Cole Morton in the Independent reveals the shocking stats:
The average author earns about £16,000*, a third less than the national average wage, it is revealed. So what? They're doing what they love. But hidden behind that figure released by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a grimmer truth: when you take away the superstars who are earning shedloads, the actual figure for the rest is closer to £4,000.Especially at risk are the "mid-list" authors - those who have probably published several books, enjoy a measure of recognition and respect, and have a fan base ... the sort of guys most of us would give our eye-teeth to be. One such writer, identified only as "Jane" in the article, works in a supermarket to make ends meet, and consider her best advice to new writers who might also want to eat:
That's less than it was last time anyone looked, seven years ago, and far less than the distant days when the Net Book Agreement kept prices high. Forget living on baked beans in a garrett; this is barely enough to buy stale bread and a tarpaulin for shelter.
And it is only for the lucky ones: fewer authors are being signed up unless they're famous, advances are shrinking, and those who sell only moderately well are dropped, ending careers early.
Do something else.Don't say you weren't warned!
*Have found a nice solution for British authors which will benefit us too.
£16,000 is RM108, 880 - around RM9,000 per month if my maths is right. (I've never passed a maths exam, so ...). Now that is a nice sum of money to earn in Malaysia where a delicious bowl of noodles can be had for RM3.
British authors should migrate here en-masse, apply for Malaysia-My-Second-Home, buy a little condo, eat the world's best food, and live in relative luxury in a beautiful climate, and deal with their publishers and agents via the internet.
In their spare time, they could teach the rest of us the tricks of the trade and edit local publications.