for the Writers

The myth of 2 options: starving artist or household name

Ya know that myth of only two options, where in books & films any author is either a starving artist or a bestseller household name, no in between? Of course that comes from a scarcity mindset, but more specifically I’ve been thinking…

I think this comes from humans just not being able to grasp super large numbers easily, like for instance, how big a population of 8 billion people really is. Let’s break it down.

If you get $5 for each book you sell & want $100,000/year for the next 80 years, you only have to sell 1.6 million books in your life. You might be like, that’s A LOT! Or thinking “those numbers are way off from what I need or what I make per book.” You’re right.

I can’t get the numbers exact for your or anyone’s situation, but the point is: That number is roughly the population of Phoenix Arizona. One large city. Out of….lots of large & small cities, not to mention countries. It’s much less than 1% of just the US population.

This doesn’t account for box sets, audiobooks, & other offerings. It also doesn’t factor in business costs. But it shows there’s a third option. It may be the odds of winning the lottery to become a bestseller, but it’s still way achievable to live comfortably off your work.

You don’t have to be a household name to make a living as an artist. Hey, technically you could just become known in your region and make a living. Or spread it out a bit to find your ideal customer across the nation or globe of course.

You might not be making a living yet. But don’t buy the lie that you have to become a mega-bestseller or have the next franchise to make this work. Hold on to your dream. Each sale gets you closer. This has encouraged me lately, & I hope it encourages you too.

*Note: These numbers came from googling and calculating by my non-math-whiz self. My apologies if you find an inaccuracy somewhere.

mermaid knee-high socks

To break a mermaid curse

You may recall for Halloween I shared definitive proof that I am cursed by mermaids.

I had a great discussion about breaking the curse with Beware of the Reader <– which can we all agree that is the best bookblog name ever?

The curse all started when I didn’t show up to a magical disappearing lake at midnight. So presumably I could break the curse if I could just wake up at midnight to get there! Alas, I love sleep more than I did as a child – we all do, right? – so I have not remained conscious through that time. If I were Cinderella, I would have made it home long before the spell is broken, but alas, I’m the opposite of Cinderella where the spell is only broken if I can stay up ’til midnight.

However, in the weeks following the reveal of my mermaid curse to the world, I received a number of mermaid items:

A mermaid blanket,
to be a land-dwelling mermaid from the comfort of home:


Mermaid socks,
to be a mobile land-dwelling mermaid:


A mermaid necklace,
to carry the magic of mermaids close to my heart:


I guess you could say something fantastical is happening, something mermaid-related. Here’s some possibilities:

Option 1: The curse is broken. This could have occurred from my vocalizing the curse, realizing and acknowledging it existed in the first place. I did not wake up at midnight and go to the lake, but I did inexplicably wake up at 5:45 the morning I received the first mermaid gift, and isn’t that basicly equal to midnight?

Option 2: The mermaids are placating me. Mermaids are almost sirens, and sirens have a way of luring humans to their death. When I acknowledged the curse and the way to break it, maybe the mermaids sent gifts to lull me into a false sense of security, so I wouldn’t try to break the curse, to keep me forever in their grasp. Mer-things bribery, if you will. Aghhh clever mermaids you!

Option 3: I have been dubbed mermaid ambassador. My affinity for mermaids has made me an ally, speaking on their behalf to the human world. I never became a mermaid, but I now have an understanding with them. And I am surrounded by amazing non-merfolk that give me merfolk gifts, so I certainly can’t leave to live with merfolk. I like it here with you all too much. So maybe the mermaids have given me their blessing and the humans have embraced my mermaid obsession.

My parents got me the blanket and socks since, as they said, I’m “obsessed with mermaids.” But they should know by now that I’m just obsessed. I’ll flit (like a faerie!) from one fancy to another, whether that be circus or mermaid or unicorn or magicians or – who knows what’s next. But now as a potential mermaid ambassador, I’ll have at least one more mermaid story to share as a Christmas present for you all. Just you wait 😉