Who Says that Crime Doesn’t Pay?

In counter-point to my previous post about what some bestselling crime writers are earning, here’s what author John Scalzi says he has earned strictly from his science fiction writing:

1999: About $400, from Agent readers
2000: About $1000, from Agent readers
2001: About $1100, from Agent readers and a short story sale at Strange Horizons
2002: About $1000, from Agent readers
2003: About $6000, from Agent readers and from first part of advance for Old Man’s War
2004: About $5000, from Agent readers and from first part of advance for The Android’s Dream
2005: About $15,000, from second part of OMW advance, first part of The Ghost BrigadesAgent to the Stars hardcover, and short story sale to Subterranean Press.
2006: About $67,000.

Scalzi has other sources of writing income outside of his SF genre work, but this gives you a view of what earnings are like for a successful and acclaimed author in a particular genre who is not a megastar.

(Note: Agent refers to Agent of the Stars, a book that Scalzi offered online)

4 thoughts on “Who Says that Crime Doesn’t Pay?”

  1. NB: for 2007, I earned substantially more from SF writing than in 2006 (full figures not in yet, which is why I don’t note them). Still not in the seven figures, drat the luck, but I can’t complain.

  2. I guess he needs Lori Prokop to show him how to live the life of a best selling writer. Obviously, Mr. Scalzi can’t do it on his own(tongue firmly in cheek).

  3. That’s a pretty good income stream, considering that “Agent” was a free download, and readers could contribute whatever they wanted, and that John’s total marketing efforts was limited to the writing on his Web site.
    Of course, it also helps to be talented, blast it. It’s so unfair to the rest of us.


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