Thank you, Harrison

Harrison Ford to interviewer Margaret Gardiner (The Good Weekend, August 20, 2011): “… I thought the trick to this business was that they pay you fairly. Since they respect you based on how much they pay you, I’ve never been shy about asking for money… I also mean it when I say that I’m in it for the money. That is to say, this is my job. I don’t have another job. I don’t do it for free any more than a plumber does it for free.”

Any book publishers out there listening? Any literary agents out there listening? All you gung-ho wannabe authors out there, I dunno if that would be a wise career move… Consider the energy expended to potential income ratio: a friend of mine paints; it took her about a day to finish a painting she later sold for R12 000 to an American; that’s what I would call a decent return for her time.

How long will it take you to complete your first book? Double that. How much of your own money will you spend on learning your craft and editorial advice? Triple that. Before you leave your boring/stressful/dead-end/impossible/unsatisfactory paying full-time job take a long cool sober look at a standard publishing contract. What kind of book sales would you need just to get you through the month? Never mind, there’s always acting… Or plumbing.

PS. Have I broken the cardinal writers’ rule? The comment above is intended to be full of wry wisdom gained with not a note of whine but it’s a fine fine line and easily crossed.

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