So according to Ann Bauer, female authors can only afford to be authors if their husbands “sponsor” them. Well, she might have privilege and a wealthy husband on her side, but that isn’t what makes her an author. Pity she seems to have missed this rather vital point. I’m not going to rant about Ann, though, because Libbie Hawker has done it better.
Kameron Hurley has stated exactly why she isn’t giving up her day job. This is the reality for a hell of a lot of authors. I don’t have a day job. I am, and have been for several years, unemployed and looking for work. As I’m British, that means I get government benefits – an allowance every two weeks for “signing on” plus child benefits. I have my housing and council tax paid for. We live in a house provided by the local council. This is my privilege.
I’m not going to state how much the government pays in. The figures are on the internet for those that want to know. But on that money, I pay for gas, electric, water, TV licence, telephone and broadband, and vehicle insurances. I raise my five children and support my husband. My time is divided between job hunting – because “scrounging” isn’t what I really want to do – and writing.
I’ve a decent-sized backlist. But I’m small press published. I don’t get advances. Royalties are small and quarterly. This is how the last three and a half years have shaken down in terms of payments:
- Aug ’12; £4.93
- Feb ’13; £214.48
- Aug ’13; £20.53
- Nov ’13; £39.43
- Feb ’14; £21.46
- Aug ’14; £22.54
- Jan ’15; £23.53
Crass? Perhaps. I’m a small name, with no agent backing (as yet) and this is my reality. But I knew this going in and I have no regrets. I know establishing myself will take time, more writing, and more novels. I know I need to up my output. I’m in the process of setting up an office (well, desk) in the kitchen so I’ve somewhere relatively quiet to work towards that.
TL; dr – no, my husband doesn’t “sponsor” me. I guess the Great British Public does, as it did JK Rowling. I figure that’s pretty good company to be in.