Earlier this week The
Publishers Authors Guild released a report that “explores the factors leading to the decline in the writing profession. Alas, this report is based on the flawed survey that I debunked last January, making it the epitome of the “garbage in, garbage out” error.
As I reported last year:
The Authors Guild report in particular is flawed because it is based on a self-selected survey group where self-published authors are under-represented and retirement age traditionally authors are over-represented.
And as Len Epps pointed out in the comment of that post, 18% of the survey respondents didn’t make any income from their writing in the previous year. This would arguably disqualify the from being “full-time authors” (I would call them retired, actually).
You can find the report as a PDF on The Authors Guild’s website.
It is based on a number of false assumptions, so it has little merit.
If nothing else, its very mindset is flawed. Like we’ve seen in other The Authors Guild statements on this topic, this report focused on the income of published authors and conveniently overlooks the fact that before the internet, 99% of authors made nothing from the sale of their books because they could not get published in the first place.
Of the remaining 1%, maybe one in a hundred could make a living at it.
What The Authors Guild wants you to do is focus on the 0.01% so they can wring their hands over the poor, beleaguered authors. I am not sure what The Authors Guild gains by pushing this narrative, but it is as false as TAG’s claim that piracy is a major problem (when in fact their data shows the opposite is true).
What I do know was that author income as an aggregate is up. The 99.99% are making more than ever before by bypassing publishers entirely and going directly to market. Thanks to Amazon setting the standard, most ebook retailers pay better royalties than publishers ever did (another detail that The Authors Guild hoped you would overlook).
All authors have to do is strive to get those sales. The way to win in the current market is for authors to save themselves.
The Authors Guild, on the other hand, is focused on authors getting rescued. (I think that says a lot about their mindset, actually.)