Monday, November 11, 2013

Will writing ever make you any money?

Earlier this year upon finishing my first novel and having fellow author Christopher Wheat read over it and offer me feedback I was shocked, though not entirely, when he told me to get a job outside of writing. Even though I had written a good novel. I was studying Literature at the time and have since graduated. I had planned to have my degree and then write novels for the rest of my life, I wanted my first one to be a best seller, it wasn't, though it did sell a medium amount on Amazon.

What Mr. Wheat had told me essentially boiled down to the following point

"Writers don't make much money"

My initial thought was of my childhood writing hero J. K. Rowling. Who has more money than the Queen of England. But that is children's literature, fantasy literature has a wide readership. Literary novels don't do as well, that is true, the Franzens of the world will attest to that.

It is my assumption after several talks with other authors that in this world, there exists more writers than readers. Writing a book that doesn't make much money must tell you that the book wasn't very good, that however was not true for Annabel Smith who wrote 'Whisky Charlie Foxtrot' in 2012 and received rave reviews, the marketing was excellent and her novel sold more copies than the average 700 for first time authors. It is an excellent novel and the reviews told of that. It sold 1300 copies and she received in royalties a meager $2200.

So what now? Live poorly until you write the next Harry Potter? Of course not, you have to get a day job. Outside of Australia Council grants for writers your only option is getting a day job, my preference is to have one that doesn't involve writing, writing is my home job. My day job is teaching taekwondo.

Christopher Wheat told me that writing is more of a supplement to income rather than a full time job for most writers. So before you give up on writing all together, keep the hope alive, maintain the dream of selling 1,000,000 copies and keep writing. I don't write full time but the meager income I receive is enough validation for me. Meager income is more than you would make writing nothing.
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I'm a Taekwondo and MMA athlete. I also write novels and screenplays.