Just one in ten authors can earn full-time living from writing, report finds.
When I began writing, about two years ago, I spoke to someone who is already working and selling books – R.B Harkess – http://rbharkess.blogspot.co.uk/ who told an audience of wannabe writers not to expect to become rich from writing. Not only that, he was totally honest about the chances of getting published – slim, the chances of making a decent living – slimmer, and of becoming the next J.K Rowling – practically zero.
He painted a clear picture about the pitfalls, the hard graft, the potential battles with editors, selecting book covers, editing your own work, proof-reading, promotion, etc.
And I still decided to go ahead and do it!
So I just found this article in The Telegraph; (not a paper I usually read) giving us the bad news. Less people are making a living these days from writing, 30% less! It seems (1) less publishing houses are willing to take on new authors, (2) that wages are below the minimum and (3) women earn less than men! So, breaking this down into parts:
- Not surprising considering the current economic climate. E-books seem to have swallowed up a lot of the paperback buying market. However, there are many, many small online publishers who regularly have open submissions. It has never been easier to self publish. I know this is frowned on by some, but think about all those great names who did just that: Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, Jane Austin (initially) and Marcel Proust amongst many others.
- Wages, ah, the bugbear of many. But do you know what? If I could make the £11,000 a year that the Telegraph article cites, then I would be a very happy bunny. I currently work for less than £7,000 a year; (yes it’s a real job and in the education sector). I would be living a better quality of life on £11,000 and doing what I wanted, in my own time, in my home!
- Women have always earned less than men (generally speaking), now I know that is not an excuse, and I will continue to complain about it to anyone who will listen, but it at least shows parity with all other walks of life for us females! I’m trying to look on the bright side.
But every now and again, someone will break away from their ‘real’ life jobs and become professional authors. One such is a chap called Craig Hallam – https://craighallam.wordpress.com/ I met Mr Hallam a couple of years ago at a The Asylum, Lincoln; the largest Steampunk convention in Europe. We chatted, I bought his book ‘Greaveburn’, read it and knew he was the real deal. He has just announced that he has given up the day job (nursing) to become a full time author. Congratulations! If he was anything as good a nurse as he is a writer, then it is a sad loss for the NHS.
I had an e-mail recently from Emma Barnes at Snowbooks. There were royalties from the anthology, Game Over! There were 12 authors, an editor, Jonathan Green, and the publishing company involved, it was enough to by a coffee, but hey! that’s MY coffee, that I earned, with MY writing! I’m happy I made something. It means someone out there likes my writing –
– doesn’t it?!