Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Understanding Writing & Money


This is yet another of my posts about writing and money.

Writing for Money

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And, even though there are writers who don’t care about the money, most of the Internet Hype these days seems to assume that there is no other reason to write but to make enough money to live on—and, far too much of the Hype is about making Tons of money…

I thought I’d share a few books recommended by Jane Friedman—from her article Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus—about the issues writers face when they write with the intention of making money:

Authors & Owners by Mark Rose explores the invention and history of copyright, which has made it possible for writers to make a living from their work. Writers went for more than 250 years after the invention of the printing press without any formal rights to their creations. How did they earn money? Some didn’t—nor did they want to.

The Author, Art, and Market by Martha Woodmansee is an incredible scholarly work that explores what happened as literature became subject to the laws of the market economy, and shows how and when Western culture began to identify art as something that doesn’t sell—and then turned that quality into a virtue.

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar is primarily about where publishing is headed, but his theory is grounded in stories of where publishing has been, and traces important historical milestones of the industry.

The Gift by Lewis Hyde came out more than 30 years ago, and is still in print. It’s said that Margaret Atwood gave a copy to every artist she knew when it released. While not focused on publishing, it explores the tension between art and commerce—or how one can or should go about making a living through one’s art.

Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens is like a contemporary update to The Gift, using Jim Henson’s career and values to present a framework for creating your art and making a living, but not selling out. Maria Popova writes about it elegantly here.

Are there any books about writing and money you can recommend?

Do, please, share them in the Comments…
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Writers & Money ~ Revisited . . .


There are many reasons to write besides making money.

Writers and Money

Image courtesy of Svilen Milev ~ http://efffective.com.

Some folks might even declare that having money as a goal is “improper”

I suppose it depends on one’s ability to be detached from the money—not having money as the prime reason for writing?

Seems that writing for only the money could easily warp some of the more humane reasons to write?

I’ve written quite a few posts about writers and money and one in particular about a new magazine that focuses on money-making opportunities—Scratch, Scratch, Who’s Got The Money?

And, l should mention a literary conference in the U.S.A. in May called, The Muse & the Marketplace.

Someone I’ve featured here many times, Jane Friedman, will be speaking at that conference and wrote in her blog post, Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus:

“I’m…reading up on the tension between art and business, and finding that the ability of writers to earn a living through their creative work is a fairly new phenomenon, dating back to the 18th century and the rise of literacy, which largely made professional authorship possible.”

She also says, about today rather than long ago:

“…anybody and everybody can write and publish—but attention is scarce. Thus it’s little surprise that we have writers being paid in exposure, not dollars.”

Then she shares a few of the books she’s been exploring to prepare for her talk at the conference (do go to her blog post for her descriptions of these books):

Authors & Owners by Mark Rose

The Author, Art, and Market by Martha Woodmansee

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Then, she closes the post with a wonderful note:

“While my talk is part of the official conference schedule at The Muse, it is also free to the public. Click here to reserve your seat.

So, what are your thoughts or feelings about writing for money?
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