Are Career Authors a Threatened Species?

Old typewriterLet’s be realistic. Things aren’t as easy as they once were for full-time novelists. Revenues are declining, but at the same time, there’s never been more people reading than ever before. How do we resolve this? Or maybe we don’t? The market is changing. It’s usually foolish to fight it: that’s seldom a long-term solution.

And really, that’s what I’m trying to work through. There’s no point as a new author, moaning about the “state of the industry”. This is pointless. It is what it is.

Does that mean making a living is solely out of book sales is dead in the water? No, there will always be success stories. There will always be people like Andy Weir (author of the excellent book The Martian) making a big dent out of nowhere, and the people with already long-established careers will continue to perform well. So they and others will do well, but I think that maybe when it comes to making a career solely out of novels, proportionally fewer will than we have seen in the past.

For most authors – or those who want to make a living out of writing books – I think it’s sensible to take an honest and open look at your skillset. It’s rewarding too.

Being a good writer is a really valuable talent as the knowledge economy grows to dominate everything in the coming years. Many writers will continue to adopt new skills and become journalists, copywriters, etc. and grow their business that way. In short, it’s much more likely that you can make a career out of writing, than making a living just as a writer of novels. Your novels will be a piece of the puzzle: maybe a little piece, maybe a lot. That will be down to luck, perspiration and determination.