I have been considering writing as a fiction novelist. However, the impression of difficulty in making a reasonable living as a fiction author is quite pervasive. So much so, that I am constantly held back by a mental check that says, "with so little free time, you should spend it doing things that have a potential to generate enough income to say goodbye to the day job."
However, I love creating worlds, crafting stories, making things the way I want them. So I keep getting drawn back into contemplating it.
I have done research online about author income, but much of it lumps together fiction with non-fiction, merchandising income, movie rights, and more. Those things are nice, but merchandising and movie rights are only available usually after decades of effort and many entries on the bestseller lists.
So what I'm asking, after all, that background is simple:
- What would the median expected book sales (royalties and advances) income be per year for a mid-level author, after two years, who published 1-2 novels per year? Would it be a firmly upper middle class (e.g. $100k plus), or much less?
- Is there a difference in book sales income potential for self-publishing vs. legacy publishing? In other words, all else being equal, are one's odds greater of making a reasonable living as a legacy published fiction author, or a self-published author? Yes, I know that the chances of getting picked up by a legacy publisher are long, but for this question, I am assuming that one is found and published though the legacy publisher with the same level of marketing and advances as a mid-tier writer.