The financials of being a fantasy writer

A question for the published fantasy authors here
Reddit has a good thread going where someone asked how much a fantasy author can expect to earn in a year. In awesome redditor style two successful fantasy authors stepped up and shared how much money they actually earn off their books, one was traditionally published Paul S. Kemp (Tales of Egil & Nix, The Erevis Cale Trilogy) the other was self-published author Michael J. Sullivan (The Riyria Chronicles.) Give it a read, it’s a good look into the financials of our creative endeavours and the results aren’t surprising.

It boils down to this: in areas where the cost of living is higher the money made as a mildly successful fantasy author may not be enough to keep you afloat, especially if you have a family you’re supporting. However, if you live modestly, you’ll probably do all right.

It’s interesting this has come up, with my debut novel “The Stars Were Right” so close to launch I have been thinking a lot about the financial side of being a fantasy writer. All sorts of questions have popped into my head: what if it flops? What if I never make back the money I have put into the book? What if no one ever reads it? *gasp!* It can be stressful stuff.

I have come to the conclusion that for me it’s not about making millions (or even thousands) and achieving Harry Potter success—I love my day job—I am not writing for the money. I’m writing because I love it. I’m writing because I have stories to tell. I’m writing because I want people to enjoy my stories. I can only encourage others to feel the same way. Don’t write for any other reason: not money, nor fame. Write because you love it. Write because you have a story to tell. In the end no one else can put a value on your personal fulfillment.

(The dragon image above was created by Aomori. You can see the full work here.)

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