This was originally posted on the blog WRITERLYWITTERINGS.
And, yes, it’s true what they say about the income of the majority of writers, as I know from personal experience. Before I turned indie, late in 2010, my writing income never rose much beyond the £5,000 a year mark. It was only my earnings from Public Lending Right that gave it a once-yearly boost.
That’s one of the reasons I made the decision to leave traditional publishing and go it alone as an indie. My earnings now, while still far from stratospheric, at least give me a reasonable living. Not a fortune at around three times what I used to earn as a trad. Far from the giddy heights of 2012 when sometimes I earned £4,000 A MONTH!
I was so unused to having such a wonderful amount of money coming in that I recklessly squandered most of it, buying new clothes, shoes, household furniture, etc. And then had to take out a loan to pay the taxman!
I’ve learned my lesson now. I even pay the taxman a monthly sum (rather than pay it into a savings account and earn a little interest) so as to keep myself ahead of the tax bills instead of behind and deeper in debt. At least I know I can’t get my hands on it!
The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society is a marvellous organisation that helps authors by collecting odd amounts of money. For example, I recently had some few pounds because someone in Germany had been copying pages from one of my novels for use in classes in a school. The ALCS has an interest in how authors are remunerated.
And the news is, even worse than ever.
Yes, there is a nice lady called JK Rowling; there’s another called Martina Cole. There are men like Ian Rankin, Sandy McCall Smith, John Grisham, James Patterson, and all of them earn stratospheric amounts. In the same way, the legal profession has some QCs who can afford yachts, some architects can afford private jets, and musicians can afford mansions on both coasts of America to go with their properties in the UK.
The top percent…
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