Hey cHEwY gum gums!

Going back to my frequently asked questions series, this would be number 3 on my FAQ list. (You can check out number 1 or number 2)

Not a week goes by, where I’m visiting a school and a cHEwY gum gum doesn’t ask me how much money do I make? I say that it’s between one and a million dollars (and it’s closer to the one than the million haha).

I wonder why sometimes it’s a commonly asked question. Maybe because when you think of authors, you’re thinking everyone is JK Rowling in money. I wonder if a doctor or firefighter came to their school, if the money question would be asked as well.

It’s not just kids though, I’ve had people come up to me and ask if I am actually making a living from being a ‘full-time’ writer.

I have this joke where I say you become an author, you can earn tens and tens of dollars. Which is not far from the truth. One takeaway from the KIDYA festival 2 weeks ago was that the average author in Australia earns roughly $11,000. So don’t give up your day job. I gave up full time teaching but did part time and relief teaching when I was writing at home.

So let’s break it down. As an children’s author, my income is split from 3 parts; the royalties/advances of my books, the precious PLR/ELR (Public/Electronic lending rights) of each book which essentially covers my books that are in libraries across Australia, and the school/festival visits. Most of my income comes from that third strand, and it’s very fortunate that I can still go into schools and engage kids with my ‘teacher’ hat on. Besides, I love the travelling and burgergrams that come with school tours too.

But apart from the author visit route, how else can make a living with books then? Some authors have worked hard to have a successful series, making it overseas or having a TV series/movie deal. Those boosts to your career can definitely help make writing your full-time job.

Now I’m not saying that there’s some glory in being a poor, struggling writer. I’d love those boosts some day too haha. But in the long term, I just want to keep on writing and making new cHEwY creations. The authors I admire are the ones that have been in the game for a long time, and have made a career out of it. So yeah, the only way to make a living out of writing, is to write 🙂

The truth is that there are easier ways to strike it rich than to write books haha. Most of us are doing it because we really love creating stories. Yes, it’s the life of an artist but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

So cHEwY gum gums, I’m not rich enough to buy a fancy mansion or new sports car, but I can walk into EB Games and buy a collector’s edition game on day 1, and really, that’s all that matters to me haha. Find me on Instagram @oliverwinfree to see those collector’s editions hehe.

Oliver ‘Winfree’