Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Welcome to reality, folks

While this Guardian article on writers struggling in a constricting publishing industry is well-intentioned, they probably could have picked better examples than Rupert Thomson and Joanna Kavenna. 

Thomson’s hardship is that he has to stop renting an office on the South Bank and must now build a garret in his London home to work. Kavenna once received a ‘low six-figure advance’ on two books, but now laments that between 2007 and 2010 ‘everything changed’.

Now, I don’t want to say these writers are not in a pickle in the changing publishing environment. An advance of 100k is not as much as it sounds given that this is paid out in chunks and is likely to represent the author’s only income for a few years. However, these two are not representative of the vast majority of writers. Both of them have been able to write fiction full-time, a luxury most authors do not have and have not had for a very long time.