Earlier this year, the non-profit Authors Guild, an American advocacy group for writers, conducted a survey of its members that presents a snapshot of the work and lives of American authors in 2015. The survey found, among other things, that the amount of money authors make per year is down — way down. Authors Guild Executive Director said, about the marked plunge in author income, “We expected some decline in earnings because we kept hearing from authors that they were struggling to earn a living. But it was impossible to imagine how much of a drop to expect.”
According the the U.S. government’s standards, anyone earning under $11,700 per year qualifies as living below the poverty line. It should be noted that these standards have been heavily criticized for setting the poverty line too low.
Other findings of the Authors Guild study included an increase in hybrid authorship and in the time that authors spend on marketing their books, as well as a decrease in the percentage of royalties authors receive and an increase in self-publishing.
The Authors Guild has backed a group of authors which has been calling on the US justice department to Amazon’s practices vis-a-vis authors and royalties, calling Amazon a book-selling monopoly.