Parallels between Musicians and Authors

Compared to those who belt out tunes, the average writer's life is easy.
Feb | 1 | 2016


If you’ve been paying attention for the past fifteen years or so, you know that proper album sales are rapidly declining. Sure, streaming is on the rise, but artists typically find royalties from Spotify and their ilk to be wildly unfair.

The parallels between musicians and authors are certainly striking but not complete. In both, it’s extremely difficult to thrive as a full-time musician, but this is more the case with writing. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Hours and logistics. Musicians often need to tour to survive and the hours often make regular employment difficult. For our part, writers typically aren’t finishing gigs at 2 a.m. Publishers and most clients don’t care where a writer writes. The same can’t be said for live musical performances.
  • Writing is fundamentally solitary. Editing and occasional collaboration aside, side writing jobs in the form of ghost writing, blogging, and the like don’t require a backup band.
  • Margins are typically better. Spotify doesn’t pay its artists much per-stream. Forget traditional publishers for a moment. Authors who take control of their own destiny can expect to earn $7 on a $10 e-book and upwards of 35 percent of the book’s physical price. This is particularly true if the writer enjoys public speaking and can book gigs.

Brass Tacks

Artists, actors, writers, and musicians all face significant hurdles to major success. Success is anything but evenly distributed. If it seems difficult to make it as a full-time writer, you’re right. Compared to those who belt out tunes, though, we writers have it easy.

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