Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Writers and Money

Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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Understanding Writing & Money


This is yet another of my posts about writing and money.

Writing for Money

Image courtesy of Caltiva Creatividad ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/caltiva

And, even though there are writers who don’t care about the money, most of the Internet Hype these days seems to assume that there is no other reason to write but to make enough money to live on—and, far too much of the Hype is about making Tons of money…

I thought I’d share a few books recommended by Jane Friedman—from her article Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus—about the issues writers face when they write with the intention of making money:

Authors & Owners by Mark Rose explores the invention and history of copyright, which has made it possible for writers to make a living from their work. Writers went for more than 250 years after the invention of the printing press without any formal rights to their creations. How did they earn money? Some didn’t—nor did they want to.

The Author, Art, and Market by Martha Woodmansee is an incredible scholarly work that explores what happened as literature became subject to the laws of the market economy, and shows how and when Western culture began to identify art as something that doesn’t sell—and then turned that quality into a virtue.

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar is primarily about where publishing is headed, but his theory is grounded in stories of where publishing has been, and traces important historical milestones of the industry.

The Gift by Lewis Hyde came out more than 30 years ago, and is still in print. It’s said that Margaret Atwood gave a copy to every artist she knew when it released. While not focused on publishing, it explores the tension between art and commerce—or how one can or should go about making a living through one’s art.

Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens is like a contemporary update to The Gift, using Jim Henson’s career and values to present a framework for creating your art and making a living, but not selling out. Maria Popova writes about it elegantly here.

Are there any books about writing and money you can recommend?

Do, please, share them in the Comments…
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Making Money As A Writer


I’ve written many posts about writers and money.

Writing for Money

Image courtesy of Caltiva Creatividad ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/caltiva

Some folks think that only the journalist-type or the non-fiction writer should think about making money

Some folks think that fiction writers shouldn’t consider money and only write for the love of the art

Some folks think the new self-publishing juggernaut can slam them into the mega-sales bracket

Thing is, there’s a bit of truth in all those ways of thinking—a bit

The full truth about any individual’s chance of making money with their writing involves, at least, the following factors:

* How strong their desire is to make money

* How much money they can spare to help them make money

* How much time they have to spend working toward making money

* The choice of venues in which they’re willing to try to make money

From my experience, I’d recommend a writer soberly consider those factors; then, based on their deliberations, make a sound judgement about one more factor:

* Can they generate the staying-power to pursue, faithfully and diligently, the path toward earnings they want to follow?

That’s my two-cents’ worth

Now, I’ll share two very different perspectives on making money as a writer.

The first is from a friend of mine—Angela Yuriko Smith—and is called Three Ways to Build Your Byline.

Her method is simple and sound; and, you might call it the boot-strap method.

Just a couple excerpts from her article:

“In the beginning, you need to show your talents off anywhere you can.”

“It doesn’t matter if you were paid for them or not.  All that matters is you have published peices of paper with your name on them.”

“Now that so much is on the internet, your links are also your clips.  Save the title and link to everything you get published.”

“Give your talents away to everyone who will take them.  I have had so many doors open up because I volunteered to lend my writing for a good cause.”

“Let your words be powerfully promiscuous.”

Do, if you have any desire to make money as a writer, go read Angela’s full piece.

Next, I’ll offer a video with two of today’s rising stars in the writing-for-money “market”—they both make money talking about making money—yet, they both have some good ideas to offer for your consideration


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Writers & Money ~ Revisited . . .


There are many reasons to write besides making money.

Writers and Money

Image courtesy of Svilen Milev ~ http://efffective.com.

Some folks might even declare that having money as a goal is “improper”

I suppose it depends on one’s ability to be detached from the money—not having money as the prime reason for writing?

Seems that writing for only the money could easily warp some of the more humane reasons to write?

I’ve written quite a few posts about writers and money and one in particular about a new magazine that focuses on money-making opportunities—Scratch, Scratch, Who’s Got The Money?

And, l should mention a literary conference in the U.S.A. in May called, The Muse & the Marketplace.

Someone I’ve featured here many times, Jane Friedman, will be speaking at that conference and wrote in her blog post, Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus:

“I’m…reading up on the tension between art and business, and finding that the ability of writers to earn a living through their creative work is a fairly new phenomenon, dating back to the 18th century and the rise of literacy, which largely made professional authorship possible.”

She also says, about today rather than long ago:

“…anybody and everybody can write and publish—but attention is scarce. Thus it’s little surprise that we have writers being paid in exposure, not dollars.”

Then she shares a few of the books she’s been exploring to prepare for her talk at the conference (do go to her blog post for her descriptions of these books):

Authors & Owners by Mark Rose

The Author, Art, and Market by Martha Woodmansee

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Then, she closes the post with a wonderful note:

“While my talk is part of the official conference schedule at The Muse, it is also free to the public. Click here to reserve your seat.

So, what are your thoughts or feelings about writing for money?
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Scratch, Scratch, Who’s Got The Money?


I’ve done 22 posts here featuring or mentioning Jane Friedman. ( If you take that link you’ll see this post, #23, since I’m tagging it with her name :-) — just scroll down a bit for the others )

Well, Jane has launched a new magazine that treats of writing and money

If you’re about to click away from this post, from fear of money or fear of writing, please first look at Jane’s Bio—extremely unique and worthy of emulation

She’s teaming up with Manjula Martin—“freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant. She has worked in different editorial capacities with KQED public media, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), Chronicle Books, Zoetrope: All-Story, POZ Magazine, and private clients. As a communications strategist, Manjula has worked with MoveOn.org, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), The Contemporary Jewish Museum, and Net Impact. She collaborates regularly with branding firms Aid & Abet, Free Range, and Mission Minded.”

Scratch is a quarterly and will cost $20/year (with a discount if you subscribe before the first “official” edition in January) but with Jane and Manjula as editors it should be well worth the cost.

Also, they’ve released a first edition of Scratch that’s Free.

Here’s Jane revealing the purpose of Scratch:

“Very few people or publications speak openly about the economic realities of the publishing business. In our bare-it-all media culture, frank talk about money remains taboo. Writers often lack the context or insight to understand our own industry, even as that industry undergoes massive structural and economic changes. Scratch provides a home for open and sustained discussion of these experiences through high-quality content. Yes, we publish advice for writers—but we also go further, investigating the nuances of writers’ relationships to money, work, and publishing.”

Scratch will have an ongoing column called Who Pays Writers which, even though Scratch costs money, will be free to access. Here’s their description of that column:

“Who Pays Writers…collects and reports information from writers about how much magazines and websites pay. We post these reports pretty much as you submit them. We seek to be informational, not judgmental.”

Scratch also has a blog. Here’re some of the first posts’ titles ( with links :-) :

Construction Pays, Writing Doesn’t

A note on the experience of being edited

Adam Weinstein on the un-specialness of feeling poor

Atlantic’s Guide for Freelancers

Congruity: about writing and money when you’re young and a girl

I think they’re going to be rather innovative with the structure of the blog

A final word from Jane:

“If you find Scratch’s content useful, then I hope you’ll subscribe before the first issue releases in January—you’ll get a special rate if you do. Or, if a subscription isn’t for you, but you’d still like to support our mission, then consider a donation.”
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