Do you think you'll get rich writing fiction? Are you writing fiction just to get rich?

 

The unfortunate reality is that very few people get rich writing fiction. Indeed, very few even make a full-time living as fiction writers. I mean, very few.

I don’t know for sure of course, but I’d say that if it’s fortune you’re after, you’d be better off doing this: take the hours you would otherwise spend writing and instead get a second job. Spend the second salary on lottery tickets. You’d probably be more likely to become rich that way.

Like lots of other things in life, writing success fits into a triangular shape.

The very few at the top are making serious money, the huge number at the bottom are making hardly any money, and the many in the middle (the mid-list authors) are making some money but, in most cases, not enough to keep themselves.

I’ve had three novels published in my native Ireland. Two of them were bestsellers, and the third did well too (just didn’t get into the top ten). And yet I am nowhere near making a living from my fiction writing.

As one writing friend said to me, “Think of all the writers we know. They all have day jobs, and/or wage-earning spouses”. And it’s so true.

So much for the riches. What about the fame?So, if you want to be a fiction writer for the money, think again. It could happen for you, and I sincerely hope it does. But I don’t think you should depend on it.

Well, fewer authors still are famous. Think of writers you know by name, and compare this to the number of, say, film stars you know of. I’d say the writers are in the minority.

Now, think how many of those writers you would recognise in the street, compared to how many of the film stars you'd recognise. Again, there wouldn’t be many writers, would there?

Certainly my face has never been recognised, although my name is recognised sometimes. (Mind you, that’s good, in my opinion. I still have my privacy.)

So, scratch fame and fortune.

Why would you do it then?

A writer friend, who has just landed herself an agent, says that she just knows that she is a writer, to the very tips of her fingernails. That's why she does it.

If this, or something similar, is true for you, then you’re meant to be a writer. Quite simply, if writing is something you just have to do - then you're meant to be a writer, and the rest of the information and writers' resources such as books, software, and Holly Lisle's material on this website are definitely for you.

One market that seems to be doing very well for writers is self-published erotica, so that might be worth looking into.

And of course, there is always the chance that you will do well, that you will get rich writing fiction.  People do, after all. Ask J. K. Rowling.