Money Makers

New authors or mid-list authors are ones that may struggle with making enough money to earn a living. This begs the question:  how does someone make a living as a writer?  

When we are lost, we look to the stars.

Forbes makes a handy list of the highest paid authors every year. For 2013, please see the finalists listed below.

The Forbes list:
EL James: $95m
James Patterson: $91m
Suzanne Collins: $55m
Bill O’Reilly: $28m
Danielle Steel: $26m
Jeff Kinney: $24m
Janet Evanovich: $24m
Nora Roberts: $23m
Dan Brown: $22m
Stephen King: $20m
Dean Koontz: $20m
John Grisham: $18m
David Baldacci: $15m
Rick Riordan: $14m
JK Rowling: $13m
George RR Martin: $12m

Whether it is thriller, romance or mystery, the names on this list are mostly genre authors. There’s a reason why genre authors are usually the authors that can making a living off their earnings. It makes sense to write a book where there’s already an established market for. In addition, having a book with an existing market may help new authors land a literary agent or publishing house. If authors can make a strong case that their book will sale than the industry will probably buy it.

What about the self-published authors? One idea is to create your own market. If you have an active following on social media, you can make an argument that there is a market for your book. Self-publishing is an interesting way of making a living as an author, but it may be worthwhile if the author can sale numerous copies of his/her work.

Though many of these names are blockbuster authors, it’s important to notice what they have in common. Many of these writers have a strong genre they work in, even if some authors (Stephan king) have pen names for separate writing focuses (literary- in Stephan King’s case).  Also, many of these authors release in high volume, such as Koontz and Roberts.

Once an author identifies their market, it’s time to start writing. A good take away for authors and self-published authors are to always be doing 3 things: have one work in the market, one work in progress, and the next work in the planning stage. The more a writer writes the more marketing and opportunities that are afforded to them.


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