Articles/Essays From Pagans
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How itís Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
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
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
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: 3,772
Times Read: 5,884
RSS Views: 67,807
Author: Lupa [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 13th. 2006
Times Viewed: 5,884
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 1997-2016 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).