The Average Earnings of Authors

A Writer's Path

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It is a frequent occurrence in the news to hear about authors cutting multi-million (or even billion) dollar book or movie deals. Famous examples of ridiculously successful authors, such as J.K. Rowling, E. L. James, and Stephen King, often lead people to think that becoming an author will undoubtedly lead to an equally as lucrative outcome. However, it turns out that the average author makes much, much less.

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10 Comments

  1. I have been writing and self publishing my books for over 20 years. It has been an interesting journey. I have sold a lot of books and have been rewarded for my craft.

    There are various ways writers can make money from their books, maybe not like the likes of Stephen King, but they can make a living from writing.

    I am totally committed to this journey as a writer until the day I die. Writing is not just about making money, it is about pursuing a cause, a purpose that is far bigger than you.

    1. “Writing is not just about making money, it is about pursuing a cause, a purpose that is far bigger than you.” I agree with you one hundred percent!

  2. Wait–really? ‘Cuz I’m only in this for the money; what I really want to do is sell life insurance.

    1. Okay you had me there for a minute. Lol.

  3. This was really interesting! I have earned precisely zero for my writing. I think I am decent but really do not have the mojo to find out how decent and really promote myself. For now, blogging is great 🙂 Good think therapist is my job and writing is my hobby!!

    1. “It appears that writing is a profession where only a handful of successful authors make a very good living while most do not.” This may be due to the fact that only a “handful” of authors have been writing for a long period of time. Longevity is the key to visibility and increased earnings. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, published in 1997–18 years ago, was not her first book. It takes time (as in years) to build a career in writing.

  4. authoramandamccoy

    Wow, this was a little depressing to read. I still love writing, I just really wish it could be something that I could do all the time and not have to have a “day job”.

    1. Self-published author Hugh Howey says, “…a conservative estimate would be that 5 to 10 times as many people are paying bills with their craft today as there was just a few years ago. And that should be celebrated.” I think it’s important to keep in mind that with the boon of self-publishing, a lot has changed in the last couple of years and it’s still changing. Authors who approach their writing as a “business” have a much better chance of making a living from their writing.

  5. Here’s to passionately pursuing our craft with the optimism that we will one day be among the 5% who can make a living from it.

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