Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Authors Bleed For Art

Value for Money
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The BBC ran a neat piece yesterday, exploring the money British authors are making. Pal Taline shared it, which was kind of her. When I had finished wiping the tears from my eyes, I got past the headline and started to read the actual piece.

It's not pretty.

The top 5% of authors earned 42% of all the money authors earned. And they pulled, on average, £100,000 each. That's as good as it gets. The big time. Tickertapesville. Yay.

Now, I'm not saying we should be turning our pretty little noses up at £100k. Far from it, let the 100k's flow like the very rivers I say. But it rather reinforces the warning I give whenever I do book writing workshoppy things: chances are, overwhelmingly, this book writing thang isn't going to make you rich. If you think the road to Scrooge McDuckness is paved with words, you are about to get a gilt-edged wake up call.

I have quoted it so often, I've forgotten the source of the statistic: 98% of books in print sell less than 500 copies. And that - as the BBC points out in its piece - is getting even worse as a flood of thousands of writers washes around in the market. It's hard to build a stand-out position in this tide of relentless 'read my book' imprecation. Only a very few 'break out' - and while the average full-time writer earned £11,000 according to the Beeb, the vast majority self-published authors won't make one percent of that.

For myself, I don't care. I still prefer getting emails from Amazon with royalties to getting cut and past rejections.

But it's another reminder that you'd better be in this book thing for the love of it...

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