Is Anyone Able to Make a Living in Publishing?… Anyone?

I was browsing Kickstarter today. The first page on the site highlighted a favorite staff pick, it looked clever, so I clicked on it. Coffee House Press wants to put out a book on the appeal of cat videos.  They have gone to Kickstarter because “we want to pay these people well for their work. We think what they’re doing is cool and important and we respect the time and thought that goes into writing something as compelling as a great cat video. The funds we raise here will make sure that the writers are compensated properly.”

I started to wonder– if authors like me are on Kickstarter trying to get funds to do the research that publishers once funded, and if writers are pitching to publishers in the vain hopes of being paid, and if the publishers meanwhile are on Kickstarter because otherwise they can’t pay writers…. seriously, does anyone make any money with books?


  1. Some 30 years ago I took a course in creative writing at the local university. The professor brought in several published authors to talk to the class. They empathized that only the top two percent of writers can actually earn a living at it.

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