Thursday, January 24, 2013

Granting Advantage

Patricia Cornwell is a best-selling author whose books have sold over 100 million copies around the world.  Her stories are centered on crime dramas, and most would know her Kay Scarpetta series.  Some of her books include Postmortem, Body of Evidence, and Blow Fly.  Surely someone so accomplished would have it made and never need to worry about money ever again, right?

(Make sure you save for a rainy day)
Ms. Cornwell is a classic example of what I've been saying for a while - writing is a business.  She wanted to focus on writing, as we all do, and let other people worry about all that cumbersome business stuff.  Well, seems that she let them worry about it so much that they cleaned her out, and now she's suing her financial management company for gross negligence and mismanagement.  When she finally decided to check on her money, she was worth a little under $13 million.  Sounds great...except that she pulls in over $10 million a year and should have about ten times the amount she does in the bank.

Figuring that she needed to focus on writing, Ms. Cornwell neglected her finances, and others took advantage of her lax attitude.  I understand she also claims to have bi-polar disorder, and while I wouldn't wish that one anyone, it's also not a reason to ignore your own financial situation for over a decade and just let others handle it.  The world is a nasty place, and lots of people out there will screw you over if you give them half a chance.  You have to understand some of the ins and outs of your own business or you have no one to blame but you - and the criminals who steal from you - when things go awry.

Don't leave this stuff to others.  Figure out your earnings and keep an eye on where your money from your books goes.  I learned a long time ago that no one will care about your career or your life as much as you do, so if you neglect it, you may just open your front door and yell for someone to come take all of your stuff.

I'm not saying Ms. Cornwell got what she deserved.  This is an awful situation, and I hope she recovers at least some of her money.  However, this could've been avoided if she'd paid more attention to the dull stuff that, like it or not, keeps food on her table.  That's a lesson I hope every writer remembers.

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