It’s amusing when people think I’m sitting on a secret fortune after they find out I do a little writing on the side. Or they think someone like Brian Keene or Tom Piccirilli are making money hand over fist because they’ve got several novels available. The reality is most writers don’t make a lot of money. Sure, some luck into Hollywood cash or a mega-hit series like Twilight, but even bestsellers are far from guaranteed riches.
Now one writer has proven that by posting her royalty statements. She sold over 47,000 copies, which sounds exciting. However, for all that, she’s made a little over $30,000. Sounds like a lot, but if that was the only book she put out that year, she’s earning the equivalent of about $15.00 an hour (and she still needs to pay her own taxes on that $30k). Even worse, she hasn’t earned out her $50k advance at that point, which means she faces the possibility her publisher will dump her. It’s more like being fired than getting laid off, as the next publisher may look at her numbers and not want to take the risk on her.
The inevitable next question is “Then why do you do it?”
The easy answer is because we like it. Some writers like to tell you they have to, but I’m not going to get all metaphysical on you. The plain truth is I enjoy the process of writing, I enjoy the business of it, and call it ego, but I like the idea of people being entertained by something I’ve written. Yes, the financial realities make it impossible to go full time at the moment, but I’d love to be at that point sometime. I don’t need to get rich doing it, but I’d be content to do it as a job.
It sure beats solving others’ computer headaches all day every day.