The Dollars and Cents of Writing

Romance novelist Alison Kent shares the dollars and cents behind life as a professional writer, sharing with readers of her blog exactly what she was paid, in advances and royalties, for one of her books. And it works out to this:

$18,191.15 from June of 2000 when I sold to December 2003. Thirty
months. That’s approximately $3.50 an hour if you calculate from
contract date to the royalty statement I pulled. The book only took
three or four months to write, of course, but you get the picture.
Making a living in category can’t be done without MULTIPLE releases per

It was brave and extra-ordinarily helpful for Alison to share this (braver and more helpful than I am) with aspiring writers. Just because you get published doesn’t mean you’ve got it made, that you’re swimming in money. Many of the mid-list authors I know have full-time day jobs…because they couldn’t possibliy live on what they make as authors.  Kudos to Alison for giving aspiring authors a glimpse of the real world (and also explaining why some authors must write more than one book a year)

2 thoughts on “The Dollars and Cents of Writing”

  1. Sorry, Lee, but I gotta ask:
    Why are you so positive about Allison’s post when you made the following statement about PBW doing the same thing on her site a few weeks back?
    She also mentions that she gets an advance of about $21,000 a book which, because she mentions it so often on her blog, comes across more like boasting than informative candor.
    I say congrats to both of them for their courage & willingness to help other writers. I was just wondering why the different perspectives?
    Jim C.

  2. There’s a big difference in the way, and the context, that Alison talks about money and the way PBW does. Alison’s post definitely falls under the heading “informative candor.” That said, I don’t want to create the wrong impression about PBW and her wonderful blog. I think PBW’s blog is a terrific and valuable resource for aspiring writers, who want to learn about the profession, and established authors looking for a lively and fresh prospective on our craft. I read it every day.


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