will probably surprise you as much as it did me with some of the sales and earnings figures in highlights. It will probably also make you as sad and concerned as it made me.
I knew that, with the exception of a handful of authors (many of whom write little but exploitive and derivative trash), it is not easy to make a living strictly as an author. "Day jobs" are common among writers, even the best of them, especially if their names are not James Patterson, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Danielle Steele and the like.
For me, the key takeaway from this article extract is that author income has declined 30 percent just since 2009, meaning that less than half of those considering themselves to be authors are making more than $12,000 per year. As a lifelong reader, and someone who loves books dearly, I understand the motivation that drives people to write. And now I appreciate them more than ever.
Oh...and just what has happened in the publishing industry since 2009 that might explain this drastic income drop? Can it be blamed on the proliferation of cheap (and often free) e-books that are so readily available nowadays? Are more readers than ever making their reading choices strictly based on how cheaply they can get new books? Is all that self-published trash out there so flooding the market that the worthy stuff is lost in the gigantic haystack of garbage self-publishing has produced? (I'm not saying that all self-published writing is bad. But I am saying that at least 95% of it should have never seen the light of day - and that having it out there now makes it much harder to find the good stuff than it used to be.)
Most readers don't read literary magazines or the book sections of newspapers that support and publicize quality writing. They depend on one or two websites that offer free or almost-free books every day of the week. And they get what they pay for - junk. Meantime, quality writers and their work are being lost in the shuffle. And that makes me sad.
Please do read the whole article over at NPR...and you will see that the writer of the piece does not entirely agree with me when it comes to all the free stuff being the main culprit here.