Who’d Be An Author?

A recent YouGov poll asked 15,00 people about their most desirable job, and top of the tree was author (60%), followed by academic (51%), interior designer (41%), journalist (39%), movie star (31%) and chef (29%).
Chas Newkey-Burden, an author for 9 years and the writer of dozens of non-fiction books has responded with an article in the Telegraph suggesting several caveats:
1. The money ain’t what you think it is – most authors earn less than £11,000 pa, according to the Authors’ Licensing & Collection Society.
2. The isolation and interruptions – writing by its very nature requires silence but what house is quiet with kids and animals?
3. You’re impossible to please – sales can vary alarmingly and are never what you expect.
4. People bother you with ideas – many people have an idea for a book but don’t where or how to start.
5. Everyone’s a writer nowadays – with blogs and self-publishing, it’s no longer the preserve of the academic or the richly gifted.
6. There’s no ‘team’ in ‘I’ – teams players don’t apply.
7. Reviews – most reviews are fair and interesting but some are cranky, refer to a different book altogether or are just downright bitter.
8. People say annoying things – ‘it’s a hobby, surely?’
9. You have to sort to your tax – no PAYE here.
10. The dreaded ‘null’ points – it’s not a regular income.
11. The truth about book launches – very few authors attend one.
12. Your book will never be the right one – if you write fiction, people ask when will you write a ‘proper book’ like academic or history?
13. Your inside…yet outside – much of the process is hidden from published authors and in the hands of editors, graphic artists etc
14. You may go nuts – or die – the fate of the unfortunate few. Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ was a writer.

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