The vast majority of authors in the United Kingdom are not raking in a copious amount of money as originally thought. The average author is only making £11,000 per year more than £5,000 below the income level considered to be a socially acceptable standard of living.
The Business of Being an Author: A Survey of Authors Earnings and Contracts was commissioned by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society found some very interesting facts on the viability of author earnings.
The full research found that the top 10% of professional authors – defined as those who dedicate more than 50% of their time to self-employed writing – earn 58% of all the money earned by professional authors. These professional authors are earning £60,000 or more a year. The top 5% of professional authors – those earning £100,000 or more – earn 42.3% of that money.
Indie authors are not doing much better in the UK, the top 10% of earners made a profit of £7,000 or more and the bottom 20% of authors who have self-published made losses of at least £400.
Despite the fact that most authors are not earning enough to make a viable living this is not dissuading people from attempting to make it their vocation. A new poll by YouGov surveyed 15,000 people and found that 60% would like to be an author.