What if You Couldn’t Make Money in Writing?

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of discussion about the state of publishing; about how publishing is continuing to change; and more pointedly, how it’s becoming harder and harder to make money from writing.

We’ve already seen people’s reading habits change in terms of what form and format they’ll read. We’ve seen changes in the ways and places people obtain their reading material.  With free and cheap self-published books, some readers are no longer willing to pay $10 for a book. The economics of publishing are definitely getting more challenging.

money rain, asian beauty model

Publishers and agents are working on ways to continually add value to the reader’s experience, so that consumers will keep seeing reading material as valuable enough to pay for it. But if there really is a trend of readers expecting content for cheap or free, that means it will get increasingly difficult for writers to make significant money (as in, anything approaching a living wage) directly from the written word.

Should we think this through? Let’s pose a hypothetical: If the financial potential for most writers was negligible at best—if there didn’t exist a “publishing industry” that represented the Great Hope for you—what would you do? Would you still write? Would you self-publish? Just enjoy writing as a hobby? Would you hang it up altogether?

I understand you’re a writer because you want to be read… but how much of that is about getting paid?

If there were no money in writing, what would you do?

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