Preface: I am normally of the "it's none of your business how much I earn, any more than how much you earn is any of my business" mindset. But... maybe this will help people understand. Or not. I don't know.
posted about writerly income at a momentary reality check
and I'm reposting here because, well, WHAT SHE'S SAYING. Never mind Rowling, King, Brown, etc. Ain't nobody 'cept those very few getting rich at this job. Damned few of us are earning above the poverty line (Federal standards: $12-15k per household of 1, $23-25k for a family of 3
Catie and I are on a similar track (well, substitute two needy felines for a kid, and remove the spouse), and we are among the fortunate ones, at this point in time, in that we can say that we make an actual living out of this gig.
Averaging the past five years, I'm making around $45k/year, after my agency's 15% commission but before taxes. After-taxes would make you cry, no lie. Freelancer taxes are hell
. I write more slowly than Catie does, which means I have fewer opportunities to sell, but I have my editorial sideline (5-10k of that pre-tax 45) which is why I can (almost) afford to live in NYC.*
(EtA: I also have multiple streams of writing income, between NYC, BookViewCafe, and direct-to-market)
As a point of comparison, the median family income in 2011 (most recent official numbers) was $61,455. There are benefits to this gig, but a fat paycheck is rarely one of them.Keep in mind that writers (all freelancers) are not eligible for unemployment insurance if we lose our job, and every year that's a very real risk. So every year you're also (hopefully, ideally) squirreling away for the inevitable Really Bad Year(s). As they say in the financials, past performance is no guarantee of future results
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