Fiction and Writing

Writing For Money Is Bad.

writing for money is bad


Warning there is some cursing/swearing in this post. 

There’s this idea that people who write books for money, are bad, awful people. We get called hacks, and sell-outs, and other wonderful things. Why?

It seems to stem from this idea that art must be created purely for the sake of art, that to try or to hope to make money from it is disingenuous, that we’re somehow cheating our readers. There’s this concept that we’re cheapening the entire art and we’re not respecting it.

When you get a bit further into it people will tell you that those of us who write with an aim of financial success write formulaic drivel, that we just throw shit without a care in the world. Then you get into the whole, literature is superior because it’s a thinking man’s pursuit or something along those lines.

I of course have a few problems with this.

Why shouldn’t I want to pay my bills with something that I love? Professional tennis players don’t get told they’re cheapening the game of tennis because they aim to win their tournaments and pay their rent with the winnings. Professional poker players also don’t get the same, neither do ballet dancers, actors, bus drivers, scuba diving instructors, etc, etc. So why am I and people like me, so different? Why is it that writing is so precious that it must not be corrupted by considering the reader?

That’s what it really comes down to.

My readers, their enjoyment and experience of my books, are my focus. You cannot be a financially successful author unless you know who your readers are and how to give them the very best experience with your books. Somehow, it’s considered inferior to think of those readers when I write my stories. Somehow, that’s flawed and perhaps even selfish.

If that’s what people want to think of me, then so be it. I’m sorry that it upsets you, that you find me inferior, because I want to make people happy. Because I write the very best stories that I can, not for myself, not for some intangible, ever evolving and fluctuating idea of art. I’m sorry that you find me repugnant because I dare to hope for a life where I’m free and spend my time happily devoted to something I adore, rather than being chained to something that makes me miserable.

Yes, I write with the hope of financial success. That means that my readers come first. That means that I aim to make a lot of people very happy, I hope to entertain them, to help them escape, or maybe even understand themselves and the world around them a bit better. I hope to improve people’s lives, even if only for an hour or two.

If that makes me a hack, a horrible bad person, then I’m ok with that.



6 thoughts on “Writing For Money Is Bad.

  1. I don’t think it makes you a bad writer that you hope for financial profit. It’s your profession, you’re allowed to make money from it. Honestly, I don’t care if an author wrote a book to make money or because they loved every second of it. If I read the book and I enjoy reading it I’m happy. I don’t think I’d ever read a book, love it, find out that the author wrote to make a bit of money quickly, and then suddenly stop liking the book.
    When I read a book it only matters that I enjoy it. If you managed to write a book specifically for the financial gain and still manage to entertain your readers, then kudos to you!
    Perhaps it’s got a bad reputation for similar reason as self-publishing. When some writers write for the money the quality drops, and some writers self-publish the first draft, thinking they are done. They’re not all the same, but I trust you to know what you’re doing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m ashamed to say that eight years ago I was one of those people 😛 The draft was terrible, of course, but naive kid that I was I thought it’d male me rich 😛 Isn’t it incredible how much you can learn once you actually try?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I saw the title I went a little cold inside. Thank goodness, I read the post. I never understood the whole, can’t/don’t write for money. For awhile, (when I was younger), it actually put me off writing, made me feel like a person for having hopes that I could make money this way.

    As always, great post. I love your post debunking these perceptions! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You always present your opinions so well! And I concur. There’s nothing wrong with writing to make money. There’s nothing wrong with writing for an audience. At the end of the day, it’s your life and you should be allowed to pursue your dreams without other people judging you. Keep doing what you do and never stop following your values ❤


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