Monday, September 30, 2013

Surviving on a Writer's Income by Mary Ellis

Mary Ellis
So many of our readers and friends are talking about the ACFW conference a couple of weeks ago in Indy. Hey everyone, Annette here. If you attended, I imagine you saved up for a while first. Did some planning. Mary Ellis is here today to discuss writers and budgets. Read on!

Surviving on a Writer's Income
by Mary Ellis 
Ahhh, a writer’s budget…rather sounds like an oxymoron, no? Plenty of writers will tell you they have no budget. Money flies out just as fast as it flies in, and it doesn’t fly in often enough or in sufficient quantity. But readers of this blog are Christians, by and large, and we’ve heard the Scripture that the Lord will provide for our needs. In those words we place our faith and trust, but we must also rely on a budget to meet day-to-day obligations. 

First and foremost, “don’t give up your day job too soon” was the soundest, non-Biblical advice I received after signing my first publishing contract. Many new writers dream of live-in maids and nannies after landing a contract with a major house. But please remember royalties are often years away and paid only twice a year (by some publishers). To estimate your yearly income, take your royalty “paydays” and add it to your advances. Now divide this amount by twelve and see what you have per month to spend. See what I mean about not giving up the day job too soon? 

I didn’t “retire” to write full time until four years after my first contract and two years after signing a multi-book contract. These days, I place any book advances into our joint checking account to pay bills. Royalties then go into our savings account. But before you imagine our family saving up for a villa in France, remember I must pay income taxes, social security, health insurance, writing expenses (which get larger and larger each year), Christian charities and of course, the ACFW conference from this account. Last year I had enough left over to buy tires for my car. 

You get the picture. But the point is, no matter what your financial situation (married, sole provider, or blessed with eleven children) you must estimate your yearly income and then draw up a budget. Oh, and don’t forget to give the Lord his 10 percent. After all, it all comes from Him.


A Little Bit of Charm
A Little Bit of Charm

A Dream Come True…
A Loss Like No Other…

Is the Price of Happiness Worth the Cost?

Rachel King, still recovering from the death of her parents, watches both of her older sisters find happiness in homes of their own with husbands who adore them. She yearns for her own new beginning.

Her cousin Sarah lives near a Thoroughbred stable in Kentucky, and the opportunity to work around beautiful horses has always been Rachel’s dream. She leaves Lancaster County to find a home with Sarah and her husband, Isaac, wondering about God’s plan for her life. When a job at Twelve Elms Stables opens up unexpectedly, it seems as though He has answered Rachel’s heartfelt prayers.

Then she meets Jake Brady, one of the owners of Twelve Elms, and her life becomes complicated. He’s attractive and charming, and his interest in her is flattering. But he’s also English as well as her boss. And is his trust in God as central to his life as it should be?

When Amish men she meets at church and singings start pursuing her, Rachel has important decisions to make. What does a young woman do when her heart puts her faith in jeopardy?


Mary Ellis has written ten bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her current series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards. Book two, Love Comes to Paradise has been nominated for a 2013 Lime Award. Book three, A Little Bit of Charm, has just released from Harvest House. She can be found on the web at: or at Facebook