Well, another Santa Barbara Writers Conference has come and gone, and a lot of happy, exhausted writers have traveled back home, inspired, motivated and ready to tackle another year of writing and, it is hoped, publication. I get such pleasure from watching the writers who come for the conference each year go home with new skills and inspiration to keep at the craft.
I, too, am changed each year, and motivated to continue working on my own writing. Given the state of publishing these days, it's easy to get discouraged. But there is much to be hopeful about. The latest PW has some interesting stats, worthy of repeating here:
In 2005, there were 185,276 authors and writers in the country, up 39 percent since the year 2000. Nearly 52 percent of authors work full time on their writing, and they make an average of $50,800 a year. That's encouraging.
Male authors make more than female authors, which is a bit discouraging, given that there are more women authors (54.9 percent). I really thought we had come a little farther than that, to tell you the truth, especially among the arts. It's something that has to change. I say we start a women author's movement. Anyone want to join me? But I digress.
Nearly 27 percent of authors are under 35, which means 73 percent are older than that. Thank goodness writing isn't dependent, as some other art forms are (hint: acting) on youth. Another thing: readers don't care if you look like a Hollywood star; all that matters, really, is the writing. Hooray for that.
And, finally, there are 50,000 writers living in California and New York, but Santa Fe, NM, has the most authors per capita. Interesting tidbit. Santa Barbara County, where I live, has more than 700 published authors. I wonder if that counts?
The bottom line, writers are surviving and thriving. And that's worth celebrating.