What are words worth now? – Top 5% of writers get 42% of authors’ earnings while most are below minimum wage

The UK Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) has released further figures from its survey of authors’ earning which show that only a handful of top earning authors make a living out of writing while the majority earn less than the minimum wage from their writing.

In summer 2014, ALCS released the initial findings which revealed that the typical income of a professional author had fallen by 29% since 2005, along with the fact that increasingly few professional authors are able to earn a living solely from their writing, with just 11.5% doing so (down from 40% in 2005).

The new figures show that the top 5% of writers earned 42.3% of all the money earned by professional authors but, since 2005, the typical author earns only 87% of the present minimum wage. In the realm of self-publishing, the top 10% of earners made a profit of £7,000 or more, while the bottom 20% of authors who have self-published made losses of at least £400.
See ALCS Announcement