Ah, the million dollar question.
Or maybe, the thousand dollar question.
The hundred dollar question?
If you want to make a lot of money, writing is probably not the career choice for you. True, there are J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and other outliers. But most writers make very little. It’s just that kind of business. The excellent website DearAuthor.com (a must-follow to learn about romance writing if you’re interested) reports that, “out of the 700-something thousand books sold last week in romance, 550k of them were written by EL James.”
In other words, one author sold 71% of the books in the romance category. And EL Jame’s 50 Shades of Gray series isn’t even technically romance. Writing is a business of big winners, and everyone else.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a living at writing.
So who is?
Brenda Hiatt runs a great page on her website that gathers information from romance writers. They self-report and she posts the averages of what writers earn per book from different publishers. Fascinating reading that helps you get a feel for at least what’s going on in one genre.
The awesome writers at “The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing” run a tally down the right sidebar of their site listing their self-publishing numbers. Definitely worth a look.
There are so many different publishing models now, it’s hard to keep it all straight. What does remain constant, though, is that the more you publish, the more you make. I’m talking quantity, not quality. If you want a steady, quit-your-day-job income, you have to write a lot. Most genre authors I know are expected to write two books a year. A lot of them write more. The working literary writers I know who used to average three to seven years between books are now being pressured to write a book a year. And the Indie writers I know all agree–the more books you have, the more you make–one release every four months is what keeps your numbers up. Not just because you have more to sell, but because selling books is exponential.
So, how hard do you want to work?
If you have the dream, anything is possible.
Next: Specific Genres–The Mommy Memoir