Thursday, May 2, 2013

One of my favorite movies is The Muppet Movie. The reason is probably the scene in which the Muppets meet the famous producer (played by Orson Wells). After a bit of interchange, he tells his secretary to “sign them to a standard rich and famous contract.” In a movie, that’s funny. In real life, if a writer expects their first contract to bring fame and fortune, it’s sad.

After I signed the contract for the publication of my first novel, I’m not sure what I expected. I enjoyed the congratulations from my fellow writers, as well as the praise from my family. But beyond that, not much had changed. No one stopped me on the street to ask for my autograph. There was no announcement from the pulpit to bring the congregation to its feet, cheering and whistling. And the local media didn’t flock to my doorstep for interviews. In other words, it was business as usual.

So much for the “famous” part. What about “rich?” Although information about advances and royalties is hard to come by, most authors realize that they’re never going to get rich from that money. To begin with, “advance” is just what the name implies—an advance against royalties. That means that sales of the book must reach a level where royalties exceed the amount of the previously paid advance before the author makes another penny.

Stress Test will be my fifth published novel of medical suspense, and I’m proud of it. But the book that a reader will finish in anywhere from a few hours to a few days took me well over six months to write.
And I won’t become either rich or famous for the effort.

Still interested in writing? Good. If you’re interested in writing for publication because you have a message you want to get out, if you write because the words are burning inside you and you have to share them, if you write because—as I’ve heard my fellow authors say—you can’t not write, then welcome aboard. The life isn’t glamorous. Matter of fact, as deadlines approach, edits have to be done, the demands of keeping a presence on social media suck away your time, the writing life is downright tough. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

*        *        *
            Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of four published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His last novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

            Richard’s website is, and he posts regularly on his blog, He is also active on Twitter (RichardMabry), Facebook (rmabrybooks), and GoodReads.

Come back tomorrow and enter to win a free copy of Stress Test!


  1. Ah, yes. And most of the advance goes to getting the word out on the book.

  2. Linda, Yep, expenses at the time of an advance are like children--they expand to fill all available time and space...or in this case, all available money.


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