Articles/Essays From Pagans
August 1st. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
The Magic of Weather
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
My Concept Of Grey
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys
July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
Are You My Familiar ?
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
June 1st. 2014 ...
Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah
May 25th. 2014 ...
Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
To Charge or Not: A Pagan Author's View on Fees
Article Specs |
Article ID: 10870
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,279
Times Read: 5,454
RSS Views: 67,807
Author: Lupa [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 13th. 2006
Times Viewed: 5,454
Ever since I got involved in Pagan ways a decade or so ago, one of the hottest debates has been whether or not to charge for services such as classes or readings. On the one side are those who claim that charging money takes away from the sanctity of the action, that charging money turns the action into nothing more than a commodity, and/or that charging is more or less unethical. The opposing viewpoint states that oneís time, effort, learning, and energy are worth money and that these skills are just as valid a way of making a living as carpentry or artistry.
Iíve always been in the latter group, but no more have I understood why until I started on my career as a Pagan author. It really opened my eyes to the reality of the Pagan-specific market and why some people do charge for what others think should be a free service.
Letís start with books. For my first book, I put in several hundred hours of my free time, writing the rough draft, editing it, looking for a reliable publisher, editing it more, getting artwork together for it, editing even moreónot to mention the several hundred dollars I had to save up to buy my first 30 copies. (Contrary to popular belief, which shall henceforth be abbreviated ďCTPBĒ because Iíll be using the phrase a lot, most Pagan authors donít get advances.)
Then add in promotion. CTPB, Pagan publishers generally donít offer much in promotion other than a place in the catalog and an occasional ad featuring usually their tried-and-true cash cows. Plus smaller publishers just donít have the advertising budget. So itís up to me, as the author, to buy ads, send out flyers (and sometimes catalogs) to retailers, and otherwise talk my book up to get word out there that it exists. That, too, takes a lot of time. There are a lot of places where Iím free to announce my latest book, but I have to write the promotional material and then get it in place. In addition, a lot of us write articles for magazines and Web sites on the side (just like this one), and that takes time and doesnít always pay.
Keep in mind, too, that workshops are information, just like books. You don't buy a book just for the paper, do you? And you can't ask a book a question, whereas most authors are more than happy to talk shop after a workshop. A lot of us respond to your e-mails and letters, tooóit may take a bit of time, depending on how popular the author is, but we get there eventually!
Now to dispel another common myth: CTPB, very, very few authors, Pagan or otherwise, make enough money off our books to make a living. The average author gets about 10 percent in royalties. On a book that costs $15.00, thatís $1.50 maximum. If you buy from the author hirself, consider that s/he probably paid 60 to 70 percent of the cover price, which still means a gain of about $3.00, minus shipping costs if the publisher doesnít cover it. Some publishers reportedly make authors pay for books that are received damaged or even lost, which means more cost to eat. Except for really good sellers year after year, most books only sell a couple hundred copies a year at most, and the numbers go down each year, especially once used copies start into circulation. So feel free to do the math.
Some authors try to make up the difference by presenting workshops at Pagan gatherings and bookstores. Very few gatherings can offer their presenters more than a free admission; itís a rare one that can help pay for travel expenses, let alone travel, lodging and food. So that comes out of the authorís pocket. As for shops: again, the author, not the shop, usually covers travel, lodging and food.
Most presenters at gatherings donít charge for workshops; theyíre considered paid for by general admission. As for shops, most of them take 20 to 30 percent as a fee for allowing the author to use their space for workshops. Most are pretty good about letting the author bring hir own books, but youíll get an occasional shop that will allow only books in hir inventory to be sold, which means all the author gets is the 10Ė20 percent royalties. Some shops also have in-house readers and wonít let visiting authors give readings of their own.
To make a living off of books and classes, an author basically has to be on the road year-round and spend enormous amounts of time self-promoting. A few lucky ones have significant others who can help support them, but the vast majority of us work part-time or full-time day jobs, which can cause scheduling conflicts if the job is on weekends. Taylor and I both work 40 hours a week jobs; most of the money we get on books and workshops goes right back into more books and workshops and all the promotion thatís required. There is just no way to make the rent, the car payment, and all the other bills for two people on a few thousand dollars a year.
Some authors will blame the Pagan community for being too cheap. I donít. Itís the nature of the beast: Pagan books are a niche market with a limited audience. Even more mainstream authors canít make a living off their writing. And add in that not every Pagan is going to want to read my books. How can I expect to be any different with a much smaller group of people to sell to?
But you know why I do it, despite the fact that I donít make much off of it? Because I enjoy it immensely. Whether Iím putting together catalogs for the small publisher I work with on a purely volunteer basis, traveling to a new place to present to a whole new group of people, or doing just one more edit on that manuscript, Iím having the time of my life. Sure, Iíd love to be able to quit my day job and do this all the time, but it just isnít possible. And thatís okay. If I can cover my basic expenses from this careeróeven on the travel, lodging, and foodóthen itís all good. And thatís why I charge: so I can keep doing this thing that I love.
Copyright: Repost long as you say it's Lupa's and give a link to this page.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lupa - Click HERE
Bio: Lupa is a twenty-something experimental magician and animistic pagan living in Seattle with her partner and fellow author, Taylor Ellwood. She is the author of "Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic" (Immanion Press: 2006) and spend her free time creating artwork, gardening, and being owned by a grey and white tabby cat.
Other Articles: Lupa has posted 25 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Lupa... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2015 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren‚Äôs Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches‚Äô Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).