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AUTHORS AND THEIR INCOMES.

In a book called "The Road to Riches," which Mr. T. Wernie Laurie hjfs juot published in a Colonial edition, the author, Mr. Thornton Hall, has an interesting chapter on writing as a source of wealth. On the whole, it is not very encouraging lo budding authors. Some writers have received princely sums for their work, but the vast majority have ' found their labour very poorly repaid, ■ and among these latter are to be found some of the greatest names in literature. In authorship to-day nothing succeeds like success. Never were the prizes of the literary world so valuable as they are to-day. Mr. J. M. Barrie ie said to have made £50,000 out of "The Little Minister" alone. This sum represents payment at the rate of over £400 a thowgand -words. airs. Eice's story,

"Mrs. YV'iggs of tbe Cabbage Patch," at a royalty of "20 per cent, has already yielded £20,000, that is to say, £1 a word. A novel by Miss Marie Corelli is said to bring that lady £20,000, and .Mr. Hall ('nine's works are probably equally lucrative. Mr. Rudyard Kipling's income from his writings must be enormous. For eight short stories written some years ago he received £S,OOO, and he' sold '-Kirn" for £5,000, or 1/0 a word. For a short poem on J the Kueso-Japanese War 'lie whs paid £200 by "Collier's Weekly." The heirs; of the Jate Edward Xoyes Westcott drew ' £25,000 from the sales and copyright of, "David Harum." Lord Morley was paid £10,000 for his ''Life ofcjftladstone," and Mr. Winston Churchill £S,00l) for his! • life of his father. "Wee Maegregor" I brought £4,000 to its author, Mr. J. J. Bell, who at one time would have been glad to sell it outright for a £ 10 note, so often had the publishers refused it. Henry Seton Merriman left over £50,000 —the fruits of a dozen years' novel writing. On the other hand, consider the struggles which even successful authors have had to go through before they came into their own. Mr. W. W. Jacobs, in his

first four years as ail author, earned exactly 34/- by his pen. Mr. H. G. Wells had to struggle through six years of rejection before lie found his feet. Mr. Bernard Shaw was besieging the newspaper offices in London for nine weary years before he. could gain recognition. "John Strange Winter" boinbardfld editors with manuscripts for six J years before she reaped her fir<st fruits — I ten shillings; and miring the following jnine years her pen-earnings do not average £100 a year. Guy Boothy served ' ten years of unpaid apprenticeship to 1 the pen before he "struck oil." Mr. Hall , Cnine earned nothing at all by his first book, and his next five produced less, all told, than he would now be offered ! for a -short etory. Mr. Barry Pain's earIly rejections were so many that he was able to : pappr one of his study walls with the refusal forms as a constant reminder of the virtue of a humble mini). If the budding author remembers also that Milton sold "Paradise Lost" for £5 down, and that the price paid for "Hamlet" was but twenty nobles (less than £7), he may perhaps avoid disappointment by sternly dismissing all,, dreams of a fortune in Ms pen.

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AUTHORS AND THEIR INCOMES. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

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