Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Writing Life

The other day I took a break and cruised a couple of e-published author group message boards. Yeah, I know I've got an internet habit. One message caught my eye. A multi-published author responded to a promotion service pitch, which was offered at fifty dollars a month.

Now I had skimmed right over the promo pitch, having nothing to advertise. The reply mentioned politely that fifty dollars was way too high because so few writers earn that much. I know most people who want to write never get paid. Like wanting to be an American Idol or an NBA star, it is a popular dream on only a few succeed. But here were the winners, those authors who are published some of them many times over and they aren't making diddly squat?

Karen Fox provides a report of royalty earnings for romance authors. She includes some e-publisher figures. I realize it is rude to ask individual writers about their earnings. But as a service to the aspiring please take the time to participate in Karen's report. Because this industry segment have the same kind of general compensation data available as any other career.



Blogger Lori Borrill said...

From what I've heard, it depends on the epublisher and the writer. To be RWA affiliated, they had to have paid out something significant to at least a portion of their authors.

At one point, I had looked into an epublisher who was not RWA affiliated and did not have a spot on Karen's list. I'd taken the bold step of simply asking a couple of their authors what one could expect to make and discovered $25-150 for a book were about average. However, the larger ones like Elloras Cave have paid out sums that rival the big print publishers to some of their top authors. It all depends on who you're talking to.

The quote I'd always remembered was from one author who said, "I only made a nominal amount on my book, but I would have written it anyway even if no one paid me, so I figure I'm ahead."

I understood completely.

But speaking as someone who is making more than that, I still wouldn't recommend anyone quitting their day job to write if they need the income. Unless you make it to that top layer, the money isn't steady at all, even for those cranking out a decent number of books every year.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, You are quite right. The answer to what authors make is it all depends. Reality is that sales drive earnings for both publisher and author. Harlequin offers the new auther a built in audience for the line. E-publishers in turn offer exposure to their customer base. How well a particular title or writer does has lots of factors in forms of publication.

The truth is not all authors are equally adored by readers. The marketplace is crowded and there are many worthy titles that go undiscovered or under-read.

So many of the Blaze babes are open, warm, and frank women. Earlier in this journey,I was stunned to learn how many of the 'big names' depended on a second income to make ends meet. The combination of productivity and quality stories was not enough to earn a livable income.

Livable income being a relative number too. Still I don't know of anyone, no matter how thrifty, who can keep home and hearth together on $300 or $400 per year.

While writing for a living retains its plan 'A' status, plan 'B' needs to stay warmed up in the wings.

10:42 AM  

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