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This sounds like a good title for a murder mystery but is about something I was reading in a blog the other day - if you go back 25 years (supposedly) 5% of writers could earn enough to make a living from their craft. 5 years ago this had fallen to around 1% and now it has fallen below 1%.
I know there has always been a huge disconnect between the literary superstars, the Stephen Kings, Dean Koontz, John Grisham's and JK's of the world but it seems the gap is now bigger and as publishers become even more risk averse the chances of a new writer getting the support to develop as a writer is now less than ever. They'd rather spend huge sums on advances for Katy Price's (insert any other pseudo celebrity) latest auto-biography.
If a writer doesn't get a hit with their first book the chances of being given a second are small. Very few writers hit it off first time so I find this a bit depressing, not that I ever expect to be able to earn a living from writing (thankfully) and isn't why I started nor why I continue.
Another aspect is the digital world (driven by Amazon) where people expect to pay 0.99p for a book rather than £5.99. Even the new Mhairi MacFarlane novel was listed for £0.99p for a limited time, which is a little sad, and a sign of the times. The other side of the coin is that more books than ever are now being listed on Amazon and other digital platforms, with, at times, very little editorial quality. This pollutes and dilutes the gene pool. I would qualify this by saying two of the best books I read last year were self-published by writers I'd never heard of.
Also, three of the worst books I read last year were self-published and it shows, one in particular, I'd like to name, but won't, had a terrific premise, brilliant beginning but was so full of spelling mistakes and continuity errors that I couldn't get beyond the fifth chapter.
Most writers write because they have to or to entertain themselves (I do) so money isn't what it's about, which is just as well as there seems to be very little financial incentive to do it anymore.