I’ve always been curious about the logistics of actually trying to make a living off of being an author (a sci-fi/fantasy author in particular, of course), so a couple of blog posts, both recent and older, have been particularly interesting and informative in this respect:
- John Scalzi talks about why he doesn’t try to make a living off of short fiction, and follows that up by enumerating, down to the cent, how much he’s made on short fiction throughout his career. Pretty fascinating to see some hard numbers. (This all started in response to Scalzi’s contentious accusation that the $0.002/word payment of a recently established zine was “insulting to authors.”)
- On the other side of the coin, the famously prolific Catherynne Valente talks about why short fiction sales keep her afloat.
- And on the novel side, Daniel Hoyt presents an amusing and highly informative breakdown of the kind of timelines and income an aspiring novelist can expect…
- …and the Editorial Ass discusses what one can consider “good sales” for a literary novel.
I hope these kind of link aggregations aren’t too overwhelming (or irritating); I like compiling them as much for my own reference as for the purposes of propagating interesting links.
2 thoughts on “Filthy lucre”
Thanks for this post! Of course you just wasted 1 hour of my time I should have spent writing, but the Hoyt post is downright fascinating and I like having these all in one place. Especially the stats about novel selling. Nowadays you only ever hear about the 6 figure advances because.. they’re the only ones worth talking about.
You know, speaking of which, maybe someday we can ask isaac marion to describe how his warm bodies did… give all the languages as film rights???
Yeah, I loved the Hoyt post – once you get over the depressing reality check, it’s so useful to know, very concretely, what to expect.
That would definitely be something I’d be interested in hearing! It seems scarily easy for authors to get shafted when it comes to things like film and foreign-language rights. I know Caitlin Kiernan was forced to give up rights to foreign-language royalties on her novelization of the Beowulf movie – which subsequently became a strong seller in China. :/