Making a Living as a Writer
I started a thread at KBoards last year that asked an innocuous question. I wanted to hear from indie authors making $100 – $500 a month from their writing. My hunch was that the untold story of the indie revolution was that a vast number of authors were making real money with zero media coverage. Well, this weekend, author Christina Miller started a new thread that asks a more audacious question, and the response is just as startling. She wants to know how many indie authors are making a full-time living from their craft.
I find this incredibly inspiring. To put this into perspective, I have met quite a few New York Times bestselling authors who rely on their day jobs. While working at a bookstore in Boone, I worked dozens of author events and never met a full-time author. We hosted award winning authors who dreamed of the day they could quit their day jobs. The only full-time writer I met worked as a journalist to afford the ability to write his fiction; most taught creative writing at various universities. Read this chilling account to see how bad it was within my genre BEFORE the e-book revolution.
The estimate in 2006 was that 50 to 100 science fiction and fantasy authors subsisted solely from their craft. In 2009, I remember hearing estimates of 300-500 authors in all of fiction (a number Dean Wesley Smith has famously refuted, though not to my satisfaction). I’ve read elsewhere that it’s closer to a thousand authors within fiction. It’s a number many of us are dying to know. I was interested in this before I wrote my first book, as someone who dreamed of one day becoming a full-time writer.
Christina’s thread goes a long way toward uncovering the changing dynamics in the world of writing. In two days, her list has amassed nearly two hundred names. This must be a fraction of the real number. Many who qualify won’t have heard of this thread. But I hope they do. And I hope more and more daydreamers and daily writers (as I once was) see this list. These aren’t New York Times Bestsellers (not all of them, anyway). These are people who write every day, who attempt to hone their craft, who tell entertaining stories, and who work in their PJs.
Is it a dream to one day write fiction for a living?
Is it a ton of hard work and thankless years of published obscurity?
Is there some luck involved, some good fortune needed?
I certainly think so.
But is this list growing? And will it continue to grow?
You tell me. What did you write about today?