How much do authors actually earn?

Money grows on trees

I have always wanted to know how much authors really earn. So I did some digging recently and to be honest, I almost wish I hadn’t.

The sad fact is that writers earn diddly-squat. Less than £600 a year to be precise!

Admittedly these figures are for all writers lumped together. Surely full-time professional authors earn more? [She said, somewhat hysterically.]

Well, yes, they do. A survey carried out by the University of London revealed that in 2013 professional authors received a median income of… (wait for it)… £11,000

And there’s more:

The number of professional authors (defined as those who dedicate the majority of their time to writing) who earn their incomes solely from writing is… 11.5%

If, like me, you need of a stiff drink to get over all this, there is some good news. Some authors earn much, much more than this. They are a rare breed though. According to a survey reported in The Guardian this year, 1.3% of traditionally-published writers make more than $100,000 a year from their writing.

Now, I know writing books is not all about making money. I get that. For many of us it’s a hobby; a way of expressing ourselves and connecting with people.

But it’s a bit of a bugger if writing books is your chosen career, isn’t it?

So let’s end on a positive note. There is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Hugh Howey self-published his novel Wool on Amazon and sold hundreds of thousands of copies before landing a publishing deal. He says…

“The simple fact is this: getting paid for your writing is not easy. But self-publishing is making it easier. How much easier? We don’t have sufficient data to know. But a conservative estimate would be that five to 10 times as many people are paying bills with their craft today as there was just a few years ago. And that should be celebrated.”

Let’s raise a glass of champagne Cava to that.


(Image: Microsoft)

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