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Working Life

Liz Worth thinks about the practicalities of the double life of a writer:

To be able to quit my day job, and be sustained by book sales alone, I’d have to sell 7,000 books a year, without working in any variables in making lifestyle changes. Pretty tough to sell 7,000 books in Canada, where a bestseller is considered to be a title that hits 5,000 sales. That would mean that for every author to live on book sales alone, each title would have to have a book that surpassed bestseller status.

When you think about it, it doesn’t really add up that publishing a book would give you a get-out-of-work-forever card, does it?

Yep, making money over material costs of poetry over the last year is something. Getting back the cost of paper for chapbooks to break even is a woo. Sorta sad. With promise of best year on record, when writing full time for 5 years, I’m still set to make 1/30th of my underemployed part time workforce job. Some artists blink and say, it’s not about money. I’m used to be being out of pocket. But does that not make a field an expensive hobby economically.

What’s sustainable isn’t necessarily that which sustains oneself with. But. But what? But I don’t know.

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2 Responses

  1. indeed

    70 books would be a miracle for most stateside..

    I think you need to be a poet who is
    “an entertaining public speaker”…
    that can make some money.

  2. Pris put this up on her fb site and I found it interesting and have passed it along to others.

    Once someone told me I should charge for the website and my open mic so artist could get paid, ha! sorry to say, but people hold their wallets so tight these days, even the tip jar we put out to ease website costs was never more than an instrument with change for the musicians who would play.



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