It all comes down to money a lot of people say and to a certain extent that’s true. I can afford to write because I have the time and my mortgage is paid. I work part-time and so can cover some expenses. I most certainly don’t write to make money!
Of course it would be nice, but I remember a lecturer at DMU telling our class he made the princely sum of 23 pence for every book he sold. The Guardian tells us that most UK authors annual income is still well below the minimum wage. Friends who have books published tell me they earn so little that they don’t pay any income tax and that after spending countless hours at what is their job. For writers who want to be published it is not a hobby, but an actual career move and surely they should be rewarded if their work merits it.
Writing is an expensive job. For “Utrecht Snow” I have spent well over £350 for editing and 200 Euros for maps of Utrecht that I wanted to put into the novel. So far I have sold 7 books to old chums and family. That’s 4 pence a book if it goes via Amazon and 22 pence if from Lulu. You can see it’s not for the money.
An accommodating publisher told me they liked my novel, but not enough to publish it, but for £2600 they would do me the honour. How many books would I have to sell to get any return on that investment?
To improve my writing I took a MA in Creative Writing. That cost £4500. Plus books at about £600. I got my degree. I would love to do a PhD, but the cost is prohibitive. I know it would improve my writing, but it is a financial step too far.
In the coming months I will be taking an Advanced Creative Writers course with the WEA. Chalk up another £83. Ker ching! I will also have two one day courses, one to look at poetry manuscripts £70, ker ching and another to look at children’s writing £35. Ker bloomin ching! They are all with reputable people and some top class writers so I know I will be benefitting, but it does all add up.
Where can writers get help to support them as they write? I’m not holding out the begging bowl just now, but you can see the problem.
I walked into Blickling Halls National Trust second hand bookshop the other day and was astounded at the number of available books from writers I have never heard of. They had all of course been sold as new once, but now rested on the shelves waiting for a second or third chance. There’s the problem, too many writers making not enough money!
Newsflash! Sold two more books! My Lulu account is now 26 pence in credit. What should I do with it?