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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Salaries of Authors and Fictional Characters


There are some exceptions (e.g.  J. K. Rowling, Stephen King), but generally fiction writers are not well paid.  My research has shown that the average fiction writer in Canada earns about $500 a year in royalties.  Since most writers earn less than $2.00 per book, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of Canadian writers have day jobs. 


Of course, even if writing only makes up a tiny fraction of income, it can still be a job and should be treated as such.  This is the thesis of an article I read recently:  “No matter how many ‘death of the novel’ think pieces are published each year, people still pay — in dollars or eyeballs — to read writing every day.  If your writing is getting read, you should expect to be paid, even if it isn’t enough to live off, entirely; hell, even if it isn’t enough to pay your bar tab as you weep over your tiny royalty statement. Writing is a job, but will only remain one if we treat it as such” (https://electricliterature.com/yes-writing-is-a-job-even-if-it-doesnt-pay-well-b13bf4aa2e4e#.wcvyvpjvg).

I was interested then in an infographic looking at the salaries of fictional characters from famous British authors, adjusting the salaries of the character jobs to 2017 British pounds:  https://electricliterature.com/infographic-the-salaries-of-famous-fictional-characters-6d8c67324ff9#.mjhimeh2w.  (Currently, one Canadian dollar equals 0.61 British pound.) 

It seems that fictional characters might make more than their creators!