Mir wäre es sehr lieb, wenn mehr Autoren vom Schreiben leben könnten als das heute der Fall ist. Die Zahl derer, die nur vom Schreiben leben kann, ist ja auch bisher schon sehr überschaubar gewesen. Was mich aber bei der diesbezüglichen und oft durch Internet-Themen ausgelösten Diskussion stört, ist die fordernde Selbstverständlichkeit, mit der dieses sinngemäße (Totschlag-)Argument häufig in den Raum geworfen wird: “Aber Autoren müssen doch vom Schreiben leben können …” Gern wird das auch auf Neu-Autoren bezogen.
Rivera: Many authors hear your message about being willing to give away their books for free, or to focus on spreading their message but their question is: “I’ve got rent to pay so how do I turn that into cash money?”
Seth Godin: Who said you have a right to cash money from writing? I gave hundreds of speeches before I got paid to write one. I’ve written more than 4000 blog posts for free. Poets don’t get paid (often), but there’s no poetry shortage. The future is going to be filled with amateurs, and the truly talented and persistent will make a great living. But the days of journeyman writers who make a good living by the word–over.
As he notes, although he is a hugely-successful author and speaker today, and hence presumably well paid for both, he started out by giving away stuff — lots of it. It was only after he had established his value in the market through that free content that he was able to to start asking to be paid for future work. In other words, just because he was a great writer and lecturer didn’t mean he had an entitlement to be paid from the start; he had to prove he was worth paying before people did so. And even then, they paid not for what he had done, but what he would do — just as you pay a plumber or train driver.