Sunday, August 10, 2014

Should writers be paid a living wage?

I would love to make money from my books. The most I've ever made was five dollars. If I ever cracked $100 I would be thrilled. I would go out and spend it on something shiny and awesome like some books, shoes, or maybe a video game. I would be so proud of whatever I purchased because I got it with money I earned from writing. It's incredibly hard to be a writer. You spend thousands of hours writing a book, then spend thousands of hours marketing it to publishers or agents, and then you have to market it and pray that someone will purchase it. I realized a long time ago that it was just too hard to put all my eggs into one basket and hope to be able to live off writing profits one day. There are too many publishers out there and too many other authors that the chances of "striking it big" and making some actual decent money is very, very slim.

The sad fact about writing was even if I struck somewhere in the middle and sold a decent amount of books to amass a following I probably still would not come close to earning enough to be able to quit my job and live off writing. To be able to do that I would need a smash hit. We're talking Twilight or Hunger Games level of hit.

So I resigned myself to the fact that the chances of that happening was pretty slim. I'm okay with that too. I don't think it reflects badly on me as a writer. It's all up to chance. I'm sure right now there are dozens if not hundreds of books gathering dust out there that could be the next Hunger Games if enough people discovered them. The fact of the matter is it is hard to get noticed and sometimes good writers and good books slip under the radar.

Which is why I think writers need to be realistic about their chances of success and not expect to be able to quit their jobs one day and work full time as a writer and be able to live comfortably at the same time. might happen. You could also win the lotto or find a treasure chest at the end of a rainbow.

I hate writers who whinge about their lack of success like it's the fault of readers or booksellers or something. Write a better book that will get noticed. And get your head out of the clouds and treat writing like a hobby that might if you're lucky reward with a little money one day if you're lucky.

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