Saturday, January 16, 2010

Writing Full Time V Part Time

Just over a year into this journey of mine and I'm still none the wiser about this one. Long before I decided to do this seriously, I wondered about it, researched it and yeah, kind of angonized about it. Why do some established authors still have 'day jobs'? I get authors just starting out and perhaps they're e-publishing, not getting advances and their sales are low because they're in the process of building readership. Perhaps they've started in single title and it takes awhile to establish themselves. I get that. I'm talking about authors who publish print novels with established, well known publishers and who have done so for many years. I'm talking about authors who seem to crank out 3 - 5 novels a year consistently and seem to be very popular. I understand the delay in royalty payments, but for these folks they should be reaping those rewards by now. Shouldn't they? Is there a reluctance to commit to something fully that's perhaps not as reliable or predictable? Is there a fear it's just transitory? Do some women look on this as a hobby only, not a career? Are they really not making much money at writing once established or do they simply see it as a second job and are maximizing earnings for as long as they can? Are they worried it would be more widely known what they're doing behind closed doors if they're not open about it? Yes, I suppose I'm talking primarily about category romance, so do authors who stay in this field really have an income stream that's 'inadequate' (which I know is very subjective of course)? I've seen all the figures that everyone else probably has around earnings, but I guess I still don't get it. Not fully. Am I missing something? Anyone have any insights into this?


  1. I understand what you're saying. I know authors who earn great, release several books a year and still work. Some because they like it, others because of the health insurance and the like. Still others I don't know why-- usually they have husbands who support them as well!

    BTW-- I nominated your blog for a Kreativ Blog Award. It won't hurt my feelings if you decide not to post about it-- but it's yours if you want.

  2. I think that either some people really like their jobs and writing is something they do in tandem with that, or they just don't make enough. From what I can gather, it takes years to get enough royalties coming through and that depends on how many readers you have and thus sales. It can take a while for a new author to get their names known and build up a following.
    I heard about one category author who is only now getting in enough income to consider quitting her job and that's a few years after getting published. It's not lucrative by any stretch of the imagination! :-)

  3. Kaye, HEALTH INSURANCE! That would sure be a big one, particularly here in the US (not so much due to the cost, but ability of being able to actually be accepted for individual coverage)! Thanks so much for the award. You're awesome!!

    Jackie, yeah none of us go into this thinking we're going to make gobs of money, that's for sure. It's difficult to get hold of accurate figures. Still, I wonder if part of it is the big leap of faith it must take to fully commit to writing, perhaps forsaking an established career.