Award-winning writer Donal Ryan has made the surprising admission that he’s being forced to return to his career in the civil service to keep the proverbial wolf from the door.
The Tipperary author – who penned the critically acclaimed book ‘The Spinning Heart’, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize – had taken a sabbatical from work to focus on his writing career after landing a major publishing deal. But despite all his brilliant literary successes, Ryan has now revealed that can’t make enough to pay the bills and keep a roof over his head as full-time author and is being forced to now go back to work.
“It's nearly impossible to make a living as a writer. You need to have something else on the go,” Ryan said in an interview published in yesterday’s Sunday Independent.
“You could take a chance and scrape a living through bursaries and writing books, but I'd get too stressed out. It just isn't worth it. I have two kids in school and I have a mortgage to pay. I am lucky though. I loved the civil service. It was a job that I was good at and that I found fulfilling and challenging and I had an opportunity to help people and to make a little difference in the world."
Ryan estimated that he makes only about 40 cent per book sold. “If you look at the charts every week, in the autumn you need to sell around 1,000 books to be No.1. At the moment I suppose about 500 books would do it or 300 even - it depends on the time of year. I reckon I get about 40c per book. So I would need to sell a huge amount of books to make a good salary out of that," he added in the interview with the Sunday Independent.
But his fans will be relieved to hear that the writer – who has a new novel ‘All We Shall Know’ out at the moment – has no plans to stop producing fiction.