One of the questions I get all the time is about the economics of the book: How much did it sell, what was your advance, what did it cost to produce. I was thinking about this as I prepare for April 15th, so I did a quick run down of costs.

Here is the skinny: The initial advance for Bailout Nation from McGraw Hill was $50k. You get half upon signing, and the other half when there is an “accepted manuscript” by the publisher.

Recall that there was a small problem with McGraw Hill over my treatment of their S&P division and the rest of the criminally corrupt rating agencies (gee, why did they object to that?). My publishing contract with them gave me final edit, so when they balked at what I had written, I exercised my right to buy the back my manuscript. Once I signed with another publisher (Wiley), I was obligated to return the $25k (which I of course did).

The Wiley contract was a $100k advance, plus back end royalties. The old joke is your agent should insure you never see royalties (i.e., get it all up front). I think I need to sell another 40 -50,000 copies before any royalties come in.

Now, $100k sounds like a lot of money, but in Bookanomics terms, its not much at all. There are all sorts of costs, and they come right off of the top. I ended up with about a fifth of that.

20%? How does THAT happen? Well, right off the bat the agent takes 15%. (That’s gross; my next book deal will be net). That takes us down to $85k. I had to return $25k to McGraw Hill, bringing the net to $60k.

Aaron, who was much more of a collaborator than an editor, was paid $15k. I paid my team of researchers over $10k for their work. (That brings us down to $35k).

I paid for all the cartoons in the book ($3,000) The artwork for the cover (under $1,000), and a few other small incidentals (also ~$1,000).  That doesn’t include all of the blog readers who contributed research, artwork, ideas, notes, editing, reading drafts — all for free.

The final tally:

Advance $100,000

Return prior advance $25,000
Agent $15,000
Editor $15,000
Research $10,000
Artwork $4,000
Other $1,000
Pretax net: $30k
After tax: ~$20k

Pretty astonishing when you see it in black and white.

Now consider this: Over the course of the year, I spent nights, weekends, vacations, and towards the final deadlines, days in the office working on this. My best estimate is I put in about 20-30 hours a week for 15 months (not counting promotional tour, which adds another few 100 hours). Let’s ballpark it and say ~2,000 hours.

So, my pay scale for writing what has been called the best reviewed book on the bailouts is a little better than the current minimum wage.

And a few other writers tell me how lucky I am, that very often, its a break even proposition or worse.

Of course, there are other benefits — People who otherwise wouldn’t have thought twice about you (Him? He’s an idiot!) suddenly start to take you seriously. You become “the guy who wrote the book.” Your speaking fees double, your regular business benefits. Other publishers start pitching you book ideas. In general, your personal brand becomes more valuable. My friend (and book agent) Lloyd Jassin says you write a book to “Build your Brand.”  And their is much truth to that.

There are many intangible benefits as well (book groupies!). In my case, it was cathartic, as it was a productive outlet for all the righteous fury that had built up watching the whole disaster unfold in slow-motion. It helped to “quiet down the voices in my heads.”

But Bookonomics means that making a living writing books is something very few people seem to be able to do . . .


UPDATE: February 6, 2010, 2:37 pm

As several readers observed, the 1st advance/return was a wash (+$25k -$25k = 0). They are correct.

But as noted above, I am thinking in terms of this years taxes — since I already paid tax on the $25k in 2008, the $25k that went back in 2009 comes off the top of the income statement for this April 15th for 2009.

Ignoring the different years tax consequences for a moment, the total income for the book increases if you offset the $25. That makes the gross $125k, leaving me $55k after costs, with a net after NYS and federal taxes a gain of about ~$33k, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

This raises my pay scale from under $10 to to $16 per hour.

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Financial Press, Media

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

66 Responses to “Bookonomics (or, why writers barely make min. wage)”

  1. Drewbie says:

    If you factor in the 25k you had to return to McGraw Hill, then you have to factor in them giving same to you in the first place, so you could have just left that out completely.

    Unless they charged you interest on that $25k :^)

  2. Mannwich says:

    I think that’s it, BR. The book certainly adds to your credibility, so I’m sure you’ve made a lot of money you wouldn’t have otherwise made if you didn’t write it.

  3. changnao says:

    BR: Drewbie makes a point, you didn’t lose the $25k from the McGraw return since they gave you the $25k in the first place.


