Wednesday, February 16, 2011

McDonalds Here I Come

Here is a list of very good reasons why I shouldn't have given up my day job and decided to become a writer#.

*At the time of the last national census, the average annual income for a writer in Australia was just over $20,000.

*That average included writers such as Bryce Courtenay, so if you take out his multi-million dollar earnings, the medium annual income for writers in Australia was just under $5,000.

*The average first novel takes between 2 and 5 years to write.

*A print run for a literary novel in Australia is between 1,000 and 3,000 copies.

*For a new author, even if you were lucky enough to find someone who wanted to publish your book, the print run would be at the lower end of the scale, say 1,500 books.

*A literary novel sells for between $21 and $33. Let's be generous and say you sell yours for $25.

*Authors usually get about 10% of the sale price, and chances are you have to pay your agent 15% of that (how else would you have managed to find someone to publish your book?).

*So,that is 10% of $25 times 1,500 books, minus 15%. 


Even if you manage to sell every copy.

For a novel that probably took you five years to write.

Let's put that in perspective.

Say you have two children and you want to do some normal kid stuff with them, let's say Playgroup and an annual Zoo membership for a few years, some carseats and a half decent pram: $2,000.  Might have to sell some more books.

Say you manage to toilet train your two children by the age of three.  The cost of disposable nappies: approximately $5,000.  Might have to sell a kidney.

You send your two kids to daycare, two days a week so you can stay home and write the aforementioned novel.  The cost of just one year of daycare: $16,000.  Might have to sell your soul to the devil.

#Thanks to the Sydney Writers Centre for providing these stats during the last module of my online Creative Writing Course.  You have completely scared the pants off me and I think I will go and find a job at McDonalds.

1 comment:

  1. If it makes you feel any better, my friends did the calculations a few years ago and, because of overtime etc, lawyers got paid less per hour than if they worked Macca's - so you're still ahead, lady (think of the hashbrowns!)


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