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Stuff We Know Already: Most Writers Don't Make Money

In 2013, most authors made less than $1000 - peoplewhowrite

A Digital Book World survey finds that most authors make less than $1000 in income from their books (via Mediabistro)

Most authors will not be traditionally published. Most published authors will not be successful, as far as sales. We know this already, but thank you, Mediabistro / Digital Book World for the reminder.

We’ll keep at it, anyway as we read with unbridled hope the passages in Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton that speak of books bought at auction and enough money–generated solely from our writing!–to fund British security teams, safe houses, and a Benz tricked out with bulletproof doors and windows. And we monitor with rapt interest the story about Patricia Cornwall’s lawsuit against her managers because, yes, it sucks that her managers have been bilking her, but holy shizers, she nets $13 million dollars a year?! And we can’t even hate on E.L. James because, yeah, we want to introduce a companion wine to sip as you read our novel or watch the film that’s been adapted from our bestselling book. J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith, whatever your name is, we see you and we want to be you one day, extending our novels into theme parks, selling our homes for $3.6 million and raising $250,000 for charity for a first edition copy of our wildly successful book.

We’re not doing it for the money, obviously. (See: “We’ll keep at it, anyway…” above.) We write because there is no Plan B, nor do we want one. But money would be very nice, and we have no shame in saying so. So, colorful graph or not, we will go on writing and hoping, and pressing Amazon/Barnes and Noble/publishers to adapt to a changing business model to give us our due because it’s possible to succeed. As long as it’s possible, it’s worth it.

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5 responses to “Stuff We Know Already: Most Writers Don't Make Money

  1. Really lovely post. Thank you 🙂

  2. Dela

    Insightful but expected. Being an author can be tough, I suppose. Henry David Thoreau said he once had a library of (say) 1500 books, 1450 of which were his own unbought books. We’ll keep at it anyway…

  3. My takeaway from this is to introduce a tie-in liquor or theme park. “Burning Furiously Beautiful” does sound like a great name for a flaming shot 😉

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