When I first started out on this journey, I believed what most do — that a two book contract would get me enough cash to justify full time writing. That’s unlikely. Jim C. Hines published a great survey about professional fiction writers that indicates it takes an average of 11.6 years to get published. Tobias Buckle did a survey as well about the cash side of things. He focused on advance amounts, but it’s a good look at what money is generally out there for writers. The median advance for first novels is $5,000 and the median advance for the multi-published was $12,500.
In other words, don’t quit your day job, especially if you’re writing non-fiction for a living. Rachelle Gardener, literary agent in my chosen genre, had a post this morning about How to Make a Living as a Writer, that reminded me of how lucky I am to have a buffet of writing work.
Even for non-fiction, writing and editing work is low pay. Why? Because everyone can write. Can everyone write well? No, but many readers don’t care. At SageRock, we hire writers to do SEO writing, blog writing, marketing copy and competent writers are paid as little as $10 an hour. I am also paid $10 an hour right now for writing a blog on a topic I love! And I’m not complaining because I can do it on my porch while sitting in the sun or in my car while driving on vacation, but writing doesn’t pay.
I write posts like this to remind myself to enjoy the journey. 🙂