Average Net Earnings Bracket for Published Fiction Writers

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Which net earnings bracket do you fall into?

  • 0-10k

    Votes: 39 62.9%
  • 10-20k

    Votes: 9 14.5%
  • 20-50k

    Votes: 5 8.1%
  • 50-100k

    Votes: 5 8.1%
  • 100k +

    Votes: 4 6.5%

  • Total voters
    62
Status
Not open for further replies.

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
Poll coming.

There have been different threads on earnings, but I thought it might be useful to do an anonymous poll on average earning for published fictions writers, ie which net (ie the amt you get after all expenses inl tax are taken) earnings bracket. YOUR AVERAGE OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS FOR PUBLISHED FICTION work. (ie add three years earnings and divide by 3 to get a yearly average)

The publisher type is not important, just the average earnings.

If you only earned last year/two years,that's fine, calculate that.

This might be useful for writers to gauge where they are and for new writers to imagine what they might face. If enough contribute it might be a useful stat.
 
Last edited:

seun

Horror Man
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 3, 2006
Messages
9,709
Reaction score
2,052
Age
43
Location
uk
Website
www.lukewalkerwriter.com
Count me in at the bottom end of the scale although after one book, I'd think I'd be a rare writer to be earning more than that.
 

jjdebenedictis

is watching you via her avatar
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
7,064
Reaction score
1,640
To clarify, you mean earnings just from writing, correct? Because I suspect most people in the bottom few brackets will have a day job too. :)
 

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
To clarify, you mean earnings just from writing, correct? Because I suspect most people in the bottom few brackets will have a day job too. :)
yes, just from fiction writing alone, including short stories. (ie but not articles, journals, non-fiction books etc)

I think AW has a pretty cross-section of the published fiction writer world. If there were 200 or more response I think the survey/ poll might offer a good indication of the fiction writer situation.

although taxes etc are different with each country and each individual, and payment is in different currencies, having a net figure will address this a bit.


so unless your currency is wildly different (eg a 1000 your currency = 10 dollars) then just assume the range/ bracket is in your own currency, my reasoning being that cost of living differences in each country will re-balance the currency exchange rate (yes, rough, but well, converting your home currency to US dollars wont take into account the cost of living differences. ie 10,000 in the UK is a roughly equal experience to say 10,000 Can$ for a Canadian in Canada. hope that makes sense)
 

Ken

Banned
Kind Benefactor
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
11,481
Reaction score
6,197
Location
AW. A very nice place!
... read somewhere that the average yearly earnings for published writers was around 8-9 thousand. And that was several years back. That said, I'm in awe of anyone who's earning loot from writing, no matter what the sum. That's a great accomplishment in itself.
 

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
Dollars or pounds? I'm going for pounds.

Last year - first bracket (by a wide margin, ie less than 1k)

This year? Bracket two, towards three. Hoping for more, but we'll see.
Pounds if you're UK.

i think it'd be too messy otherwise.

congrats on the upward bracket movement!
 

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
I voted, even though all I have to report are my advances. The millions haven't started rolling in yet...
well unless the pub house goes broke before the cheque clears - advances count!


I'm quite surprised at the findings so far.

I thought most would gather around the 20-50k mark.
I expected a high lower end, as with the 3 year period, most would be starting off.

But would have assumed the next highest figure to be between the 20-50k mark. Instead it seems if you're earning, you're earning good. (50+)


Very interesting. Although way too early/ too few responses to say anything definite.
 

Mustafa

New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 11, 2012
Messages
350
Reaction score
15
Location
right behind you
Since all of the surveys for the past decade or so come in at around US$5,000 per year on average, I'm curious how you decided on a number that is 4 to 10 times that amount.

I don't trust those surveys. They're notoriously way off in all other industries. The best way to find out what average writers make is to query a large enough sample of people who are published in a way you would like to be published. i.e. what's the average earnings for a group of writers who publish one novel a year through one of the big six publishers?

I know half a dozen mid-listers, and they all do +50,000 a year. But the ones I know have a backlist of about 6-10 books. Lots of writers you've never heard of make a living wage writing books.
 

thothguard51

A Gentleman of a refined age...
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
9,316
Reaction score
1,062
Age
70
Location
Out side the beltway...
Every article I have read on this subject for the past ten years, suggest that the average writer makes about $19,000 per year. I am unsure if that is per book, or combined though.

Most of the articles did not include the self publishing e-book revolution occurring. Still if you average out the self pubbed e-books, I think the numbers would go down by the sheer fact of the amount of self pubbed not selling in any great numbers.
 

