News and Interviews

Writers & Money - Part Three

Writers & Money

This is next installment in a series of surveys that I posted in order to get an idea of how different writers manage to make ends meet. You can read the first response here: and fill out the survey here:

Everyone’s welcome: freelance, novelists, screenwriters, you name it. (Note: the answers are taken directly from the survey, but are combined to make it more understandable.)


Who are you?

A male, award winning poet who is working towards publishing a novel, between 26 and 35.


How many books have you published?

Two books of poetry.


How many publishers, in Canada, have you published with?



What type of publisher did you publish with?

Caitlin and Invisible publishing, small presses.


How much money did you make from writing last year?

Under $1,000.


Are you a full-time writer? That is, does writing or writing related activity make up the entirety of your income?



Do you have another job as well as writing?

I’m also a musician and just left a career in arts management this year.


Where do you live?

A small city or town.


On your own or with someone else?

With someone else.


Do you receive financial support from a partner, spouse, family member, or anyone else?

Yes. I pay about 30% of the household income.


Have you ever been supported for a period of longer than 1 month by someone else since becoming a writer?

Right now.


Last year, what percentage of your income (roughly) came specifically from writing - including advances, freelance work, royalties. Do not include grants, prizes, fellowships.

Last year, about 10%.


Is this significantly different than other years? 



Last year, what percentage of your income (roughly) came from grants, prizes, fellowships etc.



Is this significantly different than other years?



Last year, what percentage (roughly) of your income came from writing related work - ie teaching creative writing, writer-in-residence positions, speaking engagements/readings, manuscript evaluations etc.



Is this significantly different than in other years?



Last year, what percentage (roughly) of your income came from work not related to writing in any way?



Is this significantly different than other years?

From now, having changed careers.


Do you think having a 'day job' hinders your writing?

Yes. My high stress job took up too much time and too much mental space.


Is there anything you’d like to do that you feel your writing hinders? Home ownership, a family, travel, etc.?

No. My wife and I have two small children and are about to travel to Europe.


What writing work do you do for free that you feel you should be paid for? reading series etc.

None, I work for money.


How much does it matter to you that you’re paid for writing? 

A lot.


If you weren’t paid, would you write? Why or why not.

I would and I have, but it is worth money, so I should (and do) get paid for it.


Have you ever felt taken advantage of, or asked to do something for free that you felt you should have been paid for?


Keep an eye out for this continuing series, where more writers discuss how they earn their living...


Tanis Rideout writes both poetry and fiction. In 2010 Rideout won second prize in the CBC Literary Awards for her poems about Marilyn Bell. Her first novel, Above All Things, was released in Canada in 2012, and in the US and UK in 2013.

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