Nightspore

Reflections on fantasy, SF, writing, music, technology, life…

Are writing careers harder now?

Is making a living and having a writing career harder now? That is the impression given by an article in The Observer newspaper yesterday (Sunday 2 March). Somewhat provocatively titled From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author’s life? it explores the financial situation of several authors (non-fiction and fiction).
It does show that since the mid-eighties the life of a mid-list author with a mainstream publisher has become more difficult but, to some degree, I feel it is that publishing incomes seem to have come back more to pre-eighties levels making the period from 1980 to 2000 more an aberration.
The article does little to explore other side of the coin of the success many authors have found self-publishing and the disruption this has caused to the conventional market.
Scanning the reader comments (including a number of self-identified writers among them) below the article, there was a general sense that the authors interviewed were whinging rather! Certainly, I was surprised the first author interviewed, Rupert Thomson, had reached the point where he had to give up renting an office and commuting into London to write and now had to “make do” with an attic conversion in his house. Not exactly starving then!

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