers like John Scalzi and George RR Martin, and don’t think about the financial realities of very-talented-but-still-only-partly-famous-authors like Maxwell Alexander Drake and Jim Hines.
definition of a midlist writer is someone who earns enough to support themselves and is reasonably successful, but does not make the new york times bestseller list right?
@shakauvm: he said he also works a day job. Imagine the hours the guy puts in… The followups from Laura Resnick are very interesting particularly the ones about how much of a problem it is actually get paid. I was surprised when she mentioned TOR books as one publisher notorious for paying late. I was also surprised when she said she had to personally have a line added a to contract with payment dates. I would think your agent would be the one requiring them.
Brandon Sanderson raves about writing for TOR and thought of them as the gold standard. This was even before he got picked to finish The Wheel of Time books and was just starting out.
“Midlist” is like “Middle Class” in that there are a lot of definitions of it and you often get to choose which one of them makes you happiest.
Daveruddell, John may be getting the next round.
As a bookseller and a fan of SF, thank you so much for the heads-up about the DetCon1 YA/MG nominations! I have an entire sub-category devoted to YA sf/f (and related), but convincing parents that there are works beyond Hunger Games that should be read can be difficult. Throwing “… nominated/won for X Award” into a conversation can convince a parent that a particular book for a reluctant reader is 1) subject matter her child will enjoy and 2) of sufficient quality that the parent can feel at ease purchasing it. Anything that helps get more books into more kids’ hands is a good thing.