Music, Theater, Art, and Books—industries that entertain us and feed our souls. What would the quality of our lives be without them? But what you may not know is that the creators of most of the creative arts we enjoy cannot make a living at it. You read that correctly: aside from a very tiny group of privileged big names, creative artists cannot support their families based on what they get paid. The reason for the cliché "Starving Artist" is that artists are criminally underpaid for their work.
I've spoken to creative folks in other genres (music and art, esp) and they assure me that this is true in their fields. But since I know the writing / publishing world, I'll speak to that. Suppose you write a 100,000 word novel, no small feat. You've spent uncounted hours drafting, rereading, revising, revising, and more revising, editing, promoting, etc. Then, you land a publishing contract. Say you sell several hundred thousand copies of that book. You'd think the author would be set, right? Or…at least make a living? Not exactly. Not even close.
The industry standard royalty rate for published authors is 10-15%. That's it. That means, if your book sells for $9.99, the author receives at best: $1.49. That's best case. Then, the publisher holds back money against returns, deep discounts, and has a dozen other small clauses in the contract that reduces the author's take even more.
Certainly a lot of different people work very hard to publish a book, and they deserve to get paid, right? But for the creator of the book to get paid so little, well, it's exploitation, really. My wife and I went back through my royalty statements over the years to find out what I averaged per book. It turned out to be a smidge less than 70 cents per book.
I'm grateful for each and every sale. And I'm by no means starving. I have a full time teaching job and my wife works four days a week. This works for life, but it keeps all but a few of the stories I want to tell buried on a to-do list that runs to the horizon. My hope is to, one day, be a full time author. I've set a goal of 5-6 years, and I'm praying hard to make that happen. And, I'm opening up the dream to you, as well.
Maybe you've read and appreciated my stories. Maybe you'd like to see a lot more new books from me SOON. Here's how you can help: Become my Patron on Patreon.com. It’s different from Kickstarter because it’s not about one big project that requires funding, but rather an ongoing relationship with the author / creator to produce multiple works.
And, of course, being a Patron comes with privileges: sneak previews, bonus stories, custom artwork, an open-communication with the author, etc. Interested? I hope so, because I have so many stories I'd like to share with you…
Will you raise a sword with me? Click Below: