What Percentage of Novelists Earn a Living Wage?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Of all the learned professions, literature is the most poorly paid.

—Dr. Edward Eggleston, 1890

Lately, I have taken to answer publishing-related questions on Quora. Yesterday, I came across someone who asked, What percentage of novelists earn a living wage (i.e. $40,000-$50,000 a year)?

After a little research, I came across some data that I think will be of interest to you, so I’m sharing here my response.

What Percentage of Novelists Earn a Living Wage?

Get paid to write | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Writing is typically a poorly paid profession—or so most people think. However, just how poorly paid it is, is a matter of some debate. Last year, the Authors Guild released an income survey with the usual “crisis” headline. However, a large number of respondents reported little or no income. Once you filter out these people, the numbers are quite different.

As Publishers Marketplace explains, the median income for full-time published authors, once you remove…

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