"Data gathered by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society in 2007 revealed a median income for authors of just £4,000."
There is an interesting and revealing survey here which looks at authors' experiences of publishers. The above quote augments my recent blog post about most writers needing an alternative source of income other than writing.
Organising finances can be tricky when income is erratic. Amanda Clayman is a psychotherapist specialising in financial well-being, and here she talks about some of the traps that writers and artists often fall into.
John Scalzi claims he has made an average of $100,000 from writing for the last decade (in an article written in 2008). Read his financial advice for writers here. The article has a strong American bias but the ideas are valid for writers of any country. He, too, says that most writers need another source of income such as a second job or a partner who doesn't mind partially supporting the writer financially.
Rebecca Brandewyne details how advances and royalties tend to be paid - and she also reiterates my observation about most writers needing another source of income.
Then read this article then this too, wherein Times bestselling author SL Viehl reveals exactly how much she earned from her novel, Twilight Fall, after tax, agent's fees, book returns, publisher's withholdings and deductions from advances, and personal expenses.
I've created this post on purpose, to focus on the business side of writing. No-one talks about a plumber having a vocation to fix pipes for a pittance, or a green-grocer being resigned to sell cabbages for 3 cents a leaf, and yet creative careers - of all varieties - are often hobbled either by romantic notions of starving for your art, or delusions of immense riches. I did the starving bit when I was an art student, and it's not romantic at all.