You must be rich: Common misconceptions about authors

12 Aug 2014 Ruth L Snyder

Shadows and Sunshine Newsclip

Last week at a family reunion, someone asked, “Are you rich now that you’re a famous author?” I laughed and answered his questions. Since then I’ve been thinking more about the question and how I would answer if asked again.

Yes, I’m rich:

Am I making hundreds or thousands of dollars from book sales? NO

Here are some facts about authors that may surprise you:

  • Many authors lose money or barely recover what it costs them to get a book published and distributed
  • Most authors have a “day job” because they don’t make enough from their writing to live on
  • Writing a book is the “easy” part. It’s a challenge to get books published, marketed, and sold

Authors wouldn’t bother to write if money was their only objective. There are many other ways to make money that are easier, faster, and more predictable. Authors write because:

  • It’s something they have to do, almost a compulsion
  • They enjoy the process of writing – it’s therapeutic for them
  • Writing enriches the author and those who read
  • Writing is art
  • Many writers see what they do as a ministry

I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be an author, but not for the reasons many people may think. Are you suprised?

2 thoughts on “You must be rich: Common misconceptions about authors

  1. Sharon Espeseth

    I understand your last line, Ruth, about being thankful to have the opportunity to be an author, “but not for the reasons many people may think.” No , I am not at all surprised that you are thankful to be able to write, because I do know you enjoy writing and that you are growing in your art. Blessings as you continue to write, my friend. May you continue to write stories that are meaningful to your readers and that uplift them in their faith.

    May publishers, editors, and readers realize that you, “. . . (the) worker deserves (her) pay.”

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