for the Writers

The myth of 2 options: starving artist or household name

Ya know that myth of only two options, where in books & films any author is either a starving artist or a bestseller household name, no in between? Of course that comes from a scarcity mindset, but more specifically I’ve been thinking…

I think this comes from humans just not being able to grasp super large numbers easily, like for instance, how big a population of 8 billion people really is. Let’s break it down.

If you get $5 for each book you sell & want $100,000/year for the next 80 years, you only have to sell 1.6 million books in your life. You might be like, that’s A LOT! Or thinking “those numbers are way off from what I need or what I make per book.” You’re right.

I can’t get the numbers exact for your or anyone’s situation, but the point is: That number is roughly the population of Phoenix Arizona. One large city. Out of….lots of large & small cities, not to mention countries. It’s much less than 1% of just the US population.

This doesn’t account for box sets, audiobooks, & other offerings. It also doesn’t factor in business costs. But it shows there’s a third option. It may be the odds of winning the lottery to become a bestseller, but it’s still way achievable to live comfortably off your work.

You don’t have to be a household name to make a living as an artist. Hey, technically you could just become known in your region and make a living. Or spread it out a bit to find your ideal customer across the nation or globe of course.

You might not be making a living yet. But don’t buy the lie that you have to become a mega-bestseller or have the next franchise to make this work. Hold on to your dream. Each sale gets you closer. This has encouraged me lately, & I hope it encourages you too.

*Note: These numbers came from googling and calculating by my non-math-whiz self. My apologies if you find an inaccuracy somewhere.