Don’t Write for the Money


At a 2011 panel discussion, Erin Hosier, a writer and literary agent, said that she wrote for the money. She had just gotten a book deal to write a personal memoir, and was looking forward to receiving her advance. In a recent interview with The Millions, Hosier says she assumed that the memoir “would just burst forth from [her] hands.” In 2014, Hosier’s memoir is still forthcoming. She has long since exceeded the 12 month deadline she was given to produce a draft of her book.

I now believe the up-front money is irrelevant in the long run, (because taxes), but also because you’re doing something so difficult that almost no amount of money will make you feel better about the actual process of writing/getting published.

For aspiring writers, Hosier’s message is clear: don’t write for the money. The financial rewards might never come, but there is something life altering to be found in the writing process itself. In Hosier’s words, “Writing this book has already changed me forever, and it still doesn’t have a pub date.”

Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →