Short stories don’t earn their authors staggering amounts of money, even when sold at professional rates. At a very solid $0.05 per word, a typical short story in the 3,000 to 5,000 word range is generating $150 to $250. Semi-pro rates (~$0.03 per word) or token payments ($0.01 per word or less) will obviously net less.
And that’s fine. While the remuneration is a nice recognition of my effort and my contribution to a publisher’s enterprise, I have no expectation of getting rich or living comfortably based on writing income.
When I made my first sale, the question arose: What exactly were we going to do with the $100+ earned from Lonesome Charlie Johnstone’s Strange Boon? It was a milestone for me, so pitching it into our general account for groceries and bills seemed a bit out of place. Spending it on some fun seemed more appropriate, and so part of the money went towards attendance at CAN-CON in the fall.
But that still left around $50 and so we decided that it would be money that kept on giving. How? We bought an apple tree.
And after selling Dead Air and The Shining Path, we decided to continue that trend of contributing to our farm. The payment and royalties from these stories went towards soft fruits – strawberries and raspberries, mostly.
Now while payment for the sale of Black Sheep to Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe is a little while away, I think you can see what sort of farm-related purchase we might make in response. When the opportunity arose this past week, we took a drive and came back with a Katahdin ewe named (obviously) Tess.