Here’s the Thing: Not Everyone Finds It “Easier Than Ever” to Make a Living as a Writer

Can I just take a minute to discuss the statement that I often see that “it’s easier than ever to make a living as a writer”? I saw it pop up again this morning and am still mulling it over. Because, let’s be honest — nine times out of 10, that statement is referring to self-publishing. And I’m beyond a fan of self-publishing — I think it’s great — but to put it out there like, “Well, there’s self-pubbing, so you can just do that and make a living” is so very very flawed.

Self-publishing is awesome and has given a lot more writers the opportunity to write full time, but it is absolutely 100% not the solution for everyone please stop. Consider:

  • That not everyone writes in genres that thrive in self-publishing at the moment, which mostly favors adult markets with a lot of commercial flair
  • That not everyone can handle the entrepreneurial and marketing elements you need to manage to find success; in fact, for some that shit is a total muse-crusher and would result in them being mentally and emotionally worse off
  • That not everyone has the extra money in the bank that it takes to put out a decent quality book — by which I mean, some proofreading, a not totally shitty cover, etc.; I’m talking basics here. A lot of writers have budgets scraped so thin that even $50 upfront for their cousin’s friend to do a cover on MS Paint means less food in the pantry or no money for transportation
  • That not everyone even wants the self-publishing life and tossing this reasoning at them isn’t at all helpful because your goals are not their fucking goals

So while, yes, it might be easier than ever for you or your buddy Joe to put your super-awesome books out yourselves and make a living, before you throw that sentiment out at someone who’s talking about the difficulties of making ends meet as an author…just stop. Tuck this particular privilege back into your pocket and keep walking.

One thought on “Here’s the Thing: Not Everyone Finds It “Easier Than Ever” to Make a Living as a Writer

  1. Actually, I think one of the most reliable ways to make a living as a writer is to do work for hire for businesses. I’m located in Silicon Valley and there’s a lot of tech writers around here.

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