Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Getting Rich And Famous



There’s a wonderful line in The Muppet Movie. The Muppets have come to the big city looking for fame and fortune, and they encounter Orson Wells, who plays a big-time producer. At the end of the scene, he tells his secretary to prepare the “standard rich and famous contract.” I guess that’s the kind of contract an author dreams about, but so far as I can tell, it only exists in the movies.

From the outside, being a writer seems exciting. At my first writer’s conference, I was awestruck by the published writers there. These were people whose names were household words—well, not in my household, but I was just getting started, so I could be excused for not knowing all of them. But surely they were celebrities in their hometowns. Most certainly they had to stop and give autographs in the grocery store or dry cleaners. And undoubtedly they lived in the lap of luxury. After all, they were published authors!

My first novel was published years later. I’ll never forget the thrill of opening that box and seeing the cover with “Richard L. Mabry, MD” printed at the top. I listened carefully, but so far as I could tell, there were no cheering crowds outside my window, no marching bands in the street. I opened my Internet browser, but there was no headline about the book. What I did find, however were a bunch of emails about interviews and guest blog posts that I’d lined up to get the word out. No matter that there were no cheering crowds yet. Surely these would do the trick.

Now, fast-forward a decade. That’s when I opened a carton and removed another book with my name on the cover above the title. This was my tenth published novel, and by this time, reality had set in. I took a minute to thank God for having brought me this far. I showed the book to my wife, Kay, and gave her a personalized copy. I thought a bit about what I should do with the rest of the author’s copies. Then I checked the spreadsheet I create for each book to make sure I was current with the blog interviews and guest posts I’d set up. There were no cheering crowds. No marching bands passed my window. But that was okay. I was doing the task God had given me.

Do I mind that I never got that “standard rich and famous contract?” Not at all. To put it in perspective, my words have been read by many more people than the population of the town where I grew up. If I’ve succeeded in my mission, when those readers turn the last page of my novel they find they’ve been left with a message—not a hard-sell of Christianity, because that’s just not my style, but rather a message that no matter how far we drift from God, we can always turn back to Him. I’ve been allowed to use the printed page as my pulpit. And that’s enough for me.

What do you think a writer's goal should be? Do you picture most Christian writers as rich and famous? Chime in with your opinion. Then include your email address--one will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of Medical Judgment, my tenth published novel. (I'll choose and notify the winner on Monday).

Tweet with a single click. "Are writers usually rich and famous? Chime in for a chance to win Dr. Richard Mabry's latest novel." Click here to tweet.
                                                                                               
                                                                                               


   

27 comments:

  1. Are writers rich & famous? What a question to start my day! After reading your article, I have changed my mind. :) One has to decide what being "rich and famous" means to them. If a writer is a believer in Jesus and honoring God in their story and characters is a prime goal then, the "rich and famous" part of writing becomes something different than just making money. :) Mr.Mabrym you have given me food tfor thought today! Thanks!
    buierocks2002@yahoo.com
    Diane Buie

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  3. The above commenter put it very well. Christian authors whose goal is to honor Christ may not get rich here but if they are encouraging other Christians through their writings and maybe leading others to him, they will be rich in Heaven.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. I think most writer write because it is something they love to do..no the average I do not think become rich and famous but I think that you are doing it because you love telling the stories in your heart and soul...you have accomplished your dream by writing even one book...they say everyone has a story to tell....

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  5. Hi Richard,
    I don't really consider writing a very profitable career until someone makes it to the "big leagues", much like being a painter or composer. The arts seem to start small, most staying there, but a few eventually growing into a mass audience. There's no shame in being a writer earning an average paycheck, even a meager one. In fact, we know that many folks are content just to be published for free. Or still others who write for the pure enjoyment, never trying to get published. Memoirs tucked away in an attic for great-grand children to happen upon. It's a beautiful craft, and you do it well. Thank you for sharing with us. God bless you and your family.

