kameron hurley posted a very honest and sobering look at her last year of writing and marketing:
this is something i would love to see all writers do more. so much of the money end of things is shrouded in mystery; even i still have a frisson of “am i being crass?” when i ask more established authors about their actual sales. but these are numbers every writer needs to know.
this has dovetailed nicely with my current reading, which is cory doctorow’s information doesn’t want to be free. there’s a lot of stuff in here about copyright which is not directly relevant to beginning writers, but it is overall a sobering look at the Internet as a creative marketplace, and has certainly changed my thinking about the various venues and methods for self-publishing.
also, i should nod to cassie alexander, who was wonderfully blunt about her own numbers at fogcon last year, and very open to questions.
much of my own writing has been stymied at various points by unrealistic expectations; i hope very much that these kinds of recounts will help other budding authors to frame their careers more soundly.