An article posted today at Publishers Weekly has some very grim information for writers and that is that most writers’ income - from writing - places them below the poverty line. Guess the adage that you shouldn’t quit your day job rings truer now, especially since 2009.
The article references a new study conducted by the Authors Guild, specifically on author income and it is apparently the last study done on this subject was in 2009. Here’s the link to the Publishers Weekly article:
Additionally, there is a lengthy discussion of The New Publishing Landscape at the Authors Guild website – here’s the link:
Some important thoughts from both of these references are that authors are earning less and less and perhaps being valued less and less in more ways than just money. We always hear about the multi-million dollar authors but just as with other factions of the entertainment industry that’s because it is much rarer than people think. The money they receive is making the news because it doesn’t happen that often.
I remember many, many years ago (Wikipedia says it was in 1997) when it made the news that Tom Clancy received a total package of compensation worth a reported 97 million at the same time that the average writer made approximately $10,000 a year from their efforts. Sounds a lot like the lottery – a few win big bucks but most just receive dribbles or nothing at all.
There’s another site you might find interesting to track and that is www.authorearnings.com. Here’s the report from July 2014:
There is one chart in particular that I think you will want to study and that is the chart on earnings by genre and publisher type.
The update report from May 2015 is also very enlightening:
And there’s also a Print vs. Digital Report that is definitely food for thought for any writer at any stage of their writing career.