#amblogging: You Want To Be A What?

I was raised in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Back then Surrey was both rural and a rapidly growing urban area for young families. In those days, one salary could support a family in a modest, detached house.

Fifty years later, Vancouver is now one of the most expensive cities in the country. The average Canadian is nearly $22,000 in debt, which doesn’t include a mortgage. The living wage in Vancouver is now set at $20.64 an hour. It’s barely enough for one person to survive on, let alone a family. dollar-signs-money-clip-art-thumb2184272[1]

You can therefore imagine how difficult it is for a writer to survive financially. Truth is, (and this shouldn’t surprise you) that the overwhelming majority of Canadian fiction authors earn far below a poverty wage.

So I gasped when my husband ran into an associate who told him that his 22-year-old child is at university studying to become a writer. His impression was that he wanted to write books for a living, although my husband wasn’t entirely sure about it.

While I’m happy that the younger generation is interested in writing, to think that one can earn a living from fiction at that age is wildly improbable. If I had a chance to talk with this young person, I’d say, “Go ahead and pursue your dream, but get a steady job while doing so..at least until you’ve attended useful writing conferences, networked with authors in the biz, and have some publication credits under your belt.”

I hope he’s doing these things. But I worry. You see, when I’m selling my books at craft fairs, a disturbingly large number of customers assume that I’m making piles of money. Unpublished writers seem shocked that my former publisher only granted me ten free copies of each newly released title, as per our contract. If I wanted more, I had to pay for them, albeit at a discount.

I’ve also encountered writers on forums who appear to be counting on writing income to support meager pensions. Yikes! To all fiction writers out there, have a Plan  B and a Plan C!. Life is stressful enough without putting that kind of financial pressure on yourself.

Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and security work inspired me to write the Casey Holland transit security novels set in Metro Vancouver. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at dpurdykong@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “#amblogging: You Want To Be A What?”

  1. I’ve have never been able to support myself as just a nonfiction author. For 80% of my writing career I worked as a physio. When I retired early from that profession, I made sure I had several revenue streams as well as writing. I was a part-time ski instructor in the 70s when I began to write, I led workshops and writers’ groups, I wrote articles for a fee while working on my books, I delivered keynotes to teachers’ conferences on teaching writing, I added travel writing and photography for income in 2010, and now I even run an Airbnb operation. Running like a thread through all that, I volunteered too.
    So I totally agree with your post, Debra.
    There were times when I felt I had two full time jobs and a family to run on top of that. Crazy!! But writers are driven….


    1. Thank you for your insightful comments, Julie. Yes, numerous income streams is a must for writing income survival. And it’s interesting that nonfiction writers also feel the struggle. You’ve worked really hard, and have accomplished a lot. Kudos to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: