In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Free Reads -- Kathleen Parker | Main | Free Reads -- David Thomson »

January 16, 2003

Tacit Knowledge -- Authors and money

Friedrich --

A woman I was lunching with who works at a large literary agency told me an amazing fact. Her agency represents over 3000 authors. Guess how much of the agency's income is brought in by their top 10 authors.

Ready? The answer is 25%. Wow: 1/4 of the money this company makes is brought in by 1/300th of its authors. (And one of their top 10 authors has been dead for some years now.) I wonder what percentage of their revenue is brought in by the bottom 1500 of their authors?

And people talk about book-writing as though it's a career. It isn't a career; it's a crapshoot.



posted by Michael at January 16, 2003


You kind of mentioned this already at

It sounds like the industry is designed to operate that way. But I like the odds of hitting it big though. If you are able to get yourself represented by that agency then you have a 1 in 300 chance of making it big. These odds are a great deal better then winning the lottery. This is actually encouraging news.

Posted by: ShipShape on October 19, 2003 12:28 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?