For a few years now I’ve closely followed the trend of self-publishing. Unlike most trends, this one seems to have landed exactly where I hoped it would—publishers have been circumvented, ordinary writers now have direct access to their readers, and life is markedly better for writers and readers (while much worse for the publishers). It’s still too soon to know whether this will lead to the death of Ortega’s “mass man”, but we can hope.
Although Hugh Howey is the latest writer to experience wild success with self-publishing—and therefore an outlier—he has done us all the favor of soliciting stories from writers who are experiencing moderate success, which he defines as $500-1000 a month. There are a lot of them, and Howey claims that he needs to redefine his earnings range upwards, i.e. a moderately successful writer who self-publishes can earn significantly more than $1000/month.