Friday, February 17, 2017

Can writers survive on income from their books?

As writers we all are so focused on our novels, that we seldom think of anything else. Ours characters, plot points, story arcs and chapter endings absorb our mind to such a large extent that we have no mind space for anything else. And once we are done with the actual writing, then our critique partners and beta readers come into the picture. After that we bury ourselves in the revisions process. And once the book is ready to travel out into the world onto its steady legs, we get immersed in the submission process. Instead of the current heart throb of the nation, we see dreams of agents and six figure deals, and if we are lucky enough maybe we even attend the premier of our book made into the movie, in our dreams. Writing our books takes a long time. Sometimes we work for more than a year or so on one single book.

What I am trying to say is that if we were to survive solely on the royalty from our books, we all would be on a perpetual diet, as our book/s income is nothing much to write home about. So, we all have a part-time job or a full-time one (where we write in our free time) that pays our bills. Most of the writers I know do a lot of odd writing jobs to supplement their incomes.

I was teaching creative writing part-time in college and I also write features for newspapers and do book reviews for two newspapers as well as create course material for Oxford University Press.

I am aware that almost all my blog buddies write books, but what I want to know is have you ever written for different mediums like the television, movie scripts, websites, school textbooks, newspapers, magazines, websites, video games, teaching in schools and colleges etc?

What do you all do other than writing books? Do you have a job and write in your free time?


8 comments:

  1. Interesting question! I don't know any authors who live off the income from their books. As for me, I teach online writing classes and do freelance work for magazines and local businesses.
    Have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have considered picking up freelance work to offset the book income, which isn't any sort of livable wage at all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have considered picking up freelance work to offset the book income, which isn't any sort of livable wage at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, I think it would be impossible for most writers to support themselves from royalties from books. I am a contract writer for a web marketing firm writing articles on various areas of law. I do it pretty full-time and am supporting my daughter and me doing it. I love the writing and have accepted that to support myself writing, I need to have a job like this, not writing stories. I have so many deadlines now I would not want to have a deadline to write a book too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know one author (personally) who survives solely on royalties. I read the number is somewhere around 300 total in America. Of course, many authors also do speaking engagements and other things, which means there are more who survive as an author. But it's tough.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I didn't start writing seriously until I was retired from real world work. Prior to retirement, I took a lot of writing classes and went to a couple of conferences, but the only real writing I did was for work: memos, training/user manuals, and project reports. My real training for being a writer was reading, lots of reading.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm retired now, but spent years taking courses, reading books on writing, attending writing workshops, and critiquing and submitting work in writers' groups. I do book reviews for free. My last day job was editing science manuscripts for a university for ten years. During that time I wrote and was paid for a travel article, and wrote/edited for a YA educational press (pay for hire). It all adds up, but my goal is to publish my fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm an undergraduate college student.

    ReplyDelete