I keep coming across wannabe writers who believe that writing is an easy way to make heaps of money. Nope.1 Your odds of being paid good money to write novels year after year are vanishingly small. Most published writers aren’t.
I cannot emphasise this enough: If you don’t love writing don’t try to get published.
Let’s get specific:
It’s also the most money I’ve ever made from writing. But there’s no guarantee I’ll have as big a year this year or next or the year after that.
Twenty-nine thousand dollars doesn’t put me in the top percentage of earners in the US or at home. But it does put me up the top for writers. Like I said, most published writers don’t earn enough money to make a living. They’re lucky to make $5k a year from their writing. That’s why most published writers have other jobs.
Writing is an insanely tenuous profession. Even when you’re published there’s no guarantee that every bookshop will stock your books. I’ve had chains skip various books of mine. But even if every bookshop in the universe has your books on the shelves there’s no guarantee anyone’s going to buy them.
Every single day the vast majority of people are busily not buying my books.
That’s a writer’s life right there.
Forget about the latest six or seven figure deal some debut novelist scored. They’re the exceptions, a teeny tiny fraction of all writers. Odds are that those highly paid debutantes won’t earn out. The reporting about their huge deal may well be both the first and last reporting about their publishing career. They won’t be alone in not earning out: lots of writers don’t.
Did I mention you have to really love writing to be in this game?
Just as well I do, eh?