    BR: I guess that’s true — but as I noted, I am thinking in terms of taxes — and I since already a paid tax on the $25k in 2008, the $25k that went back om 2009 comes off the top.

    But you are correct — I should add another $25 to the top line

  4. call me ahab says:

    but I’m sure there’ll be a movie :D!!!

  5. franklin411 says:

    What you have to remember is that labor is the only commodity in the world that is treated as worthless. =)

    Anyway, if it makes you feel better, academics generally do more work for $0 advance. Our reward is that some day we might have a chance at landing a job making $40k (until the next time the state goes broke and you get laid off.).

  6. drey says:

    Uhhh….not sure I want to think about what the average book groupie looks like when the subject is economics, Barry – middle aged, paunchy white dude, perhaps?

    To improve your groupie demographic you should transition from economist/market watcher extraordinaire to rock documentarian, then hire me to take care of security at all future book signings. With that Hendrix post last night you’re halfway there!

  7. gregh says:

    so if you initially stuck with McGraw you wou’ve netted 5K pretax?

  8. Thanks for the informative post, I’m taking a page from the music industry and the XKCD comic and putting the colloquially-written non-fiction book on terrorism that argues our gravest threat is from radicalized convicts up online for free, as soon as I get it compiled I’ll be offering e-reader downloads of it for about five-bucks:

    The music industry experience with downloading seems to indicate that exposure is key, and that people will ultimately pay for convenience, and even though every XKCD comic ever written is up online for free, people have flocked to pay for the book.

    Here’s hoping the model holds up!!

  9. The Window Washer says:

    Aren’t Book groupies an impairment?

    Or do you pull em in like the Ramones?

    Thanks for the book Barry I’ve read a lot in my life and your style has a voice that comes right off the page. A great gift. I can’t remember an educational book that was such a joy to read, you pulled it all together wonderfully.

    Pass along a thanks to Aaron, because I’m not going anywhere near his comments section.

  10. The Window Washer says:

    You should always have a book pitch ready to throw back at those publishers.

    How about “Fear and Loathing in Davos” with HR Giger. He’s from just down the hill in Chur, is into guns and is has perfect art form for the finacial world, he could be your Steadman.

  11. SS says:

    Thanks for sharing that Barry I think it is a very important experience to share. I don’t recall you mentioning it but your book certainly sold much more than the typical non-fiction work, and fiction is worse. I heard recently that in the classical music market the situation is still worse again, the best selling disks reaching 3-4,000 copies sold maximum. There are serious challenges for the arts and meaningful content going forward. Just to take one example from the press and news world. My wife and I were listening to RFI – Radio France International. They had extensive coverage of the wind-down of the civil war in Sierra Lanka. Every day they devote an hour of news to Africa. How can we possibly function well abroad without information? Yet all of our press bureaus have cut back drastically on overseas coverage for business reasons. So too has the BBC though they started from a much better place. To quote Cramer about our elites “They know nothing” and will know even less as we go forward.

    If you do write another book though, an area where you could save some not so minor change is editing. I had a terrific editor for a non-fiction work. Her fee was so low, in the low single digits, that I paid her a 40% bonus and she still cost less than a third of what you paid. She was real nice to work with too.


  12. zot23 says:

    wait a minute here Barry.

    If you are subtracting the 25k you were already paid by publisher #1 from the 100k advance, don’t you also have to include +25k from publisher #1? That money didn’t just vanish into thin air, I assume it was deposited. So that 25k is a wash, it should not be here.

    What is this? Banker’s TARP valuations?


    BR: Heh heh — you are correct — see tax discussion above

    I’ll change the headline to “Bookonomics (or, why writers barely make min. wage)”

  13. torrie-amos says:

    you’re advance was, depending on stats you use, 2-3′s average, right place right time means alot in book world as you know

    in non-fiction it’s publicity driven, thus your years of being fast money, yahoo tracker and others were mucho imporatante’

    the hours don’t surprise me as i got a half dozen in the drawer, re-writing is a biotch, especially for the 3-4th time, pacing and flow of language mean so much to those pesky editors

  14. The Window Washer says:


    Barrys editor was worth every penny. I found myself saying ” I think Aaron cleaned that up.” about every other chapter. He has a great common man/devils advocate point of view.


