I think Alison’s generosity with this information is awesome! Writing is one of those wonderfully rare careers one delves into with no true idea of what the paycheck will be, and sharing this kind of info is very beneficial.
But I’d like to take a closer look at one part of Alison’s post:
$18,191.15 from June of 2000 when I sold to December 2003. Thirty months. Thatâ€™s approximately $3.50 an hour if you calculate from contract date to the royalty statement I pulled. The book only took three or four months to write, of course, but you get the picture. Making a living in category canâ€™t be done without MULTIPLE releases per year.
Now, I thought about this the day Alison posted, but then I got distracted by something or other. But now, with Lee’s post and, after seeing one aspiring writer asking why she puts herself through this for $3.50 an hour, I thought I’d break down my take on the numbers.
I understand that $18,191.15 may average out to $3.50 over thirty months or so. But thirty months of labor didn’t go into creating the book.
If it took three to four months to write, let’s on the outside with four months. 4 months x 4.3 weeks = 17.2 weeks.
17.2 weeks x 40 hours (just as a touchstone) = 688 hours.
Adding in another 80 hours for additional stuff—copy edits, galley reading, art fact sheets, website updates—gives us 768 hours.
$18,191.15 / 768 hours = @ $23.69 per hour. Not too shabby.
But, of course, you don’t BIC-HOK for 4 1/2 months and get a check for $20k. If you want to quit your day job, you’d better have a hefty savings, a great love of tents, or be able to consistently produce several books per year, as Alison said. And then it takes time to build the readership Alison has.
Anyway, off to clean for the inlaws. Since it rained every day of April vacation, and we had various and assorted children joining mine over the course of the week, I can’t even tell you what my house looks like.