Terie

Writer is as Writer does
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
4,152
Reaction score
953
Location
Manchester, UK
Website
www.teriegarrison.com
I don't trust those surveys. They're notoriously way off in all other industries. The best way to find out what average writers make is to query a large enough sample of people who are published in a way you would like to be published. i.e. what's the average earnings for a group of writers who publish one novel a year through one of the big six publishers?

I know half a dozen mid-listers, and they all do +50,000 a year. But the ones I know have a backlist of about 6-10 books. Lots of writers you've never heard of make a living wage writing books.

The surveys I've read (can't remember enough details to find any online right now) were put together by reputable writers' organisations in the US (where the average was generally around $5,000 to 7,000) and the UK (where the average was generally around £5,000) where they include only commercially published authors.

Since I can't provide links to back up my claims -- and even if I could -- you're free not to trust the surveys.

But please don't assume that I have no clue about how much money writers make. I know lots more than half a dozen mid-listers, and yes, many of them make closer to 50K per year than 5K per year -- a few substantially more. But I also know a hell of a lot who don't make even 5K per year.

And, behold the current results of this very survey, almost 3/4 of whom state earnings of less than 20K. This survey, unscientific and narrow as it is, is right in line with every other survey I've ever seen.
 

Anne Lyle

Fantastic historian
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 23, 2007
Messages
3,469
Reaction score
395
Location
Cambridge, UK. Or 1590s London. Some days it's har
Website
www.annelyle.com
I voted bottom bracket because I'm a new writer with a medium-sized publisher. My only earnings so far are the advances on a single contract, which are of course spread out over several years. Hence, not very much yet, on a per-annum basis.

Hoping that will go up, once I have enough traction for my agent to start selling foreign language rights! (Not to mention future deals and royalties...)
 

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
And, behold the current results of this very survey, almost 3/4 of whom state earnings of less than 20K. This survey, unscientific and narrow as it is, is right in line with every other survey I've ever seen.

ouch. :

:D

Yes, scientific it aint. But i think AW is a good pool of participants and it might give a broad sense of the state of play.


The ebook phenomena and the self pub thingy are new elements though - and i wonder if they'll make a difference. (earnings are earnings)

re the 20-50, that was not based on hard stats, just a guess/ postulation from personal sources.


Question is, really, what percentage are earning above the 50 mark?
And what percentage are below the 10k mark?
That in itself might offer some sense of what the reality is for writers.
 

Paul

Banned
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
482
Location
Close to mother Sea
from the blog on the 2000 report

75% of authors earned under £20,000 in 1999. The average annual income was £16,000, while 5% (82) of authors polled earned more than £75,000. Only 3% (51) earned over £100,000.



Although the national average wage was £20,919 when the report was compiled, 61% of the writers polled earned under £10,000. 46% earned under £5,000, of whom 123 said that writing was their main source of income, while 14 had no other source of income at all.



from the second blog on the 2005 report

The top 10% of UK authors earned more than 50% of total reported income, while the bottom 50% earned less than 10% of total reported income. Which means that for every £100 earned through writing in the UK, the top-earning 10% shared out £50 between them, while the lowest-earning half of all writers had to make do with sharing out just £10 between them all. The remaining £40 was shared between the 40% of writers who occupied that relatively middle-to-high-end income bracket.



the results for this poll seems similar at first glance - except for that middle bracket - but in reality that also is the same -ie if they took all earning and divided it by the number of respondents, they would get the 20k average.

But this is a misleading figure - there is no 20k average group as the figures suggest high numbers at the low sharing low income and low members at the high end sharing high income.

so in short you either earn low, or you earn 'big' (above 50k). but this bit
"The remaining £40 was shared between the 40% of writers who occupied that relatively middle-to-high-end income bracket." does suggest some sort of middle ground - but by the look of it, it is a low middle ie 40/40 =1 whereas at the top end 50/10 = 5 and at the bottom end 10/50 = .5.

that is, the 'middle' are really just twice the income of the low end which equals around 10K!

so to summarise, all these stats (incl this poll) seem to suggest that there is little middle ground. ie, for the vast majority you're either at the top (50K+), or the bottom (below 10K)
 

Jamesaritchie

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Messages
27,863
Reaction score
2,306
I'm not big on averages. If nine writers each earn a hundred bucks per year, and one writer earns a million, the average means they should all be be living pretty high on the hog.
 

Cathy C

Ooo! Shiny new cover!
Kind Benefactor
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
9,908
Reaction score
1,831
Location
Hiding in my writing cave
Website
www.cathyclamp.com
I voted based on my income alone. I write with a co-author and split revenue 50/50, so I'd be in a different bracket if I included actual contract earnings.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Featured Book