Since most people always see me asking for a like, a share, and contribution if they can afford it, I figured that as we're starting a new year I'd give folks a glimpse behind the curtain as how the sausage is made. At least when it comes to my take-home pay doing what I do.
|So let's dig into the numbers, shall we?|
And before we get into the numbers, don't forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to make sure you don't miss any of my fresh content and upcoming releases!
My Earnings as an Author
As all the regular readers know, I have my fingers in a lot of different pies at any point in time. However, what a lot of folks don't seem to realize is that at the best of times my sales from books like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife or my latest short story collection The Rejects tend to be little more than pizza money. This is even more true for 2020, where I didn't get a chance to go to conventions and hand sell books, or hobnob with folks at my usual events. As such, I sold maybe a dozen copies of those books to eager readers in lockdown, which was maybe enough to buy a tank of gas. Or around $50 or so, depending on what the price of gas is these days.
While the preliminary numbers I have say my hard-boiled cat mystery Marked Territory likely did notably better, that one was published by Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press. So I won't have an idea of what my exact numbers on sales (or royalties earned) for that book were for 2020 until next month when I get my check in the mail. And I won't get a check for any books sold between the start of the year and June until the end of August, so keep that 6-month cycle in mind for any earnings on that front.
|So, if you haven't gotten a copy yet, get one today!|
What a lot of folks might not know is that the bulk of my earnings as an author when it comes to sales actually come from the roleplaying game supplements and associated projects. However, I use the word "bulk" in the loosest possible context, here. Because for a simple break down my earnings for gaming products are:
- Royalties from sales: Just over $1k
- Affiliate earnings from sales: $564
So for roughly a year of work producing and selling RPG supplements, both my own and other folks, I brought in about $1,564. That's not nothing, but if you break it down over the year that's an average of about $100 and change a month. About enough to cover my Internet bill and utilities.
What about my Vocal archive, though? After all, it's been growing at a pretty rapid clip. While that's true, the popularity for my work on that site comes in waves. Still, I managed to earn about $1,153 in traffic throughout 2020. Which, for those who've been keeping track of the news, is less money than a lot of us received in our stimulus check during the early part of the year... and making it stretch is often just as difficult.
|So how are you making the ends meet?|
A majority of my earnings comes through the Patreon supporters of this blog, and my gaming blog Improved Initiative. The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page brought in just over $1,800 in 2020, making it far and away the largest source of income I have. It also, wonder of wonders, managed to grow a little bit during the pandemic as folks wanted to make sure I kept the content coming as more of my readers turned to online gaming as a way to stay in touch with other people, and pass the time in a safe way.
So between books, blogs, articles, RPGs, and all the content I created last year, what does that come down to? Well, it's roughly $5,000 in earnings. Total. For the whole year.
Now, to be clear, that isn't the full extent of everything I was doing in 2020. I took on a lot of projects that paid by-the-word, or a single fee. I did a lot of ghost blogging, too. However, a lot of the fill-in work and extra projects started to dry up by the summer, and more than one client mysteriously vanished by the Fall. So I did the work, but received no payment as their businesses went into hibernation to wait out the pandemic.
And at least a few of those folks won't be coming back, which means I can't depend on them being around to get me through 2021.
Long Story Short, I Need Your Help
While it's possible that as we all get our vaccines and stumble back to the lives we used to lead, one thing I don't have control over is what clients will and won't do. So while it's possible that some of my ghostwriting clients will come back, or that some RPG companies will need a fill-in writer, there's no way to guarantee that I'll be able to find someone with a slot to fill when the rent is due, or I need to buy groceries.
And honestly, I'd rather not rely on providence if I can make something happen without it.
|Seriously, a hand up makes a BIG deal.|
Firstly, if you have a little spare dosh to throw around that you want to turn into direct action you could:
- Buy a book! My Amazon author page is full of titles for you to choose from.
- Buy an RPG supplement! My complete list has over 90 products with my name on them.
- Become a Patreon patron! It puts money directly in my pocket every month, and lets me keep writing.
And if you don't have any spare room in your budget, don't worry! If that's the case you can:
- Read my Vocal articles! Sharing articles you like on your social media feeds and groups helps, too.
- Follow my social media pages (links below), and join my newsletter (above and bottom of the page)!
- Leave ratings and reviews of my stuff! Amazon, DTRPG, Barnes and Noble, it all helps!
- Share articles, books, and anything else of mine that you like! The bigger the signal, the larger the pool of folks who will be reading that can add their voice to the whole.
I've got a lot of stuff that's getting wrapped up right now, and 2021 should (with a little luck) be the year that my body of work grows noticeably larger! I just need a little push from everyone out there reading this so I can get the engine to turn over... hopefully at that point I'll be able to really put the pedal to the metal without stressing over rent, bills, and the other sundry parts of living in the 21st century.
Like, Follow, and Stay Tuned!
That's all for this week's Business of Writing! If you'd like to see more of my work, take a look at my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my noir thriller Marked Territory, my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife as well as my recent collection The Rejects!