Continuing from my previous post, I went looking at book royalties for authors and stumbled on some great articles, like this one. The linked article covers the data gleaned from the US Authors Guild 2017 survey of writers. It is all self-reported data. The 2019 survey appeared to have better data, according to a few articles I've read as it purported to cast a wider net, but the trends in 2017 are similar to 2019 and the article I linked is a good overview. The Author's Guild takeaways are here. The quick summary follows:
Which leaves me with the conclusion I reached in my previous post. Most writers are writers AND something else. They do a side hustle or depend on a partner's income to keep them afloat while they produce. There does not appear to be a healthy market for "mid" level authors. You get a few folks that become household names and do well for themselves and the rest toil in obscurity drowned out by the volume of content being produced.
Surprisingly, this does not leave me disheartened. It takes the pressure off to be honest. I would wager that most truly successful authors are exceptional writers and have experienced some form of luck during their career that got them noticed and started the ball rolling. How many exceptional writers are out there still languishing because they did not get that same lucky break? Who knows? Critically, the only thing you can control for is the quality of your writing. Then you hope to get lucky and put yourself in the best position possible to capitalize when the opportunities come. This means you need to write and write and write. That I can do.
It just means I'll be a writer AND, which doesn't bother me in the slightest.