Reality Cheque

5

When I first thought of writing novels, I imagined myself like John Grisham, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, and other authors who’d been obscenely successful.

I’d read somewhere that Grisham had moved out of state to get away from his fans. And that King lives in a gated complex on the coast of Maine. And Cornwell has an estate in the southern US. that is so massive it looks like the setting for a Danielle Steel novel. Oh yeah, she’s obscenely successful, too.

chequeSo tell me, how many of you writers out there have practiced your Oprah interview in the hope that a miracle might happen?

I think it was much easier for those who started their careers decades ago, when the market wasn’t super-saturated and when the web hadn’t democratized writing to the point where anyone and their cousin could be an author

But there endeth the whining.

These days in the new reality, where there are so many new books – available in so many formats, and marketed independently through the mainstream, and thorough various combinations of both indie and mainstream – authors wanting to make their fortunes, or even make a decent living, should take note of the recent royalty figures posted on one of my favorite web sites, by UK blogger, BubbleCow. Note that the conversion rate these days is about 1.5 Canadian dollars to the British pound.

I doubt that the numbers are much different anywhere else in the world. Writers are looking at royalties of less than $2 per paperback book, And if what I’ve been told is true, and a bestseller in Canada is only 5,000 copies, I’m looking at a max of $10,000 for a year’s work. I’d be much better off financially as a Walmart greeter.

When I saw this link about royalties, as tweeted by @BubbleCow, I retweeted: “You gotta just love to write…”

Do you?

5 Comments
  1. Andrew Sacks says

    Short–but very sweet. Uncompromising clarity of insightful vision into a field that concerns most of us here. Articulate, witty, and right-on. I say “Bravo!”

  2. Jack Eason says

    Like a lot of authors out there, I write for the pure pleasure of doing so. I have absolutely no delusions about striking it rich by my writing. If just one person buys a copy of my current science fiction space opera novel “Onet’s Tale” and enjoys reading it as much as I did when I wrote it, I’m content.

    I do love the feedback I get from people who have taken a chance with me and read it via my goodreads authors page at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

    But will I get rich – I seriously doubt it. 🙂

  3. Eleanie Campbell says

    I am with Jack. I am not looking to strike it rich. I write because it’s what I love to do. However, an extra $10000.00 would not hurt one bit.

    I loved your article. It was concise, witty and to the point.

  4. andrea anderson says

    Yes! Forget about trying to become rich as an author; It just not realistic.

    I just write because its fun and I want to share my literary wok with people.

  5. Paula Shene says

    I had a love affair with the written word since I was two, flipping pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog, learning the words to match with the pictured items, accompanied by a math/economic lesson thrown in with pricing.

    I started as a reader, throughout life a sporadic writer, and now dashing between spousal care giving and writing. I’ve never left my childhood behind because even with writing articles my first love is telling a story to a child to learn, but with humor.

    My stories will reach the ones I wrote them for, whether that is a small amount or a large. I shall continue to write, until the characters stop whispering their tales.

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