The Rich, Famous Writer & Me

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
A rich, famous writer.
Oh, I thought you were Caleb.

I've been asked several times about the money part of my book deal. One family member in particular has been keyed in on this part of the deal.

 During the whole process of querying the manuscript, writing it, and finally getting a contract, I can will all honesty say I never once thought about the cash. I've been a professional writer for more than a decade now, so I know exactly what writers get paid -- it's why I started teaching. If you think teachers are underpaid, try being a professional writer. I've had to cobble together two meager jobs to equal one income!

So no, I never thought about the cash. Will I be getting paid? Yes -- the more copies of the book that sell, the more I will make. Will I be getting an advance? I never thought to ask. I'll have to go look at the contract and see, but I doubt it. When I read the contract I was more concerned about my legal rights (more on that another day).

During my hour-long meeting with my publisher, never once did we discuss money. Not once. What we did discuss is my future -- I was very clear that I want to publish a book a year with my publisher, and I want to be their best-selling author. But not for the money. For the obituary.

I'll be most pleased if, when I die, my obituary says "Caleb was the author of 20 books." I'll be even more pleased if it says "Caleb was a New York Times bestselling author". But I'll be best-pleased if it says "Caleb's books were considered useful by his readers."


  1. What a great (and honest) perspective. Congrats again on your deal!

  2. Loved this, Caleb, an inspiring post. So happy for you with the book deal. You deserve it!

  3. Caleb, Caleb, Caleb.... I'm reading an apology between the lines. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Go, make money, be rich. Money belongs in the hands of good people who can and will do great work with its resources. Go get those fingernails dirty digging in the cash pile!

  4. I agree with Maleah, but I admire your attitude. I sincerely can't wait to read your book[s].