Jul 10, 2014
By Michael Kramer
A bestselling author has suggested that the “Hollywood money” earned by J.K. Rowling has skewed the perception – of how much professional writers actually earn.
British author Joanne Harris has written a dozen novels since 1989, including the hit “Chocolat.”
Harris was speaking at a Parliamentary examination into how the country’s writers could be paid enough to ensure that British literature remains strong.
A recent survey revealed that the average professional author in the U.K. earns just over $20,000 – and that’s a drop of about 29 per cent since 2005.
And less than 12 per cent of the writers surveyed said they earned their sole income from their books.
Harris says, “It’s not winning the lottery. It’s a real job – which real people do – and they have the same real problems as other real people do.”
She says part of the problem is the growing issue of people downloading books illegally – and thinking they’re “sticking it to the man,” when the vast majority of authors are people who simply cannot afford to miss out on book sales.
Harris issued this reminder : J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book while subsisting on welfare – and supporting her young daughter.