Oh, you want to get published? Well, this post isn't called Getting Published on a $10 Budget, though I did start my journey with a $10 budget. I even looked straight into my husband's eyes and said, "I would like to write children's books. I need $10 to get started." Sure, I could have skimmed $10 off of a grocery trip, but creating a budget gave my venture a professional feel and a level of commitment.
I even had a spreadsheet:
I found a dime in the couch cushion and was good to go.
Where shall we start addressing my naiveté? I suppose I will show you what I have spent five months later:
Three Submissions ($10) First off, I blew the original $10 in the first month on 32 poundpaper (probably too thick), 6x9" envelopes (probably unnecessary for short books), and $0.65 postage to cover the bigger envelopes and thicker paper. In the future I will stick with a nice looking 20 pound paper, but keep the larger envelopes. Your manuscript is your baby; it is physically painful to fold it multiple times and smush it into an envelope. (I should be so considerate with my 2yo who looked like a sausage today when I forced her into an 18 month swimsuit.)
SCBWI Membership ($85 first year) For children's books writers SCBWI is the premiere organization. Membership includes a magazine subscription, writing resources, a forum, support, and conferences; plus it can open doors by demonstrating your commitment. There are many writing organizations- keep it simple with one paid group and several free online groups.
Books on Writing ($30) Initially, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of information on the internet, I didn't think I needed books. A few edits in I realized I didn't have the tools I needed to learn the craft. The library selection was lacking in this area, so I opted for 5 used books:
Business cards ($12). Not having business cards was one of my excuses for not going to a conference. For a little cash I eliminated the barrier. I don't know what other doors these little cards may open, but my imagination is quite active. So far my Dad has one.
Here's the budget recap:
I wouldn't be a good financial professional without saying I still have 6 months in the budget year to make up the gap with some income. This may require creative accounting to recognize some income this year from my currently-unwritten-future-best-seller; but storytellers can do that.
I also have my sights set on spending more money this year- maybe a conference? For me to put in the request for a few hundred bucks, I may have to demonstrate capability by selling a magazine article or getting a really nice, personalized rejection letter. Hmm, better start skimming off the grocery budget...
Do you have a writing budget? Please share your budget insights in the comments!