A new study says writing a memoir about your life as a writer is not sufficient to land book contracts.
The study, led by University of California-Irvine professor Laura N. Smith, looked at how much writers earn and how they earn it, including a survey of more than 5,000 authors of books about their lives.
She found that those with published memoirs earned about $4,500 less than those who did not.
“It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter for quality and the type of person you are,” Smith said.
“That’s where a lot of people feel a lot more comfortable.”
But the study also found that if you’re not a successful writer, you may not have a career in the first place.
“If you’re an author who has no business being an author, you’re probably doing a poor job,” Smith added.
The researchers also examined whether a writer with a successful career would fare better financially than someone with a poor one.
The researchers looked at people who were employed full time or part time for two years or less and who had published a memoir or book about their life as an author.
“There’s no question that many people with published books do better financially,” Smith told ABC News.
“So what’s going on is that people with the highest amount of published books don’t have the greatest amount of money,” she said.
But authors who have published books are less likely to have their incomes rise with the publishing market.
“We know that people who have had success with published authors tend to have lower incomes, lower earnings, lower median incomes, less social support,” Smith explained.
“And so that makes it more difficult for them to make ends meet and for them not to be able to live on a minimum wage, and for people who are low-income to have the financial resources to be living in a home they can afford to live in,” she added.
But she also said that for the average writer, it doesn’t matter how successful they are.
“People who are successful with published book are more likely to make more money than those that aren’t,” she explained.
Smith also noted that while publishing has helped writers to make money, there are drawbacks.
“When you’re working with someone to write, you do have to have an idea that the person is going to be satisfied with the final product,” she noted.
“Some of the people who I work with who are writers don’t write because they are writing.
They write because there’s a book out there, and they’re really happy with it.”ABC News’ Jennifer Haggerty contributed to this report.