Last year was a financial disaster if you look only at what we all made from writing. Such happens not because clients don’t want to hire or pay you when you work for them. No! Emerging of new writers or the crisis that hit the global economy? No! But, of some factors/reasons that both the writers and their client forget to remember. That’s okay because I personally hadn’t expected to make much, and evidently, I’m not alone. An article in/at The Guardian shows that most writers (depending on how we define “most”) earned less than $1,000 from their writing last year, and we can’t really do much with that over the course of a year. I don’t know what percentage earned $10 or less. Maybe I don’t want to know.
A famous rich author like Elizabeth Gilbert said writing was “all time great.” That was easy for her to say because she’s “All time great also”. I make next to nothing from writing, and I still think writing is “All time great” I think I have more credibility on this issue than she does. But even though writing is great, I know that I probably won’t make much money (I hope I’m wrong) for some basic reasons.
In today’s writing/freelancing world, there are many writers, no enough readers and some hungry writers publish free stuffs. Thus are some of the problems that is facing freelancing markets nowadays.
Technology has created millions and keep creating new writers everyday, and that leaves fewer readers. All those people writing used to be people reading, and they might still read, but they probably read less, and if people are reading less and writing more, than the writer-reader ratio (or reader-writer ratio) goes down (or up). That means there are fewer readers to buy the books/hire you to work for them.
There’s also law of supply and demand here. With eBooks and blogs/websites, millions of regular people who otherwise wouldn’t write are writing. I’m one of them. I almost gave up my dreams of becoming a writer then freelancer when I had been told several times that I was talented but my niche had limited appeal, so publishers would be reluctant to sign me a deal. I put writing out of my mind for some years before i discovered a friend and founder of Writersincharge.com Bamidele. He’s such a nice guy. A freelance writer and Blogger. He put word of courage to me, he embrace me as friend and gave me hope of getting back to my heels.
Not only are there a bunch of writers out there, most of their material is now free. Blogs and websites (and even videos) are free. Some eBooks are free, and the others are really cheap. If so much reading material is free (and some of it is actually good), then readers will be attracted by that and avoid paying for anything. As a reader, that’s great. I love free stuff. But as a writer? I know that creating a reliable income from writing (at least the way I’m going about it now) is a long shot.
Despite the lack of income, writers probably shouldn’t start charging for the stuff that’s free. If they do that, readers would stop reading, and most writers would rather get read for nothing than charge and not get read at all. Feedback is a payment in its own way, so I figure any authors who get feedback from their writing are doing a good job.
Even though my prospects of making money from writing are dim, I’m not filled with gloom and doom. Some years back, I could have pounded the keyboards indefinitely and still nobody would have read my stories or blogs, except maybe for my childhood friends. Now, between blogs and eBooks and unlimited opportunities for shameless self-promotion, anybody can build an audience.
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