Imagine receiving this letter with your utility bill:
Please see the attached statement asking for payment. We are so very sorry that we feel the need to ask you for payment. We know we have provided electricity and running water for you faithfully, and without interruption, all month. Judging from your usage, these are services you both need and want.
As you are aware, Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home, has graciously provided fire so we can run our generator. As Hestia’s servants, we don’t want to disgrace her in any way. We love providing utility service to you so much that, because of Hestia, we would gladly let you enjoy lights and water for free, forever, if we could. Sadly, because this world is cruel and hard, we are forced to ask for meager compensation.
Please don’t let Hestia or any of her earthly representatives know about this missive. We know that money is filthy and should never be discussed. We apologize a million times for bringing up this matter and would avoid this discussion at all costs if we could. Again, we are so sorry.
Your Obsequious Servants,
The Utility Company
If you ever get a letter like this from any corporation, let me know. Because it would be weird, right? Unfortunately, many writers express similar feelings about being paid for their work. If you are one of these writers, I get it. But. Please. Stop. Today.
For one, money is not evil. It is the love of money that is evil. Money is a tool, and currency is our agreed upon system to gauge the worth of an item or service. That’s all.
Of course it’s wonderful to possess a sweet spirit, and not to be money grubbing. But the fact is, we must not be afraid of money. Writers need to give their agents an overview of their financial needs. While the best agents will work as hard for a rich author as a poor one, knowing how the author is positioned moneywise does help us help you make the best decisions for managing your career.
If you’re shy about talking about finances, working with an agent who isn’t averse to talking money with publishers is a gift from the real God. You can say to your agent, “I love writing so much I’d do it for free!” Your agent should know not to tell that to your editor!
As a writer, you are providing a service to your publisher and to the public. Never, ever, be hesitant about discussing your compensation with your business partner.
What tips can you offer writers when they need to talk about money?