    BR: When I was contributing on a regular basis to, I would get columns back from Aaron and think “Sonuvabitch! He made that better!”

    Other than Tom Donlan at Barrons, I cannot say that about a lot of editors.

  15. hgordon says:

    It does seem that authorship mainly serves a marketing tool and validator, with the bulk of the payback coming through other channels. Bill Clinton only made $400k per year as Prez, but afterwards got that per day in speaking and consulting fees, though he got a pretty hefty advance on his book. And look at the coin that Sarah Palin (ugghh) is minting these days.

  16. investorinpa says:

    Thanks for this post…I always was curious as to the economics behind books, esp financial books. Just as a point of discussion, what is the most profitable business book of all time? I would venture a guess that it would be from the Rich Dad Poor Dad series by Robert Kiyosaki?

  17. JDinCT says:

    Hey Barry,
    As a published author and recognized financial expert, wasn’t there anything in Friday afternoon’s rally off the lows that made you think it was the Fed “adding liquididty” via SP futures that brought the market back?


    BR: It made me think –“Boy, we sure traded pretty close to 1038 — missed it by 6 points!”

  18. bobmitchell says:

    It doesn’t seem like NR is at a loss for company. Is it just his accent? Try that out, next find his agent.

  19. ToNYC says:

    As a patriot in this great war to take this great Country back to its roots in Independence, you have might well consider that comparing the result of your effort to a minimum wage is much like saying the human body is worth a few dollars worth of the chemicals into which it can be destructively digested and harvested. What does it pay to be an Olympic gymnast? You need to enjoy being an authentic reflector of the light of the Sun; put away and bury that old reductionist economics and get busy finding how many licks it takes to get to the center of it.

  20. BTW, I could easily do a cheaper book — less research, editors, art, etc.

    But then, that would not be as lovely a finished product

  21. keithpiccirillo says:

    Meb Faber was expounding on the same thing as you.
    There are a group of Americans at all levels, who do things not just for their intrinsic, but residual value.
    The body of work that Ralph Nader comes to mind.
    I referee high school basketball to stay active in the winter, and put in many hours to give these students, coaches and parents my very best.

  22. wunsacon says:

    >> Uhhh….not sure I want to think about what the average book groupie looks like when the subject is economics, Barry – middle aged, paunchy white dude, perhaps?

    Oh, shit! I’ve been made!

  23. John R says:

    One thing that is interesting about your comments is how the ebook market and Amazon’s demands on it could possibly destroy the publishing industry. Basically, I’d be interested in how much money you get for your ebook sales. Amazon seems to want to view all production costs on ebooks as the same—$9.99 or less for everything!! It seems to me that it may only be a good business decision to write childrens books in the future.

  24. BR,

    with this Post, are you contributing to lack of understanding of Economics? Seems, to me, you’re speaking of Book Finance..

    I know “Bookanomics” sounds kitschy, and cute, but, maybe, in this context, it needs to be Retired.

    It leads to Questions/statements, like this one: “There are a group of Americans at all levels, who do things not just for their intrinsic, but residual value.” While not a major deal, he’s looking for “extrinsic”, in place of the use of “intrinsic”, no?

    this: “BTW, I could easily do a cheaper book — less research, editors, art, etc.” But then, that would not be as lovely a finished product” from you, above, is as close to Economics as you get, in this Post.. At the Risk of sounding pedantic, I bring this up because ‘fickle Finance is, forever, severing the thinking Head of Economics..

    Past all that, seems like you made a few schillings Writing a Book that you’d be Proud to Own, it’s an accomplishment, all by itself..with that, Nice Going~


    BR: Bookafinance is a terrible title for a blog post!


  25. John R says:

    So, in the future, express your ideas in cartoon form, in about 20 or 30 pages, and 9.99 and below should work for you.

  26. dsawy says:

    Thanks for writing this up Barry. I’ve been approached a couple of times about doing a book, and both times I waved off, saying “It sounds like a lot of work for not a whole lot of compensation…”

    From your posting, it appears I was right.

