Diversifying only to find I've returned to where I started - Lynne Garner
When I started to write professionally just over 15 years ago I read that apparently the average author earned £10,000 per year. Recently I read (sorry can't remember where so unable to include a link) that this figure has now dropped to £5,000 per year. A scary figure and one that unfortunately in my experience appears to be true.
I started writing for magazines when they paid a fair amount for the work involved and didn't expect world rights. Some magazines are now paying less per page than I was earning 15 years ago and are demanding full world rights. This means I'm no longer able to boost my income by selling the same feature abroad. Publishers are lowering their advances and I've noticed some are even saying they no longer offer advances.
So I have had to diversify. I've returned to teaching, something I was able to stop for around two years whilst my writing actually earned me a living. The way I teach has also changed. I not only teach face-to-face in a traditional classroom setting but also teach via the web (links below if you're interested). Some of my books have been turned into iTunes apps and eBooks available via Kindle and Kobo (one of my better ideas because it introduced me to the fab bunch of authors who are Authors Electric).
Just one of my picture books
available as an eBook and an App
But recently I went in a different direction. I've had a website built (TheCraft Ark) so I could sell craft materials and tools.
You may wonder why craft items. Well part of the marketing strategy was to include a craft how-to blog, something I knew I could do as I used to write lots of hand-outs for my craft classes. These hand-outs I adapted and sold to craft magazines. Now I'm adapting my craft class/workshop notes for The Craft Arks blog. A little ironic really as I decided to diversify and have found I've returned to where I started.
Having told you my story of diversifying I was wondering what you do to boost your writing income (if you have to that is) as I'd love to know.
I also write for:
The Picture Book Den - all things connected with picture books
Awfully Big Blogging Adventure - subjects connected with writing
The Hedgehog Shed - concerned with hedgehog rescue
Fuelled By Hot Chocolate - my own ramblings
The Craft Ark - craft how-to blog
My online classes with WOW starting November:
5 Picture Books In 5 Weeks (advanced)
But I am concerned about the flood of creative writing courses, some of which suggest that writers can make a good living if only they complete this course - it's creating false hopes, when the reality is that making money is so hard now.
As for me, I have a full-time salaried job writing marketing materials, and pursue fiction writing in my spare time. Which still doesn't mean it's a hobby.
I'm not a conference/festival/whatever sort, but it's only a bit more than an hour from my home, so I might be persuaded...