Monday, November 12, 2007

As Time Goes By

Okay - it's been longer than I expected before I could get back to blogging. BUT - I've been working on some very important projects to include a series of tax tips articles for writers. So many writing projects - so little time.

I did want to share something that I read today at Publisher's Weekly online. Here's the link:

The topic is the best books of the year (according to PW). What struck me most was the reference in the intro to the list that 3,000 books are published daily (yes, DAILY) in the US - not the world - the US! I find that staggering, especially as writers struggle so much to become published. Apparently, PW reviews over 6,000 a year so that oughta tell you the odds of getting reviewed by them.

So, let's look at what this number might mean.

Not so long ago, Todd and I were at a writers's conference and I remember listening to a talk where the topic was the odds of becoming published. I regret to say that the name of the presenter escapes me but not his words - I do remember that the presenter was male. Anyway, he said something that has stuck with me since that conference and that is:

It is easier than ever to become published, but harder than ever to make a living at it.

So, those 3,000 books represent in some ways a saturated market where potential readers have more choices than they can realistically consume. As a result the average writer makes less money than before. Yes, the writers who make those million dollar advances make the news but they are the exception, which is why they make the news. The average writer still makes a much smaller amount of money. About 10 years ago that was pronounced to be around $10,000 a year by one of the trade associations that represents writers and that's the average which included all the writers who received those million dollar advances.

So, you can work very, very hard and make very little money. What's a writer to do? Write the best damn book you can and one that you can be very proud of because in the end that's priceless!


Jackie Powers said...

In your research, I'd be interested in learning about royalties. If I write a book, and it stays in print at a big house, how much a year is that worth to me? For example Kathleen Woodwiss or LaVeryl Spencer (sp), how much are they making in royalties? Longevity of income is more important to me than the advance I get.


Terri Stone said...

That depends on the contract you sign with a publisher and when the book is considered to go 'out of print' and/or when rights revert back to you. I'll see if Todd will let me talk about his books that are both e-books and in-print books in terms of royalties and some of the conditions of his contract that he signed.