We're in a recession - or a double-dip recession - or a temporary economic blip - or in monetary armageddon - whichever, no-one's got a lot of cash right now, and a fair number of people have lost their jobs.
When you lose your job (it's happened to me a few times - before becoming self-employed - now we call it 'fallow times'), your mind skitters about - looking for ways to earn money that seem like easy money. If you're law-abiding and literate, writing a bestseller can pop up.
It can seem that getting paid to write is sort of like getting money for nothing, especially if you enjoy it. The trouble is - of course - getting a publishing deal.
This American agent's blog gives a concise overview of how advances work, but what happens once you're a Proper Published Author?
Well it turns out that 60% of authors don't earn enough from writing to make a living. That's Proper Traditionally Published Authors. Those at the top earn a lot - and those in the middle earn a bit (a lot less than a lot), and those at the bottom earn barely anything.
The figures are more depressing for self-published authors. In this survey by an Australian publisher, they found that only 10% of self-published authors were making a living.
The most interesting part of the survey though mentions that of the top-performing writers, 'two-thirds of these “top earners” were women, and though they are roughly the same age as the average self-published writer (roughly 40), the data showed that they had been taking writing seriously for slightly longer than the rest of the group.'
I wonder if the poor showing amongst self-published authors is directly related to the state of readiness they find themselves in when their books are out there? Perhaps it's another reason to really work on honing your craft before you press 'submit' - even if you are 'just' self-publishing.
To end on a slightly cheerier note, have a browse around this fascinating blog, the Billfold, which looks (amongst other things) at authors' earnings - and this great post about Ray Bradbury.
What earnings do you hope for or expect from your writing? How do you think an author can maximise their income?