  27. Joe Facer says:

    Years ago I financed my motorcycle racing in part through freelance motojournalism. Tech articles generated by doing research and acquiring and disseminating new information ran as low $5 an hour payback. Being stuck at the house convalescing was the only way that made any sense. Articles based on current industry controversies where I essentially voiced an informed opinion as an experienced and involved party streamed off the monitor and more than one netted me between $50 and $100 an hour. But payback can’t be measured as simply by the hourly rate. There is psychic satisfaction, reducing ignorance and shedding light, rage expressed, minting karmic currency, moving the state of the art forward, and justice being delivered. And some of the $5 and $10 an hour articles bought me the experience and stature to do the high rated articles. Money is important and more money is better, but the money diminishes bigtime in the rear view mirror and the accomplishments and pride not so much.

  28. rileyx67 says:

    Cute and “humble”, as usual, article Barry, and the realities you expressed re. the pay for most writers were the reason this Journ/NROTC Major decided I’d best drive airplanes vice trying to write that “Great American Novel”!
    BUT, did NOT have the sense to sell some more Ultrashorts at low of 1045, holding off for your (and others) 1038 or lower. (See Zero-Hedge for WHO swung into support at 1045 incredible!) Did sell another fourth of after second bounce off lows less than an hour later, but still holding about half of Ultrashorts had bought as a hedge…what to do NOW wondering?
    Any thoughts? And nothing on your Fusion IQ site, so possibly you are in the dark as much as the rest of us?

  29. If all writers wrote for money, the world would exist in literary poverty. We have a paradox: The world is rich in written works because those writing the greatest material were not (and are not) incentivized by thought of being rich (monetarily) — they write because they have something to say…

    “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” ~ Plato

    Barry, you are among the “wise men.”



  30. DL says:

    “The world is rich in written works because those writing the greatest material were not (and are not) incentivized by thought of being rich (monetarily) — they write because they have something to say”

    . . . . . .

    If one excludes those who are employed at academic institutions (or who are endeavoring to attain such employment), I think that the pursuit of financial gain is a significant motivating force among writers of non-fiction books, provided that in undertaking such an analysis, one includes all income that results, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY from the publication of the books.

  31. WaveCatcher says:

    IMO they key to being a profitable author is to have a powerful platform where you can continuously pimp your book. Think Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Steven Colbert.

    Their POV may not be as sophisticated as yours BR, but their platform reaches LOTs more people, and their often controversial POV generates a loyal following of lovers and haters.

    TBP is one of the greatest blogs on the planet, but as a promotional platform, doesn’t come even close to a highly rated TV show.

  32. @ DL: You are correct. I would agree that most people who write books of any nature are looking to capitalize on something other than the intrinsic value of writing. In my humble opinion, any person writing a book for the primary purpose of making money is not a writer — they are a salesperson; and that’s not to speak in a derogatory sense to salespeople!

    Once again I will dilineate between true writers and those who are not true writers with the Plato quote:

    “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” ~ Plato

  33. gms777 says:

    Barry, you also reveal what most readers are totally unaware of….that is that the writing of many, many books is a group effort in which “the writer” uses a collaborator and researchers. For example, Churchill hired PhD history students to write reports for him. He perused them and then dictated his”text” to a stenographer, oft times as he lounged in his bathtub sipping a watered-down scotch. Conclusion: Next time get a bathtub and liquor.

  34. Ophir says:

    You convinced me, I ordered the book @ amazon.

    It’s probably doing very well, I saw the paperback edition is expected on June 2010

  35. hpinRaleigh says:

    I’m personally grateful that you wrote your book and found it highly informative. I spent 26 yrs in the college textbook business, mostly in sales, and worked for the two companies you mentioned and two others. I once met a history author/professor who, when he calculated the 3 or so yrs he spent writing his manuscript, found that he earned 7 cents an hour. Of course he was an author who wasn’t asked to do a 2nd edition. On the other hand, there were a few authors I met, very few, who made several million.

    When you do your next book, get the signing situation totally COMPETITIVE. Signing Editors or “Publishers” can blow their budget at the beginning, middle, or end of their fiscal year if they think they’re losing their grip on the next bestseller and fear it’ll be signed by a rival. Making money on books is very tough these days. But please keep writing.

  36. Winston Munn says:

    @ wunsacon
    “Oh, shit! I’ve been made!”

    In that case, Donnie, you are a friend of o-u-r-s.

