Most authors write because they love it

‘The 2020 median pay for writers and authors was ​$67,230​ per year, with the most common entry-level education being a bachelor’s degree. In 2019, there were 131,200 working novelists in the country, and the job outlook for 2019 to 2029 is 2 percent, a small decline. The staff at Indeed posts that the national average salary is ​$49,046​ and ranges from ​$15,080​ to ​$127,816​. Many novelists are self-employed, so this salary will vary based on how many hours you’d like to work and how successful your works are.” – Chron

I’ve never seen money like that except on cops and robber shows where people walk around with suitcases of one-hundred-dollar bills. When I was a technical writer for computer companies, my salary wasn’t too bad. But when I retired from that rat race, my earnings didn’t soar into the James Patterson realm or even the realm of popular mid-list authors.

At my age, the gigolo business is no longer an option.

So, it (the writing) comes down to liking what we do and then guessing whether our royalties each month will be higher or lower than our expenses. Thank goodness for that Social Security check and my investments in diamond mines and oil wells.

We (authors) usually think what we’re writing is a lot more entertaining than the stuff going on around us in “real life.” I’m sure thinking that way is evidence of loco weed, bad whisky, or schizophrenia. According to the May Clinic, “Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.” My lifelong treatment is writing novels (and meds).

They keep me as sane as I can get.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of satire, magical realism, and contemporary fantasy.