Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Do Writers Make Money?

Don't ask me why, but money seems to be on the minds of many this week. All figures quoted are in US dollars.

First up, Rachelle Gardner warns prospective authors that landing a publishing contract won't solve your financial problems (given that most advances are below $10,000, you'll be lucky if the first half pays your credit card bill after your agent and the friendly tax department have taken their share).

Then self-publishing guru Joe Konrath hosted Harlequin author Ann Voss Peterson, as she lamented that she earned just $20,000 on a book that sold 179,000 copies since 2002. (This was also linked to by Passive Guy, Scott C Eagan and Steve Laube. Agent Scott C Eagan posted in defence of Harlequin, but deleted his post after being roasted by Passive Guy commenters. Joe Konrath was tempted dissect Eagan's views, but instead challenged Steve Laube's.)

Christian author Eric Voss (author of the novelisation of the Fireproof movie, as well as several other Christian novels) shares how he earns only around $22,500 p.a. through writing - the reality of publishing is that it is not a get-rich-quick scheme, as he could have earned twice as much staying in his corporate role.

Finally, historical romance author Courtney Milan shares her Tale of Two Royalty Statements, in which she finds that she spent more money promoting her trade-published novella than she did promoting her self-published novel - but she earned more from the self-published work.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Perhaps keeping the reason we write as Christians at the fore front of our mind, will help us cope when the money doesn't flow. Missionaries earn very little - but is that what we are doing as writers, taking the gospel message to the world? Hmmm, I think so. Far as I can see, writing is not where the big payouts are at and its a lovely bonus if it does.

  2. I think writing has still cost me more than it's earned me at this point :)

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  5. While I don't mind if I don't earn thousands, as I am now on an age pension I still need to get back some that I spend out. I spread Gods word on my Blog and also by giving free professional health information. I wrote my first book for many reasons, the main one being that my mother, who is now 95yrs, always wanted to publish her work. Mum has been my greatest Christian influence and I know God believes that when we work hard, there should be pay.
    Gods word says, "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." Romans 4:4.
    If Gods word says it, I believe it.
    I love the Lord and am currently paying my way (slowly)through Bible college... He gives me everything and I believe I owe to give Him back.