Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Would you Rather Win the Lottery or Have a Bestseller?

With the Mega Millions Lottery up last night to record high, the thought crossed my mind - If I had a choice, which would I prefer? Would I rather Win the Lottery or Have a Bestseller?

Getting all that money would sure cure the financial woes dumped on me by my recent job loss. Aside from easing my financial situation, what would I gain?

If I weren't an author, winning the lottery would definitely be my choice.

But I am an author, so I hesitate. If I had so much money, I might be tempted to cheat and buy a huge publishing house, publish my own books, and do intensive, expensive marketing, even on TV and radio. The results would definitely be lots of sales, and maybe I might even make a movie from my book, but being rich anyway, it wouldn't make much difference to me.

Or, I could pretend not to have money and struggle along like other authors and see what results I could get.

Maybe it would be easier not to win the lottery and just strive for a Bestseller. I'd get lots more satisfaction from that, since it would be something I achieved on my own.

I guess I'll pick the Bestseller.

I might say that, but that that didn't stop me from buying a lottery ticket.  I guess I'm lucky I didn't win.

What's your choice?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career on Kindle 99 cents at Amazon


Elise in Lynchburg said...

As much as I'd love to have a Bestseller, I'd rather win the lottery. Right now I'm trying to fulfill a two book contract while working a full time job (not that I'm not thrilled to have a job in this economy), and I get home tired and brain sore. If I won the lottery, I would be able to write full time without worrying about a source of income, which could give me a chance to have that Bestseller eventually.

Unknown said...

Great question, Morgan. For me? Bestseller, hands down. Money would never bring fame, but I'd forever and forever be known as "a best-selling author." Celia

Debra St. John said...

Right now in my life I'd have to go with the Lottery. I really need the money.

Of course, if I had enough bestsellers then I'd have the cash from that, which would take care of some things as well. And then I'd be famous as well as rich, hmn?

Tricky, tricky....

Dorothy said...

I'm not crazy...Lottery!

Sara Thacker said...

With the lottery that high I would choose win the lottery. My husband could quit his job. We could spend time together, having fun and loving life. If I wanted to write I still could. If I just get a best seller, I would still have to write to get the next best seller.

It would be nice to have both though.

Marian Allen said...

Oh, I'd rather win the lottery! Then I wouldn't have to worry about financial validation. I could write and hope to touch lots and lots of people's hearts and imaginations, but I wouldn't have to think about touching their wallets. :) The way I do now. ;)

Marian Allen

Keena Kincaid said...

Lottery. No contest. Without the worry of keeping body and soul together, I could write to my heart's content.

Deb Larson said...

Good question!! But I'd rather have the best seller. I've been dirt poor and feel pretty darn good on how I managed to survive and I still found time to write. You can't buy that kind of character building! And I'm all about building character - in the writing world and in real life.
DL Larson

Paul McDermott said...

Odd you should ask ....
I have actually managed to work a lottery win into the plot of one of my WiPs, and I think I've managed to do it in a way which does NOT offend the "willing suspension of disbelief" rule.
In fact, the Lottery win is not central to the plot, in which the main protags are setting up a "safe house" for abused women & children which doubles as a "sanctuary" for authors & artists ...

Writing4u said...

If your book becomes a best seller, you HAVE won the lottery. When it comes to writing, money in and of itself isn't worth the paper it is printed on to me. When my first book hit five figure sales, I felt I had won a jackpot. It stayed in print long enough for the publisher to raise the price four times in four years bringing it from $9.95 to $13.95, which in those days almost had this trade paperback competing with a hard cover work.

I didn't earn enough to buy anything that still exists, but if you think about the fact that the average first printing sells less than 500 copies, I felt like I had won the Irish Sweepstakes.

I grew up poor but honest and walked to and from school both ways uphill and it was always raining or snowing. So any increase from that I saw as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I can still joke about it but I am also serious. I can't wear more than one pair of shoes so why would I need to win the lottery if I already have 3 pair?

When I look at my wife, son and granddaughter, I know I am the richest and luckiest man on the face of the earth. And when I still get e-mails from readers of a now 22 year old book, I also know that I have done something that had real worth even though all the copies of it now being sold are used -- many of them former library copies from four continents -- and produce not one cent in royalties.

