Ann Bauer recently wrote at Salon on Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from. She’s wrong – they do talk about it. Not everyone does of course, but enough that a few web searches will find them. I guess she didn’t do much research before writing this? Independent authors talk about it more, but with a handful of web searches I found plenty of examples.
Some of these links I’d seen before and some I researched in ten minutes this morning.
- Scalzi on Fitzgerald. Scalzi on Scalzi, Scalzi on why he publishes his earnings
- Paul Kemp and Michael Sullivan (Reddit)
- How I Make A Living, In Detail (by me)
- Jim C. Hines (novelist)
- Payscale.com for Writers/Authors
- Self-Published author earnings (Guardian)
- How much do Kindle singles authors make?
- (Know of other authors who have published similar posts? leave a comment with a link)
Bauer’s essay is well written and an admission of her being “sponsored by her spouse” and depending on family is a common way for artists to start, or maintain their careers (e.g. Van Gogh depended primarily on his brother Theo). When I started planning to quit my job we saved money beforehand, and my wife took a more stable job to help give me time to sort out my new life.
In the news we hear almost exclusively about famous bestselling authors who make more than 95% of all authors living or dead ever did. They are extremely rare, which is confusing since they are the most well known. It’s a surprise to many that most books don’t sell well and 100k are published every year in the U.S. alone. Writing has never been and never will be an easy way to make a living. Almost no one is forced to be an author – it’s a choice.
Many authors have and continue to write about their finances and how they made it or try to make it work. Give them a read (above) and if you appreciate their forthcomingness, thank them.