What's the average salary for a writer?

I was wondering what does the average Young Teen or Fiction writer would make if they got their book published and what are the factors that determine how much or how little they get paid? Thanks =]

14 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Assuming you or your literary agent can sell your book to a legitimate publisher, which is not easy...

    Although every writer can negotiate with a publisher, typical royalties for an unknown author might be:

    Hardcover royalties of 10% on the first 5000 units sold; 12 ½% on the next 5000 units and 15% thereafter. (Hardcover figures are rarely different, even for authors who sell well.) Trade paperback royalties are 7 ½%. Mass market royalties are for 8% for the first 150,000 units sold and 10% thereafter.

    First printings for the unknown author lucky enough to get hardbound are typically 5,000 units. Say it sells for $25 (because we sure like our round numbers) and it sells through--all 5,000 copies sell.

    $25 x 10% = $2.50 per book in royalties

    $2.50 x 5,000 = $12,500--not much considering that it probably took a year to research and write the book, and quite possibly longer. A full time minimum-wage job would earn the author more money.

    More often, the unknown author gets trade paperback. They’re usually about $15.00

    $15 x 7 ½% = $1.12 per book in royalties--not even half what the hardbound earns.

    $1.12 x 5,000 = $5,600

    Or maybe the unknown author goes straight to mass market paperback. They’re often about $8.00

    $8 x 8% = 64 cents per book in royalties

    $0.64 x 5,000 = $3,200

    Of course, if you happen to write the huge novel of the moment, maybe you sell a half million copies instead.

    Of maybe you only sell 2500.

    I know several authors online and a handful in meatspace, and only three derive all their income from their fiction. Most either keep their day jobs or have another source of income, like a working spouse or savings.

  • 3 years ago


    Source(s): Good Writing Job http://givitry.info/WritingJobsOnline
  • pj m
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago


    When an author's work is accepted, the publisher will determine what kind of sales the book will make. They in turn give the author what is called an 'advance,' which is about what book will make on the open market. This advance could be a hundred thousand or a million dollars, depending on what the public is into.

    The literary agent gets about 15% of sales and the author usually gets about the same for each book sold. Usually the author will get in the neighborhood of . . . let's say, $2.75 per book sold, but if the author has a million seller, then do the math.

    Sometimes a book is made into a movie. This is where the real money comes in, selling the rights for the movie. So, this is what an author is up against when publishing a novel. Unfortunately I haven't been that lucky. LOL

    PJ M

    Source(s): Published author.
  • tansey
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Author Salary

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  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on how well the book sells. Some writers go broke and some make millions like J. K. Rowling. It all depends on how good of a writer you are and how well you can advertise your book. Christopher Paoloni is making a lot of money (I'd guess) and he was 15 when he published Eragon. It might take a few year for your book to get well-known. There really isn't an AVERAGE salary, as I said before, it depends on how well the book sells.

  • 1 decade ago

    Book authors generally don't get a salary, unless they work on staff for "book packagers." These are organizations that put together book packages (hence the name) for publishers -- generally the big colorful books you see promoted heavily as gifts, such as "The Middle Ages" A Pictorial Record" or "Great Yacht Races of the 20th Century" (both of these examples are fictitious.)

    Authors derive their income from royalties and the sale of subsidiary rights. Unless the book is a best-seller or sells well consistently over the years, the return to the author on an hourly basis is usually far less than what she could earn at McDonald's.

    The lesson: Don't quit your day job.

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    What's the average salary for a writer?

    I was wondering what does the average Young Teen or Fiction writer would make if they got their book published and what are the factors that determine how much or how little they get paid? Thanks =]

    Source(s): average salary writer: https://shortly.im/7RaFd
  • 1 decade ago

    I've never heard of a fiction writer being salaried. You are paid per book/contract only. As a beginning writer, you will be paid approximately squat, I'm sad to say. You really need to build up a reputation and/or get a killer agent before you could start raking in decent advantage.

    I am a speech writer (far from fiction, yet not so far!), and I am salaried around 33K a year. Not great, not terrible. Also, I resent the bubble next to this box telling me I have too much punctuation.

    • Liked the comment purely for the statement: "Also, I resent the bubble next to this box telling me I have too much punctuation."

  • Dawna
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/avlpQ

    Food is the salary, at first. Newspapers can pay minimum wage. Thankfully, you get free food though. As you get more experienced, you could work up $30k a year. If you have a great degree and work for a great paper or mag, you could see 100k, or you could sell articles at .02 to $1 a word. If you're writing books, well, you'll get paid much better. You'll get royalties and such. Travel guides too.

  • Marti
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    basically, they get NOTHING.

    First time writers, unless the publishers are extremely excited about the piece, won't make an advance more then 1,000-8,000ish. If you've written and sold other books, especially with the same company, the advances will get larger. They will get royalties(but only if the book SELLS,) and they will take in roughly 15% of those royalties.

    That's it. Writers like JKR and Stephen King can live off their writing, but 99.5% of writers can't. There is rarely a middle ground in writing. You either make a little bit(99% of writers), or you make a hell of a lot(1%).

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