Media Monday: If you’re a self-published author look away now…

Writing news

It’s “Media Monday” where I bring you my views on the latest writing and publishing news…

You might want to look away now. Or, go get yourself a drink. Especially if you’re an author looking to self-publish. Go on, well done…What’s that?A Pina Colada?  I roll my eyes. Right, now down it in one because the latest news for all you aspiring writers out there is that authors publishing their work DIY style online earn an average of $10,000 (£6,375) – and, wait for it, less than half make $500. I know. What? Another Pina Colada? Oh, go on then.

Yep, the latest news published in an article by The Guardian last week revealed that a survey of writers concluded that only the smallest percentage of authors were raking in more that $100,000 in 2011. In this less than 10% were earning approximately 75% of this revenue and, that’s right the rest – that’s more than half of all those exhausted writers surveyed – scraped in just enough to cover the service of their car. If they have one.

Once I pick myself up from the floor, along with my broken laptop and spilled pens, I have to admit that this news comes as no surprise. Like with any industry that has headline success stories, such as music, art, banking – oh wait, no, the lasts one’s a disaster story, sorry – for every high-fiving, cash-generating sensation, you’ll find thousands of bleary-eyed, overdraft-inducing wannabees. And, as I peer at my sorry bank balance and peel open my eyes, I speak from experience here. But hey! We are writers! We are a hardy bunch, single-minded in the pursuit of our craft, nothing but nothing can stop us from plowing forth! So, I shall whisper then that the survey found that  yes, you’d do well if you were female, with a college degree and in your early 40s. Never, ever so much before have I wanted to be older than right now. On top of this, it turns out our paper-published cousins are muscling in on the act, with big names such as Jackie Collins announcing that she is to bypass the traditional paperback route and put her novel The Bitch (sorry, bad language…) as a self-published piece. Have we nothing left for ourselves, I hear you cry? Even if it does earn us peanuts?

Well now look, let’s not get hysterical. No one said this was going to be easy. We must wish good luck to everyone! And the good news is that there is something we can do. The survey also revealed that the high-earners it identified dedicated more of their time to writing, banging out an average of 2,047 words a day compared to 1,557 from those lower down the pay scale. So come on! Write! Also, making your book sound professional is another earmarked area by the survey, with it highlighting the need for writers to perhaps get their work professionally edited and proofread – this alone can help you earn 13% more than average (and, I for one shall be doing this…). Yes, that’s right, readers have been waiting our new writing voices, but, understandably, not one full of spelling errors.

Of course, as the Jessie J song goes, it’s not all about the money. What counts for success in one writer’s eyes, may not in another’s. For some, simply finishing the first draft of a novel is achievement enough, for others, the stars, my dear, the stars! Whether you pick yourself up from the floor or the ceiling, the trick is knowing what your goal is and then doing everything you can to get there. And in that, I wish you all the luck in the world. But perhaps first, just step away from the Pina Coladas, hmmm?

What are your experiences as a self-published author? Do you want to make money from your writing? Or are you content with the art of writing itself? Let me know.

 **Look out on  for Wednesday: Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry from my Diary of a Hopeful Author…**

4 thoughts on “Media Monday: If you’re a self-published author look away now…”

  1. Two things are being overlooked in all the gasping and groaning about the results of the survey. 1. The statistics are very much the same as for traditionally published writers. 2. If you have a book that, for whatever reason, traditional publishers would bypass, self-publishing gives you a way to earn at least *something* for all your hard work. I started self-publishing in August of 2011. So far, three novels and two short stories. I haven’t totalled my earnings, but I know they’re probably not more than about $150.00 I’ve earned about $40. for May.

    The ability to publish is part of my motivation for writing. The opportunity to increase my earnings over time is part of my motivation for continuing to learn the craft of writing and hone my skills. The rest is the need to write.


    1. Completely agree. Self publishing gives us an opportunity to earn and statistics – much like politicians – can’t always be trusted! Still, food for thought. great to meet you!


  2. These numbers may be scary but we need to know them. One has to be positive and believe, but also be well grounded so thank you for sharing them with us. I guess in the end you are right, it all depends on the goals you set for yourself. All I wanted to accomplish when I began my first writing project last September was to complete it and complete in a way that would make me proud and, just to add to the challenge, in English which my second language. If in the end I see a few dollars…why not!

    Good thoughts for you and your loved ones.

    P.S. Careful with your knees when you run, Nikki!


    1. Hi Steve. I think it’s great that we have all these different goals and then we find that once we achieve them, we go for the next one. Well worth the the fight, I think. And with writing, once you get the bug (bit like running!) it’s hard to shake and so you keep on going, getting better. And get blogger friends! Off to read your blog post now! Nikki PS Having to stop running for a couple of weeks – off to the Docs. I am a muppet!


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