To give you an idea how hard it is to earn a living by writing books, consider the experience of Larry McMurtry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove, but he earned most of his money doing screenplays. In his second memoir, Literary Life, he says,
Lonesome Dove was my tenth novel, eleventh book. I had been publishing books from the early Sixties to the mid-Eighties before producing a book that came close to selling five thousand copies, a feat nearly achieved by All My Friends, which came out just in time to profit from the flare of interest produced by the popularity of Picture Show.
Competition for readers is stiff, with over 291,000 books published annually in the U.S. And with the rise of On Demand publishing, the number will increase exponentially.
Only a handful of fiction writers make ends meet by storytelling. The rest of us do everything from editing to copywriting to web-work to earn a few bucks to support our habit.
Some even resort to shameless blogging.