Friday, 17 October 2008

Making a living from writing

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Anthony, I’m about to leave school and have always wanted to be a writer - I think I can make a living from writing fiction. Mum wants me to continue with higher education. Can you say something to help me change her mind?

  • Wow, Izzy. I simply can’t do that. I’ve touched on this before. The problem is, the majority of writers make very little money and most of them don’t make a living, certainly not enough from writing to live in a comfortable manner.

  • Not Good Earnings

  • I pointed out in an earlier post, that Steve Weber in his book on book promotion and writing, tells us out of approximately 150,000 books published each year, 100,000 will sell less than 100 copies. These aren’t good figures I'm afraid.

  • Not Evenhanded.

  • I wouldn’t advise it as a career unless you have an independent source of money, or have been writing for years and already built up a following. Further data shows that 5% of authors earn 95% of all money from books. Not exactly evenhanded, is it? Yet it's little different to the music industry, where lots of good musicians get paid peanuts.

  • Please don’t stop writing, but treat it as a hobby until you’re certain that your earnings will support you. Not many people actually make a living from writing fiction - you could be the odd one out, but don't bank on it. Maybe look to journalism, or online writing, but fiction.....

  • Next post, Nino Ricci.

1 comment:

Melody-Jane Symonds said...

I think this is an incredibly unfair response. You have only concentrated on writing novels. What about all the other professions that rely on good writing skills?

Technical authors, journalists, PR staff, marketing professionals, speech writers, ghost writers-
I could go on, but you get my point.

My advice to people who want to write for a living would not be to shoot them down in flames, but to show them how to achieve realistically.