You can’t afford my work

It should be plain and simple.

“I’m a writer who authors stories about people of African descent having adventures in space.”

Then I cringe and wait for the inevitable question of feigned curiosity.

“So where can I buy your book?” I’m not disappointed in seeing their mild humour and benevolent condescension.

“Thank you for asking.” My smile stretches the muscles of my face into a suitable grin. I’ve played this game before, and they’re willing bait walking into a trap I’ve fashioned. “I have copies on me right now. I only take cash.”

“How much is it?”

The doubt that flashed on their faces moments ago ferments into fear. Now I have them trapped in a corner wishing they’d not asked me that question. Wishing they’d stayed on the other side of the room as their horrified faces watch me pull out a copy of my work from my bag.

“It’s twenty dollars.” Pride is evident in my face. My wonderful child, bathed and shining with vaseline. I use it to grease the guilty pleasure of milking their discomfort.

“For a single book?” More feigned emotion. This time horror.

“I spent 5 hours a day working on the initial draft which I completed in a month. 5 x minimum wage x 28 working days = more than you can afford. I had to hire an editor at $60 an hour, a sensitivity reader at $30 an hour, rewrite the entire book 5 x minimum wage x 28 working days (coz I’m good like that), hire a book cover artist who also formatted the pages… so we’re basically looking at  a total fee of you can’t fucking afford this amazing work.”

See? That’s why I don’t tell people I’m a writer, that is why I don’t want to identify as a writer, coz I’mma fight some people who want to devalue my work.


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