  37. and, in this vein/viewed through this facet: “TBP is one of the greatest blogs on the planet..” WaveCatcher, February 6th, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    this, to continue parsing Finance, from Economics, : “That doesn’t include all of the blog readers who contributed research, artwork, ideas, notes, editing, reading drafts — all for free.” BR, above..

    I’ll submit that your “blog readers who contributed research, artwork, ideas, notes, editing, reading drafts” did so, not for Free, but in (exchange for/endeavor toward) adding to the substance, of a Forum, that you, BR, have germinated.

    While those ‘benefits’, as you noted, accrue, to you, at no Net additional Cost (“What is SEEN..”), remember, that avenue would not have been available, to you, but for your effort at paving the road, and paying the Tab, thereof..(“What is UNSEEN..”)

    that interplay/dynamic is at the Heart of successful Customer Centered Innovation..

    and, to use my own segue`, with that in mind, during your, recent, ‘open thread’–dawning of a new ‘Glasnost’–others had mentioned ~”What about a ‘Tip Jar’?”

    personally, ‘Tip Jar’ sounds like something one would see at a Hack-Dive “Where the Microphone smells like a Beer” (yes, Billy Joel..)

    I’d suggest, with a predicate, that you, using your Quality Counsel’s advice, set up 501(c)(3), or similiar, titled “Bandwidth Fund”, ‘for Educational Purposes’..

    w/that, “What could a contributor, to such a Fund, reasonable, expect, in exchange for doing so?”

    regardless, “Keep on, Keepin’ on”..

  38. I-Man says:


    But you didnt do it for the money now, did you?

  39. wunsacon says:

    Winston, had to google for that. Was that a “Donnie Brasco” quote? Huh. Pacino, Depp… I guess I should watch that!

  40. and, just to clarify, and note that Idiocy knows no bounds, with this

    I was intending,

    here: “I’d suggest, with a predicate,…”, or, at least, I think so.. (;

  41. I-Man says:

    Which kind of raises the question:

    Why do we write?

  42. philipat says:

    Plus, at cocktail parties you can call yourself a writer, which sounds frightfully intellectual!

    So, in summary, book publishing is as big a rip-off on the “Talent” as is music publishing? Perhaps the book publishers need to learn from the experience of the music Companies, especially now with the Kindle and all?

    Assuming a COGS of 25%, it’s clear that the only ones making much on a book are the publishers?

  43. genesis315 says:

    Mr. Ritholtz, a BIG thank you for breaking this down. Really an eye opener for someone who is looking to embark down the writing road.

  44. Drewbie says:

    Getting back to the tax equation, if you claimed the original 25k as income, then on your next return you should be able to claim the repayment as an expense of some sort (to get a tax credit) or even refile your return for that years, since it didn’t turn out to be income in the long run (more of a loan).

    But I’m not a tax accountant, advisor or anything close.

    But hopefully you already have one of those that will put you right. :^)

  45. jjay says:

    Barry, next time “Securitize” the rights to your book and sell 21,000% like “The Producers” did.
    If anyone calls you on it, just tell them you are “Doing God’s Work”!

  46. Bthewee says:

    Advance $100,000

    Barry – Love Ya – but…..

    Under “Revenue” shouldn’t you include any future estimated revenue??

    I mean – You did sign a future Royalties agreement, please say you did, right???


    BR: Yes, and that structure makes it unlikely to happen . . .

  47. tamaragranger says:

    Maybe if you add some vampires, diet advice you could be able to make a living of it. Well, writers (except for some novelist) have never been exactly rich. And after taxes, your profits really shrink but like you said there could some quality changes in your career, like you level up. And your opinions could weight more.

  48. Chris says:

    I think in all of history the person actually doing the work never earned much. Maybe the stoneage hunter. Isn’t it the underlying problem of the current crisis? Work doesn’t pay anymore, so everybody is trying to manage something and the actual production is done in China?

  49. [...] Book writing as minimum wage vocation.  Insane.  (TBP) [...]

  50. JazzMe says:

    Well, I understand you Mr. Ritholtz, but I dare to say that this excellent book helped to raise your reputation tremendous. The intangible assets of yours are increasing enormously, which will pay off surely with time in professional life…

  51. mguerreiro says:

    yes, maybe it wont turn a fortune, but to make sure all the numbers are out and a full picture is shown, you should explain how will the royalties work, what is the level they start kicking in, how much do you expect, how far are you now, etc..
    Great job anyway.

