Manga editor, Yoshinori Iwai (岩井好典), criticized the claims made by a Japanese variety show segment which stated that the alleged annual salary of a light novel author would be around 80.85 million yen.
“Average annual income of 80 million? Didn’t they put two extra zeros? Even if this is a joke, it’s out of the question,” Iwai said
The variety show segment titled “Easier-Paying Higher-Paying Jobs” said that the job of “light novel writer” was the easiest and one of the highest paying jobs in Japan.
The occupation was also listed in the second position in “lowest calorie consumption” and the fifth in “lowest time consumption” categories.
Iwai rubbished these claims, saying that competing in the light novel market was not easy. Low salaries and uncomfortable lifestyle forced most light novel authors to quit by the time they reached 30.
“A long time ago, when I spoke with a light novel publisher, I was surprised at the low salaries that abound there. I asked him: “And how the hell do they live with that?” He replied: “They don’t, that’s why most quit when they reach 30 years old,” said Iwai.
Iwai further explained that an average light novel can make up to 4.5 million yen a year.
“Aside from the blockbuster writers, the 750 yen paperback is printed in 15,000 copies for the first edition, and the royalties are 1,125,000 yen. It costs 4.5 million yen for 4 books a year. Since it is newly written and there is no manuscript fee, that is the total annual income. There are countless people who can continue to write one paperback in three months and who can constantly print 15,000 copies. You can do both of them and have an annual income of 4.5 million.”
Kyuryou, a website that explains the salary and annual income of the light novel writer, reveals that the average annual income of a light novel writer ranges from 60.7 million yen to 80.85 million yen.
They listed the average salary of a light novel writer of age 20, 30, and 40 as 5.05 million yen, with a starting salary of 50,000 to 10,000 yen (calculated as 10,000 copies issued (royalties 60 yen)).
Back in October, a 28-year-old civil servant in Japan, who earned 3.2 million yen (US$28,000) by publishing four light novels, was suspended for a period of six months without pay for breaking the Local Public Service Act; for writing Light Novels and publishing them without permission while he was on sick leave.
The variety show segment also ranked the trades of “firefighter”, “architect,” “Japanese beetle breeding,” and “carpenter,” in top 5 when it came to “compensation and ease of accessing a job”.
The ranking received numerous comments causing an uproar among the netizens on Twitter, who shared a variety of opinions on the matter.