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Notes on the Creative Process: Ridiculous Writing Offers

Bo Catlett: “There's nothin' to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren't positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words... although I've seen scripts where I know words weren't spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don't think it's too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done.”

Chili Palmer: “That's all there is to it? Then what the fuck do I need you for?”

From the film “Get Shorty,” screenplay by Scott Frank, based on the book by Elmore Leonard.

A few times a year, I get approached by companies with an offer to write one or more books for them. I don’t know whether they find me from the books I have written or from my YouTube channel or from my blog posts on (PTC, by the way, does one heck of a job promoting my writing.)

The terms are always ridiculous. They are usually around one-sixth of the sales. Another was a $2500 advance plus one-sixth of the profits. In other words, $2500. Companies have all sorts of ways playing with accounting so that a book never makes much of a profit per sale. Then those profits get weighed against the advance.

I know how many hours it takes to write a book. The hourly rate comes out to less than minimum wage.

I already sell books. After the publishing costs, I get 100% of the profits.

Almost always, the book publishers want me to write is “Introduction to Creo Parametric.” There are approximately three and a half buttloads of books already available for sale on that topic. Also, I think the PTC University (soon to be PTC Academy) standard class on “Introduction to Creo Parametric” is pretty darn good. If you take that class and get the manual, you are set for that topic. I have zero interest in writing a book that’s already been written many times before me. I also have zero interest in writing a book that I can’t bring a fresh take to. My three favorite books that I’ve written are “Top Down Design in Creo Parametric,” “Design Intent in Creo Parametric,” and “Engineering Calculations with Creo Parametric and PTC Mathcad Prime.” I don’t think you can find books on those three topics. Writing those books were labors of love.

As in the “Get Shorty” quote, I am always amazed at the brass tacks of people who want to partner with me on stuff I am already doing myself. After my YouTube channel became successful and I achieved monetization, a viewer reached out to me and suggested that I make him a partner in my channel and teach him the YouTube business. He was literally telling me he was bringing nothing to the table.

Writing is a lonely, hard process. But there is no shortage of people who will leave the heavy lifting to you in exchange for a share of the rewards. Anyone venturing into creative fields should be prepared for this.

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