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    1. I don't think I ever gave much thought to the reasons authors write or their bank accounts either. I am just glad that authors who write in the Christian genre keep on on! Many of these books give hope and encourage readers in their faith. Thank you for sharing your heart with your readers.
      Anne at rightler dot com

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  6. Well, they may not be rich but they certainly are famous to me if they are one of my favorite authors! And I am so grateful for you and all the authors who write great books that are not only clean, but also use Biblical truths to speak into my life and the lives of all their other readers! Keep on writing!!!
    Kris M
    jkmarko at cox dot net

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  7. Rich and famous for authors may be in how they view life. Rich in God's gifts are the best. I've never really considered authors being rich and famous but for Christian authors I believe they'll follow God's leading whether they become one of the best selling author or not. Peace, joy, contentment, and enjoying what they are write does have a price. marilynridgway78{at}gmail{dot{com

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  8. Personally, I would be excited to finish a well written manuscript. Once I have the manuscript in my hands I'll consider thinking about a contract.

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  9. Don't tell my publisher, but I probably would have been willing to pay them to publish my book! lol. I never write with money in mind. I write to tell a story that God has gifted me with. I write, hoping my words will encourage someone. The money is nice (not the rich and famous contract with the big bucks) but I'd write if I didn't receive anything--I did for years.

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  10. Since I am new to writing, I'd have to say just finishing the manuscript and if it's published later that it might touch the readers. It's something that is ingrained in the writer to do, put out a story, and the good Lord willing it will be read by others.

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  11. I realize that "rich and famous" authors are a very small number, even in the secular market. Christian authors satisfy the thirst of people who want to read worthwhile fiction and they will be rewarded!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. Beverly Duell-MooreOctober 26, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    I sure wouldn't think that an author would be rich! (Since I know some personally.) They might be famous though! Sounds like a great book to read!

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  13. Beverly Duell-MooreOctober 26, 2016 at 7:34 PM

    Sorry forgot to leave my email address.
    duellonlysis@aol.com

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  14. Some that I have met have been very down-to-earth people, just a bit more famous, at least to their devoted readers, and I don't know about the rich part, perhaps rewarded knowing they are providing worthwhile fiction.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  15. Richard, you inspire me. I'm hoping to encourage kids through my middle grade WIP to rely on God. Like you, I don't like the in-your-face approach to sharing the Good News. While I'd like to make a living from my writing, I don't care about being rich and famous. However, I'll leave the finances up to God. I just want to finish my days serving Him by sharing the truth.
    bcbrady01a@gmail.com

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  16. Thanks to everyone for commenting. As Christian writers, our bank balances may not be affected but we're richer in other ways for having written what He lays on our hearts.

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  17. Nice post, Richard! I feel the same way about teaching. :)

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  18. Richard, I SO needed your post today. I was talking with my husband at breakfast about giving up writing novels after the series I'm working on now. LeeCarver2 at AOL dot com

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  19. I would like to think that my favorite Christian authors are rich and famous in God's eyes, for the very reason given, for doing the task God has given. However, don't we get God's love for being His? Perhaps this is intertwined by giving the God-driven books with Him and for Him.
    Janice
    pjrcmooreATwindstreamDOTnet

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  20. I am not so sure being rich and famous is everything a person would want. Perhaps the most important recognition comes from knowing we are doing what God wants us to do.

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  21. Rich and famous.....I think you already are in the best ways possible.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  22. Thanks to everyone who comments. Don't forget to leave your email so I can contact the person who gets a signed copy of my latest novel, Medical Judgment. I'll choose that winner after the weekend.

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  23. I truly doubt that almost authors are rich and famous, but y'all are certainly loved. ReadingMama922 at gmail dot com

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  24. I truly doubt that almost authors are rich and famous, but y'all are certainly loved. ReadingMama922 at gmail dot com

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  25. Thanks to everyone who left a comment. The signed copy of Medical Judgment goes to Bruce Brady.

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