My Guest Appearances' Wardrobe Came From Gifts And Goodwill

When an author signs her first book deal and gets an advance on royalties, the money is not “sold” money. When the books start to sell, that money is paid back to the publisher before the royalties start rolling in. This is a “payback” phase. In the meantime, the author uses that money to get ready to sell books. That money is not, I repeat NOT, blow money to be used on a big vacation and a new car. Sometimes authors get burned with this little tidbit of publishing. They get a big check, spend it on playthings, and then get a rude awakening when the book doesn’t “Payback” in the first six months and the publisher asks the author to return the remainder. Ouch!

Lucky for me, I got a small advance and knew enough to dump that small cache into marketing. The book quickly reached “Payback” during presales. By the time my first royalty check came through, I was able to use it in other ways. We did get a car around this time, but that had nothing to do with my book contract. That came because my husband got a raise.

Before the royalties rolled in, however, I moved from stay-at-home mommyhood, complete with a closet full of sweatpants and workout bras, to fulltime author/saleswoman/public speaker in sad want of professional clothes. I knew this would take careful planning because I absolutely had no money and would have to arrange babysitting while I worked full time marketing this book.

First of all, I gave a Christmas list of sizes to relatives so that they could shop for me. Second, since the book would come out in the fall, I hit one clearance sale at a department store in the spring. I walked away with a suit jacket. That’s it. Even on sale, prices were too high for my budget. Finally, I headed over to the second hand consignment stores and Goodwill. They work the same as the department stores. They clear out winter suits in the spring and everything gets ridiculously cheap. Big Score!! I walked away with several outfits that have served me well. I even found that red dress, the one I’m wearing in this publicity shot.

In that first year of marketing, I had to cut lots of corners. I still do. My publisher had warned me to find as many ways to get the word out without spending my entire royalty check. He was doing his part, following through with marketing through the company, but I got out  there, speaking here, writing articles there, ready to appear anywhere people wanted me.

Oddly enough, it was all the years at home with my kids that taught me to sacrifice and how to manage finances creatively. Hubby and I have sacrificed a great deal over the last ten years in order to follow our dreams and pay down the debt we brought with us into marriage. You can find out all about that on my site Live Cheap, Love Life.

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