Literary authors are among the lowest paid Australian writers

6 December 2022

The recently released results of a survey of Australian authors and writers make for sobering reading. If you’re considering a writing career, you ought to sit down before reading on. With rare exceptions, most Australian authors need at least one other job to make their writing ambitions feasible.

Income per annum varies according the nature of their writing, anywhere from about A$27,000 for educational writers, down to A$14,500 for literary authors. Bear in mind the minimum annual salary in Australia is a little over $42,000, based on a rate of A$21.38 per hour.

Education authors earned the highest average income from their practice as an author ($27,300), followed by children’s ($26,800) and genre fiction ($23,300) authors. Even though these figures are above the overall average for authors, they are not enough to live on, to support a family, or to pay rent or a mortgage. At the other end of the spectrum are poets, who earned an average of $5,700 from their creative practice. Literary authors earned $14,500, which is a decrease in real terms since 2015.

In case you’re wondering, literary authors are likely the sort of author anyone who wants to write wants to be. They also tend to be winners of literary awards including the Stella Prize, Miles Franklin, SPN Book of the Year, and Patrick White Award. And yet they only earn about a third of the Australian minimum wage for their craft.


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