View Full Version : Income from Published Works

09-29-2004, 01:53 PM
Having only just dipped my toe in the water of writing I am wondering what type of income people earn from writing Sci-fi / Fantasy works.

Is there a lot of people out there who write for their primary income or are most people out there writing for passion (like myself) so if their works bring in a little extra $$$ it's all good?

09-29-2004, 03:52 PM
Well in its first quarter my ebook made $31 so I guess I am sticking with the day job for now. :grin

09-30-2004, 05:05 AM
As far as I remember, the most I ever made from a story was 50 (I think that's about $70-80), and that was about 5 years ago. Though I did once get paid 10 for a 12-word poem. According to my calculations, that means a 5000 word story should be worth just over 4000. I'm still waiting...

I'd love to make a living writing, and I'm still hopeful that it'll happen one day. But not today.

09-30-2004, 05:17 AM
Well, the most I ever received for a short story was $10.00.

But at least that day I was able to buy a frozen pizza and a big bottle of beer, so it was a wonderful feeling.

Yet, I still work for someone else for a living...

Oh well...

09-30-2004, 05:26 AM
The most I ever received for ANYTHING (writing-wise) was a year's subscription to the tiny Xeroxed zine my short story was in ...

Terra Aeterna
09-30-2004, 05:33 AM
I got a t-shirt once.

09-30-2004, 10:46 AM
My first short fiction sale earned me over $500. But it was a long story at six cents a word.

That was a couple years ago. I sold two other stories that year (one to the same market) and *almost* reached the one thousand dollar mark.

I haven't sold anything in the years since. :head

09-30-2004, 07:34 PM
I haven't sold anything, so I'm not really qualified to reply, but at the "Tough Love for New Writers" panel at Worldcon this year, the unqualified message was: keep your day job.

aka eraser
09-30-2004, 09:05 PM
Quite a few regs of the Cooler derive their primary income from writing but of the ones I know, I think only James McD and Victoria do so within the SF/F genres.

The hard-but-true facts are that the most predictable, sustainable sources of income through freelanced writing are the least glamorous. Commercial writing leads the pack; ads, brochures, company newsletters, web copy etc. I'd put specialized trade writing next, especially in the tech sector. Then we have generalized nonfiction articles and books. Our own Jenna leads the pack in this category I suspect.

I have no doubt that fiction writing is the toughest gig of all from a selling standpoint. The markets that pay well are exceptionally tough to crack and a good writer would have to be as prolific as Asimov to make a living from the lower-paying markets.

Among Cooler regs I can only think of James Ritchie, Kate N, Gala (I think) and ArrowQueen who derive their primary income from their fiction writing (outside SF/F).

You've got to love it and you've got to be prepared to be in it for the long haul.