Monday, July 9, 2018

Why Are Writers Getting Poorer?

Many authors write books because they love to write.  It comes naturally to them.  Others feel they have something important or wonderful to share with the masses.  And some hope to earn a decent living from practicing their craft.  Unfortunately the latest studies in the U.K and U.S. show that writers are struggling as they earn below minimum wage levels.

According to a new study of professional, writers in the UK, conducted by Authors Licensing and Collecting Society, the median earnings of professional writers – those who spend at least half of their working hours to writing – fell by 42% in real terms since 2005, and by 15% since 2013.

Fewer writers can earn a living writing.  

In 2005, 40% of professional writers in the UK made their money solely from writing.  That has now plummeted to just 13.7%.

What that means is most writers have to supplement their income with other jobs, working harder than ever before.

Worse news than that one day could be that fewer talented people pursue the profession of writing.  Could the supply of new, innovative, and dynamic writers, dwindle, leaving the art of writing to the less talented?

Americans have also been confronting this for years.  A year ago a study showed that the average writer’s earnings from writing was below the poverty level.

So what can be done about it?

Journalism is not paying much for talented writers.  Freelance writers struggle to get good pay for penning articles, and because there’s a glut of writers, competition brings earnings down.  Further, these publications are hurting from a lack of advertising, thus they have less editorial space available.

When it comes to books, writers earn less because there’s a flood of books out there, each one averaging fewer copies sold than books averaged five or 10 years ago.  Many self-published do poorly in sales..

One solution is for authors demand higher royalties from book publishers.  But it seems like the economy for writers is scaling downward.

Blame the Internet?  Technology? The trend towards posting free content and giving books away to promote books?  Choose any and all reasons.

Writers always seem to struggle – to get published, to get noticed, to sell books, to get paid.  They write out of love and duty.  Writers don’t know of any other way, regardless of how much money they make.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.”

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