Lottery? I wouldn't waste the dollar it costs to buy a ticket. In the time I Could have wasted going to the store to purchase it, I can write several thousand words of raw text.

Unknown said...

To win the lottery I'd have to buy a ticket and I never do. Still, given the choice, I would prefer to win the lottery. The money wouldn't just benefit me, but my family and friends who are struggling to get by right now. Who knows...even the sister who disowned me might like me again. :)

The odds of a best seller and winning the lottery are about the same in my opinion. So, I'll just be happy with my small press accomplishments, keep plugging away, and who knows...maybe I'll buy a lottery ticket next time I'm out. :)

Cheryl said...

I'm going with the money. Invested and used wisely, it would give me the freedom to stay at home and work on that book that might become a bestseller.


Fiona McGier said...

I'd rather have the validation that comes with having a best-seller. The money would be nice, but as I toil away, typing words into my laptop, I often wonder who will ever read them. Having a best-seller would mean that people were reading, and that any future books would be well-received as well. So that's my choice and I'm sticking with it!

Holly Jahangiri said...


Because winning the Lottery is all about luck, and does not preclude your book becoming a Bestseller. It just means you don't need to worry about whether your book sells well or not, so you can relax and have more fun writing it. (Which, in turn, would be one of the keys to writing a Bestseller. So think about that for a moment... really let it sink in... if you're not having fun, readers know it. They don't have fun, and in turn, they don't tell their friends, "OMG, you have to buy this book!")

Definitely would take winning the Lottery.

Unknown said...

Boy, with all my financial woes, that was a tough one! I finally decided that money can pay my bills and soften the hard edges of my life, but it also disappears. So I decided on the best seller. That way my family can say best-selling author instead of writer. And perhaps the money will come anyway at some point in time. And in years to come, when I'm gone, they'll still have a piece of me for generations.

P.I. Barrington said...

If I won the Lottery, I could BE a Best Selling author!!

Casey McNeal said...

If you win the lottery you can afford to promote any book to become a bestseller. If fact, there are more than a few stories of folks who use money and business moxey to "manufacture" their book into a bestseller.

Write a book, publish it, get the right representation (e.g., "publicist" ... not publisher), dump a lot of money into the method (which is NOT through advertising, btw), and ... voila... a best seller is born.

It is a common myth that books become bestsellers simply because they're "just that great."

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble or embarrass any notable authors by confessing here the strategies they used to create their bestsellers. I will tell you that you definitely know some of these authors, and sadly, some of their bestsellers were not even written by them.

It requires a lot of money to do it though... so I guess you'd have to win the lottery first.

Gee, now I guess we're back where we started. ;~)

I still believe in the old fashioned way, by writing a good book that people like enough to buy 100,000 copies.

If I had the money needed to do it with the formulaic technique, I'd be happy to compromise on my beliefs. If anyone out there has access to financial resources, I will gladly share the business methodology for creating a bestseller. While it is costly, the return on investment is ten fold.

I bet you're curious now>>> :~)

For those of you who are not rich... I wish you every success in your endeavors to hit it big the old fashioned way.

Best wishes,
Dr Casey McNeal
Author of
"Building Relationships: How To Work With People," and Co-author of "Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths"

snoopsspots2 said...

Well, it’s awfully hard to write because you love to when you’re a starving skeleton at the keyboard. The bony old fingers clacking on the keyboard are awfully distracting! Hmmm, I think I would like some financial security to free up my mind and time--and allow those bestselling words to flow, so…lottery, I suppose.

Nice post!

Unknown said...

Best-seller, without a doubt. I'd be rich from something I'd done and not from luck so I'd feel satisfied with myself.

Grilsgood said...

Neithr, writign is work, prefer to live on my investment

Jaden Terrell said...

Lottery. If I won the lottery, I could spend more of my time writing (thereby having more time to devote to becoming a better writer--and I would rather write a wonderful book that's not a bestseller than a bestseller that's not very good). I would also be able to help family and friends, get my doctorate in literacy and begin a literacy program for teenagers with dyslexia. And I would be able to afford the promotion to become a bestseller, if the work merits it.

Anonymous said...

Difficult decision, but I think I'm with you

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I didn't buy any tickets for the lottery never do--but it would be nice to win one and be able to help all my family who I end up helping without winning the lottery. LOL

I've written and published nearly 30 books, but certainly not making a living from my writing. It would be nice though.