The wisest of aspiring authors visit the Writer Beware Blog, where A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss respond to readers’ questions, discuss their professional experiences, and—best of all—expose scammers who prey on the uninformed. (Their parent site, the “Writer Beware” page of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, is a useful resource even if you don’t write in either of those genres.)
In her most recent post, Strauss, the author of seven fantasy novels, sheds light on writers’ finances by pointing out the small advances typically earned by first-timers; she also provides links to some pretty dreary median-income figures. But her real focus is an e-mail from a reader who asked for advice and then insulted her when she didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. His attitude is a fine example of how not to behave in the writing business—or, for that matter, in any sphere where courtesy is more productive than bluster.
For what it’s worth, I’ve discovered the secret to being satisfied with your own writing income: Take a job as an adjunct. Compared to those paychecks, your earnings from writing will glitter like the golden treasure of the Nibelung.