What Writers Really Earn

I read an interesting and dispiriting article in the Huffington Post today. Based on figures from 2005, the median earnings for writers stands at £12,330 a year, and The Society of Authors says it has gone down in real terms since then. Most writers exist at subsistence levels. Average earnings were listed as £28,340 a year, which looks pretty healthy to me, but then I haven’t earned much above the median for quite some time.

The article was written by Sara Sheridan, a writer of historical fiction. She says the myth of writers and writing for a living is that you don’t have to work that hard and you rake in the cash. If only that were true.

The average first novel sells no more than 1,000 copies. If you’re only earning 8.5% to 10% royalty on £7.99, that doesn’t amount to much. It’s even worse if the books sell at a discounted rate.

Why don’t we value our writers? People love to read. They love to escape into imaginary worlds. And yet, we don’t seem prepared to pay for the privilege. More and more people expect to get their entertainment for free. What will happen to our culture if we allow this to continue?

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sara-sheridan/writers-earnings-cultural-myth_b_3136859.html


7 thoughts on “What Writers Really Earn

  1. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that, if your entertainment is “free,” it’s because someone else–advertisers–are footing the bill, and as a matter of course those advertisers are going to control the content. You’re going to get material that attracts as many viewers as possible (sensationalism works better than depth) and material that encourages people in a materialistic lifestyle (buying the products advertisers are selling). But if you’re willing to pay (in money, not by being exposed to marketing) for your entertainment, there’s still some decent stuff out there. Let’s support it!



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