Last week the Authors Guild put out a survey regarding how much writers’ earnings have dropped. The survey covers the years 2009-2015. The results aren’t overly optimistic. I thought I’d summarize a few of the key points. I recommend going to this site and reading the entire report.
Author Earnings Survey
Wages: For full-time authors, wages are down 30%. In 2009 full-time authors were earning an average $25,000 a year. In 2015 the average was $17,500. For part-time authors, the drop was even more significant. 38%. In 2009 Part-time authors were earning $7,250. In 2015 that number had dropped to $4,500.
Only 39% of writers can support themselves solely on writing related projects. That means they need some outside source of income, and if it’s a job, that means they have less time to write.
Alternatives: More and more writers are taking a “hybrid” approach to publishing. 33% have self-published a book.
Promotion: Writers are being forced to do more and more of the promotion. Since 2009 the amount of time spent on promotion has jumped 59%. That means writers have less time to work on their books/articles.
Experience: You might think writers with a lot of experience would be making more money than new writers, but that’s not the case. Those with ten to fifteen years of experience are making roughly the same amount in 2015 as they were in 2009 (That in itself isn’t good news). Those with 15-25 years experience are making 47% less. 25-40 years of experience are making 67% less.
As the Authors Guild states at the end of the survey, the results aren’t encouraging, but with more writers taking control of their writing (by becoming hybrid authors who publish using both the traditional method and self-publishing) the future isn’t bleak; however, the Guild still feels writers are not being paid as they should be.
Also, the Guild was very disappointed by the most recent court decision regarding Google and its “free” distribution of writers’ e-books. For more information regarding that decision, go to:
It’s good that most writers write because it’s something they love to do. If you are one of the writers getting rich, that’s great. If you’re not getting rich, at least now you know you’re not alone.