Everyone dreams of having that job that allows them to do whatever they want. No long hours, no boss, just a contract and passive income. Yes, if you wanted you could go to venues and sell one book at a time. But the aim is to market a book so well that you don’t have to do that but once a year, during your book tour. So why doesn’t everyone do it if you can make a billion dollars at it every time?
The answer is simple, not everyone is J.K. Rowling. People in the U.K. will tell you that. It is literally one person, out of the millions of people that call themselves writers. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us that in 2014 the median income for a writer or author in the U.S. was just over $ 58,000. This is not the highest paying job by any means, but it isn’t the worst. However, there are only around 400,000 jobs of this type. If I compared it to the job I was doing before there are about twice as many jobs in my previous occupation. This occupation however, is declining at a rate of 13% whereas writing careers are increasing at a cool 2% rate. So yes, there are jobs in greater numbers but these often pay less.
You will find a multitude of sites telling you NOT to enter into a writing career. You can sometimes get a bad contract or if you’re an author your income is sales dependent. If you can land a decent job or somehow get more sales than the lower performing authors then you have a nice career. These numbers don’t even include publishing, which is not declining by the way. Publishers aren’t experiencing the best growth but like the writing field there is a slow increase. This is a very old profession and it is not going away. The median hourly wage for a person in publishing is $20 an hour. This included editor’s assistants, secretaries, maybe even the janitor they employ.
How many Kindles have been sold to date? About 50 million, and Amazon does not have a 100% market share in the tablet category. Most of these tablets however, will be used just for reading books. The market for e-books is profitable, so no one is going to stop producing them. The cost is low to make them, you don’t have any printing to do, but print is still king. People will tell you over and over that print is dead. I’m starting to think the HuffPost is churning out these sites to direct traffic. There may be less newspapers, but now I can get the NY Times in Michigan. Why would I want local news of the many homicides that are occurring? That’s just depressing.
Can you make it with a writing career? Yes, yes you can. Maybe you will have to take some freelance jobs to begin with, and these aren’t all bad, some pay well. You have to realize that while some authors do strike gold or oil with a series or stand alone book, you may not have the right idea just yet. Best selling author Cassandra Clare had a little known series before hitting the list with Mortal Instruments. So keep writing, blogging, and honing your craft.