how much money does a mid-list mystery writer make from selling books?

Wow. This author has fifteen mystery novels published and makes $18,000 a year from them. (Hat tip: Collin Kelley.)

Seems like a good moment to link to poetry – an inherently non-profit activity?, a post in which I argued that no-one has a hope in hell of making any kind of a living from selling books of poetry and should seek to gain readers instead through multi-format publication which includes free provision of some of those formats.

(Related post: Nanopress publishing – avoiding the publisher’s cycle of need

Other Very Like A Whale posts on poetry publishing)

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

11 thoughts on “how much money does a mid-list mystery writer make from selling books?”

  1. Yep. Only way to make serious money as a freelance writer is with magazine articles — and lord knows how much longer that market will continue to be viable. Books don’t pay unless you get struck by lightning/Oprah. (My mom is a midlist nonfiction author.)

  2. am the author of MEMORABLE POEMS;A COLLECTION OF INSPIRING POEMS FOR YOU and am determined that one can make a living from writing .FOREVER WILL END ON THURSDAY ,very interesting in deed!

  3. so glad to have found your blog. will now be reading your every post. I have a blog I do with a fellow poet. we have no thoughts of making any money. in the new world most art will be free: music, painting, poetry, all of it.

  4. Perhaps the problem here is referring to this person as a “mid-list” mystery writer. If the books were genuinely a quality read, there would develop a substantial following and the income that is attached to quantity. I would say that I find 1 out of every 30-40 books I read pulls me in and holds me to the end. Plus, I find that I mark pages, as I go along, where I find extraordinary strings/paragraphs to revisit.

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