Image from gregferro.com
My posts on author earnings are among the most popular on my blog, showing there is a great deal of interest in this subject and very little transparency. I feel like most of us would feel better of we knew how
much little other writers earn.
When I first posted my income from writing in 2013, I earned around $7000. After a couple of dismal years where I earned much less than that, my income from writing in 2016 was up to $20,000, thanks mostly to my novel Whisky Charlie Foxtrot being chosen as a Target book of the month when it was published in the US. It turns out a lot of Americans buy books from Target, and I am still receiving substantial royalties from the US, more than two years after publication. By contrast, my Australian royalties are practically non-existent, as you can see from the tiny red slice in the pie chart below.
To be honest, it is an ongoing source of disbelief that I am actually making a substantial amount of money from a book because for a long time I thought it would never happen to me. I am thrilled about it, of course, but I am not expecting ever to be so lucky again. I won’t have a new book out in the next financial year, and US sales will probably slow down and I’ll be back to royalties being a tiny slice of the pie.
Every year I receive a few hundred dollars from Educational Lending Rights and Public lending Rights, paid by the Australian government, based on the number of copies of my books held in libraries in Australia. I also earned a small fee for having a post from my blog reprinted.
This includes money I have earned from teaching regular courses for the Australian Writers Centre, as well as one-off workshops at libraries and writers’ centres, and guest lectures at universities.
Other writing-related activities include private mentoring, consulting on grant applications, chairing at festivals and live storytelling.
In the next few weeks I’m going to launch a blog series on How Writers Earn Money in which I’ll be drilling down into some of these activities, including how to get started, pay rates, and how to go about doing them. If there’s anything you’d like to see included, please let me know in the comments. Or, if you feel like sharing your own income, it would be great to expand the conversation.