A Transparency Challenge From A Bottom-List Indie Author
Effective immediately, and every month from now on, I will post my gross earnings as an independent author and creator. If you’re an indie author or otherwise make some or all of your living as an independent creator, I challenge you to do the same.
Why Indie Authors and Other Creators Should Be Transparent About Their Income
I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. As with many things having to do with creativity, my motivations are at once selfish, and in the spirit of teaching.
I hope other indie authors and creators find these reasons compelling, as well:
- Creators and consumers are peers and partners. Together, we make a community. Through commerce, at the very least, we are in a relationship, and relationships are strengthened by honesty and openness.
- The big earners in indie publishing and other indie creative endeavors get lots of attention, and good for them. But the top of the list is defined by the middle and the bottom, and it’s important those creators are represented and have their part of the story heard.
- This one might be more for the bottom-list majority than anyone else, but here goes: if your community sees how much (how little?) you’re making from your creative endeavors, they might spend more money on the things you make. It’s possible—just possible, mind you—that readers could be under the impression that their authors are doing just fine, or that some other person will buy your stuff. Share your gross income and show your community how much you need their financial participation.
- Sharing your gross income from creative endeavors could keep you motivated. Are you disappointed / dissatisfied / ashamed by the amount of money your books or other indie works bring you each month? Maybe the fact that the rest of the world knows the details will push you to work harder. On the other hand, if you’re one of the lucky few making a decent living as an independent author or other indie creator, sharing your number could be inspiring to your community. Either way, the information is useful. You should share it.
The Transparency Challenge: Indie Creators, Commit To Sharing Your Income Report Each Month!
What do you say, indie author, or musician, or artist, or craftsperson, or what-have-you?
Will you commit to revealing your gross income from your creative endeavors, in public, every single month?
Declare your intention in the comments of this post by providing a link to the income reporting page on your website.
My Monthly Income Report
It goes back to the beginning of 2014. My goal is to earn $3,000.00 (the current minimum required to meet my financial obligations) each month from my own creative work or related sources other than work I do for others as part of my creative services business. Income earned from my freelance clients is not included.
Included are things like book and music royalties from sales, streams, and subscriptions, patron donations and membership dues, affiliate income from products and services I use in my creative work, and related sources. In other words, anything directly connected to the things I make and the people consuming the things I make.
If you’re an indie creator, how does it compare to your own numbers?
If you’re a consumer of indie creative endeavors, how does it stack up against your expectations?
Let’s talk about it… and please, share this idea with everyone you know!
Let’s make it a thing.
Update, August 23, 2014: Thanks to her interview on the excellent podcast The New Disruptors, I learned about polymath Nicole Dieker’s ongoing practice to post her earnings as a freelance writer, essayist, musician, and copywriter every week! While not exactly following the letter of my Transparency Challenge, she’s absolutely acting in the spirit of the thing. More like this!
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