  52. Of course, there are many other benefits — I mentioned quite a few above (gravitas, speaking fees, media exposure, your business benefits, plus all of the intangible benefits).

    My agent says you write a book to “Build your Brand.” And their is much truth to that.

  53. [...] The returns to writing a book, aka Bookonomics, are pretty dismal.  (Big Picture) [...]

  54. vmirchandani says:

    At least when dealing with tech authors where time to market is critical, I think the big name publishers need to speed up time to market – for the 80+% authors share with them, they should bring quality AND speed – I blogged about that below

  55. W T F says:

    Barry, instead of going the traditional book publishing route have you considered what the longer term revenue potential would be if you published the book on the web?

    Clearly there are tradeoffs to this. Had you done this you could have “monetized” each chapter in a much more expeditious fashion and built up “buzz” over time. Of course this approach is as old as publishing with the added benefit that advertising revenues flow directly to you.

    And then there’s a different twist: can the web be used to extend the life of a book or any media property? Can you build, even for a time, a community or an ongoing-dialogue around such a book? There’s plenty to discuss in your book and the consequences will play out in the corporate boardroom, in financial markets, and in the political arena for years to come.

    By the way, does your book “revert back to you” after some pre-defined time? In other words could you “webify” your intellectual property in a few years if you chose to do so?

  56. tawm says:

    Well, damn — I ordered no less than 6 copies for myself and as gifts to friends and colleagues…. The pricing on Amazon was right. And hey, it got you more publicity and creds for your TV spots….

  57. Simon says:

    Brian Shannon at Alpha Trends has another publication economic model and I’m sure he only had to sell about 100 books to break even. It costs $100, I think, you buy it direct from him.

  58. But that involves ordering the books, packing, shipping, etc.

    Too much headache . . .

  59. I’m quite facinated by your mistake.
    I don’t see how you could have counted the $25k except to (subcsonciously?) make your point sharper. I don’t say this to rub salt but your posts are riddled with critiques of restatement and fact benders. I for one would be interested in a post on some egg head who reseerches this. But I do infact believe that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  60. [...] “Bookonomics (or, why writers barely make min. wage)” : The Big Picture – You think it’s bad to make a profit as a blogger?? Book writing isn’t that great either, unless of course, you are Steven King. [...]

  61. Andy T says:

    “Of course, there are other benefits — People who otherwise wouldn’t have thought twice about you (Him? He’s an idiot!) suddenly start to take you seriously. You become “the guy who wrote the book.” Your speaking fees double, your regular business benefits. Other publishers start pitching you book ideas. In general, your personal brand becomes more valuable. My friend (and book agent) Lloyd Jassin says you write a book to “Build your Brand.” And their is much truth to that.”

    The same can be said for the Blog. There is a little actual direct benefit, and it’s a “time suck” as you’ve said before, but it’s also a major marketing tool for you…

  62. [...] Barry Ritholtz on ‘bookonomics’ By readingarefun You hear the same complaints from musicians and authors–no one makes art for the money. For major label artists, the pay starts out bad and only gets better after a gold record or two. For indie label artists, I’ve heard the money only comes from touring. And apparently even when you write the best book on the bailouts and the bad behavior that preceded them, you don’t make much. Barry breaks it down here. [...]

  63. MorticiaA says:

    I’m guessing book groupies aren’t quite the same as rock star groupies, though not in an altogether bad way.

  64. StatArb says:

    Who plays you in the movie …

    Jason Alexander ???

  65. ToNYC says:

    I think you are tragically confusing making a living with making a pile of cash. That’s why the symbol of drama has two faces. Living is perishable; no amount of Cash will thaw it out worth a rat’s zinger.

  66. [...] Yes, I'm a writer, but I don't encourage anyone to follow this path. That's not because I'm afraid of competition. It's because I make less than minimum wage, by the time I count up all the time it takes to craft an article or a story, and unless you have great contacts, you likely won't do a lot better. If you have a passion to write and are willing to work hard, then by all means, go for your dream. But don't imagine you'll be pulling in six-figure advances any time soon unless you are the exception to the rule. According to Barry Ritholtz, even a big advance turns into chump change once you subtract expenses a… [...]