Amanda posted this on Mad Genius Club
The second article by the Guardian is worth it just for the headline: Publishers should pay authors as much as their other employees. The article doesn’t say much that most of us here at MGC haven’t said before. Publishers complain about the rising cost of publishing and use that as an excuse for not paying authors more. However, those same publishers continue to insist on having their offices in high dollar office buildings in the middle of high dollar real estate areas in places like London and New York City. At a time when it isn’t unusual to find authors, especially new authors who aren’t being pushed by the major publishers as the “next big thing” receiving advances of only $5,000, “even the lowliest shuffler of proofs gets more than £11,000 a year.” Now, unless the dollar has taking a huge jump in the international monetary market, that “shuffler” is making about twice in a year what the author makes. Hmmmm.
Which linked to this:
Here’s an author with some real numbers.
Now I’m not going to go into sales and earning out because the Guardian article doesn’t discuss that. Now all three books probably came to between 450,00 and 600,000 words, lets call it 500,000 words. Now how much time did Ms. Hurley put into that and how much did she get for that time. Now because Ms. Hurley had a full time job I’m going to assume that she had 3 hours/day available for writing and produced about 2500 words/day. So all three books probably took 200 days of writing and 600 hours.
500,000 words/2500 words per day =200 days. 3 hours /day =600 hours
for which she net 25,500 after agency fees. which adds up to 42.50 an hour, just for writing time, which isn’t bad. But, because the publisher isn’t going to buy more books than the three she actually wrote and she’s contracted to only publish with that publisher(they like exclusivity clauses) she can’t make enough to live in writing full time.
There’s a reason that there are so few male authors these days and that’s because the way the system is rigged, you can’t make a living with your writing.
The fact is that the current crop of people in charge of the publishing industry don’t really understand that authors are not just replaceable widgets. part of this is the fact that they think of everybody not of their social class as replaceable widgets and part of that is that not being very creative themselves, they don’t understand them.
Fortunately, if a writer wants to write and actually try to make money at it they now have recourse. Just put the stuff up on the internet. Now there are a bunch of outlets that will take your stuff and publish it for a percentage. If people discover you and like your stuff, then you will, more than likely do very well. For more information here’s some people who have done it.
Authors no longer have to have a dependency relationship with anybody other than their readers. That can only be a good thing. It’s time that authors realized that in the end, they are the ones in charge and that they can break out of those bad relationships with the people that just don’t care about them.