How much money does a novelist earn?
Most novelists: nothing. That is, nothing from writing novels;
they probably have day jobs if they are not supported by someone or
Few novels find a publisher. Few published novels sell well.
Some stats from Harper's Index (June 2007):
Minimum number of different books sold in the U.S. last year, as
tracked by Nielsen BookScan: 1,446,000
Number of those that sold fewer than 99 copies: 1,123,000
Number that sold more than 100,000: 483
For a few novelists, a very few, those that hit the best-seller
lists: there's no upper limits. To skip right to the very top, J.K.
Rowling is listed as the second-richest woman in entertainment
(after Oprah) in a 2007 Forbes list, with estimated earnings
of $1 billion. And that's with the seventh Harry Potter book only
just out and two more movies to go.
There are quite a few novelists who do very nicely on an ongoing
basis, but their range of earnings varies widely. Getting a book's
sales to break 5000 is really hard. == ==