Saturday, November 29, 2008

Paranormal Purse Strings

Someone once said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”
Who said it, I don’t know. But the wisdom in those words is obvious. Working a job you love is half the battle; it makes Monday easier to take.

I believe this is one reason so many of us in the field write books, create films, present workshops, put on conferences, accept paying speaking gigs, and etc.. We make a little doing what we love. And what’s wrong with this?

Regardless of the subject, true crime, fantasy, recipes, biographies, horror, is there any writer who doesn’t hope to make money on his/her books? Why should those who write about the paranormal not also hope to make money on their work? Should we pretend to write strictly for our love of the paranormal? Or should we claim we do it only for our art’s sake? Can’t we love the paranormal and our art while also striving to keep our checking accounts in the black?

I’m not a sports fan; could give a rat’s ass who wins the Super Bowl, the World Series or The Stanley Cup. It’s all the same to me. Rah-rah-rah; that said, I see no difference between these players banking millions for engaging in a sport they “love” and a paranormal writer make a few measly dollars off his/her work. Same thing, you work you should get paid.

This applies to all of us in the paranormal being lambasted for making money in the field. Those who are screaming the loudest, I bet you’re a big sports fan. You might even paint your face team colors; wear a block of cheese on your head, or a team color wig. Rah rah rah for the millionaires scrimmaging, the millionaires on the pitchers mound and the moneybags battling it out on the ice. So tell me again, what’s wrong with someone making money in this field?

Perhaps the field could be more like a local amateur poetry group; no one is striving to make money, only to create art for art’s sake…I know ars longa, vita brevis. But still…Yeah I can almost hear Charles Bukowski laughing…

Yesterday I saw a hawk scoping out the back yard for smaller creatures mice and birds. He swooped down, grabbed one in his talons and was gone. A few hours later he was back. Not this time. I was ready to run out there and scare him off. But my husband stopped me. “He has to eat too.”

He has to eat too…So do we in the paranormal. And if we can make money doing what we love, why not?


Anonymous said...

Ah, but there is a difference between making money and preying on the naivety of others. There is also a difference between writing a book to share ideas and writing one to control them.
I know, this doesn't apply to just the paranormal field. It's everywhere.

Janice Oberding said...

Yes that's very true Nothingqueen...The particular paranormal books I was referring to were those written by regional authors who include history and info on a particular locale. Two of my favorites authors in the genre are Troy Taylor and Richard Senate. Both men excel at their craft. As far as preying on the naivety of others...This could also be called grabbing the gullible and it can be applied to just about any endeavor..Travel (you're not going to be any happier here than there. When you get here, here you'll be)Gaming (you might win, but chances are you;ll lose your ass)Fast Food (contains lots of sodium and fat, and is never as good as the commericals would have you believe.) Fashion (leggings are in. If you're a size 5..Size 12, uh not you're best choice.) Neither is that slinky clinging little number that looks so good on the size 2 model..
No one is forced to buy any of those products and no one is forced to spend a dime in the paranormal..It's all by choice!

Laurie said...

I think the problem is intent - and with writing in the paranormal field - do your RESEARCH- please!!

I write my books to share what I have discovered with others, and because I love history and the paranormal. My main purpose for writing them was to inform and share - if it makes money, thats great. too.
That's what I mean by intent.
The paranormal, just like other fields, now seems to have spawned its hacks. These are people who write nothing original, but just regurgitate a version of what has already been read about places they have never seen and know nothing about. An avid reader and researcher can even follow the line of bullshit back to its source!!
If i see one more person pull put that "In Search of Ghosts" book and start talking about the entries in it I think I might scream. Same goes for several other books that I will spare the authors the embarrassment of mentioning.


Tonya Hacker said...


I write because I love to write. The Ghost stuff... I like to think I am pretty good at it. I do teach workshops and I charge a minimal fee. I do not offer certifications or any other false like credentials. After printing costs and setup, I'm not making hardly any money! lol I teach new teams that contact me that do not want to be "as seen on TV ghost hunters". THey want to know how to research. I help them help themselves.

As for getting paid to speak at conferences. lol Yeah, that has yet to happen. Have me a place to stay the night and depending on where it's at, get me there. I will speak, without a price tag. My opinion is only valuable to those that chose to accept it and learn from it.

I write "ghost stories" because ghost stories are the root of what we do as researchers. Without the stories, we would not have an investigation location. Without the history,there would be no reason to be there.

I do not recommend turning every investigation place into a "ghost story". It stigmatizes property values and a lot of the time, the story is not valid, through history. Or, someone lives there.

For writing.... I write everything. From non fiction, paranormal history, treatments and yes, even blogs. I am working on a "how to " book and I am also wanting to write fiction. I am a writer. This is what I do and what my passion is. Those that are against writers... well, try it.

JK said...

Contrary to popular belief, there is actually very little money to be made in this field, unless you are already a well-known author, on television, and/or willing to part with your credibility. I make films because I love doing it. I would have stopped after the first one if I were doing it for the money. Of course, if I were willing to put together a piece without caring whether or not I could be proud of myself in the end, I could make some money.....

I think the key is to do something that is going to leave you happy with what you have done. Money isn't everything. If I can cover my expenses without compromising my ideals, I am content.

Would I say no to a way to cash in while maintaining my message? Of course....but that is not why I write or make films.

Bethily said...

You asked ...

When one writes (and especially when one makes money from writing) they are considered to be an authority on the subject. The readers are reading because they want to know more about the topic at hand. A potential problem I see with making money by writing about the paranormal is that the author needs to come across like they actually know what ghosts are, and assume they actually exist (ignoring much that says otherwise). Likewise, and depending on the topic, the author may need to come across like they understand what telekinesis, etc. These authors have a responsibility to their readers. Authors of such topics rarely come across like they aren't "in the know". This is the problem I see with making money in the paranormal field - the ones making money are presumed to be experts, and simply aren't qualified.

But, hey, it's not the only field in which this occurs. Buyer beware. In in this gullible nation, it doesn't seem to matter much.