How James Lee Burke manages his money
If I haven’t said so before, I love Bankrate.com’s recurring feature with commercial writers where they talk finances, money management and the like. And James Lee Burke’s story, going from three-digit-rejections to success, makes for perfect fodder:
Bankrate: When did you know that you would be able to support yourself as a writer?
Burke: I knew that with the auction for "Black Cherry Blues." That was the first
major commercial success I had. I’d written two books in the Dave Robicheaux series, but they were midlist books, we couldn’t live off what they earned, but the third one we said let’s put it up for auction. I was amazed: six companies bid on it and the auction was very big. That was it, I knew it. In the same year, the Guggenheim
Foundation gave me a fellowship. I had applied for 15 years and they came through, which gave me a year off to write the next book, "Morning for Flamingos." That allowed me to quit teaching. We had children in college and it allowed me to quit teaching and buy a modest home in Montana and we were off and running.
Where he’s remained ever since.