Reality Checks

Shortly after I got my advance from Kensington I marched into the bank and opened up my own account after having to close it around 2001 when circumstances (read: the birth of a kid, the loss of job and the inevitable dot.com crash) forced me to realize it was costing me more to keep it open than was in there. I used my last few hundred dollars for spa treatments and resigned myself to living off the husband’s salary until such time as I could give him the financial finger.

I was pretty giddy when I got my check. And so was he. His “investment” was finally paying off. Never mind that if we divided the time I’d been actively pursuing a publishing contract by the amount of my check , I would have earned more scrounging for cans and bottles to take to the recycling center.

Being pragmatic, I linked my new account to our joint account. The nice helper guy handed me a book of check motifs to choose from and I went for the plainest possible design knowing I’d only be writing checks for business purposes, like paying for my new site. The only dorky request I made was asking to make a $1 withdrawal and for that bill to be crispy, new and suitable for framing. (It’s still sitting in my file drawer.)

Since then I’ve enjoyed the feeling of paying for my own American Express bill while keeping a vague notion of just how much money I had left. This morning I realized how much that joy had cost me when my husband handed me my bank statement. I’d fully depleted my account by half. Half.

My advance check was for the full amount for my first novel and the first installment of three for my second. My agent negotiated a good deal, nothing spectacular or obscene, but I know I came out very well as Kensington isn’t known for throwing money around. Especially on unproven talent. That I got what I did is a testament to my agents hard work, Kensington's belief in my work and how much my wonderful editor talked me up.

So, yeah, I feel sort of guilty writing this instead of working on a new manuscript that could be sold to fatten up my account. Writing is now my official job. All I need to do is focus. I told my husband, you can’t force creativity, but I always feel more creative after a spa visit.

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