Last week, I listened to a true crime podcast about a writer who killed her husband. Because she was an independent romance writer, I wasn’t surprised when the hosts made jokes about bodice rippers. Misogynistic, uninformed comments come with the territory. But then, the conversation turned to the couple’s money woes – particularly the woman’s low income – and one of the hosts said:
“….at the end of the day, if that’s not bringing you in enough money to support you and your husband and like in addition to his income, that’s a hobby.” *
Whoa! Hold it right there, Linda. A hobby?
Self-publishing isn’t a hobby; it’s a small business. You don’t simply dash off a novel, slap on a cover, and call it a day. It involves market research, business planning, budgeting, marketing, analysis, and technical expertise. It also takes patience. You don’t see a major income from one book. You need a sizeable backlist which takes time to create, which means you’re balancing the business side with writing books.
And let me add that writing a book isn’t easy. I know because I struggle with the job every single day, and while I might not be making a livable wage at the moment, I can assure you, my writing is more than a hobby.
Here’s a news flash for you Linda. Most writers don’t make a livable wage. The average traditionally published author makes $8,600 while the average self-published author makes $12, 749.** Are you going to call these men and women hobbyists too?
Let me ask you another question. Would you have referred to a fledgling consulting business or struggling restaurant as a hobby? Would you have said anything if she wrote serious works like The Overstory or Washington Black?
Or was it because she wrote books with sex scenes and bare-chested men on the covers?
I’m not writing this blog to defend a murderer. This woman lived beyond her means and chose murder over getting a second job.
No, I’m writing this blog on behalf of all the working writers out there who, like me, sit down every day after day knowing that they will never see a proper return on our investment. Knowing that unless they hit lightning in a bottle, they will never be properly compensated for the time and mental energy they put into their careers. Doesn’t matter if they write all day or split their time with a second job, when they turn on that computer, they are working.
Hear that, Linda? Working.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a job to get to.
* Transcript, Morbid, Episode 449, The Murder of Daniel Brophy.
** The Bookseller, “Self-published Authors Earn More than Traditionally PUblished Authors According to ALLi Report, April 17, 2023.
Hey All! I hope you’re enjoying the new blog format. If you like what you read, be sure to check back every Friday. You can also catch me on Step into the Story, my YouTube show with Donna Alward at YouTube.com/@StepintotheStoryBooks.