I remember someone telling me that rates of pay for spec fic writers have remained the same since the 1920s. Non-fiction rates aren't always what they should be if you're freelance, either. Usually, unless you get a cushy job behind a desk in a glossy mag, you can never expect much anyway. Or you can become Anne Rice, but it's very difficult to predict which authors will become big. So we're already at the mercy of whim and circumstance. But aren't we just fluff anyway? How necessary is the job of the writer--particularly the fiction writer--in a world of increasing literacy but without the disposable income to afford aspirational magazines and glossy new hardback books?
Journalists will always be needed, but there are many different types and a true journalist is different to a writer. They get out there, find stories, please their editors and only write incidentally. The news is more important than the writing, and the journalism more important than the writer.
I haven't bought a non-literary magazine in a long time. They never appeal to me any more when much of the stuff I used to read in them can be found online for free. I buy lots of literary magazines, but often grimace at the contents or commend their effort and tuck it away only partially read. I buy them more for display, these days, because there are so many writers and too few great stories.
So will we begin to struggle even harder to find the few meagre jobs we need to pay the rent? If banks are folding, it's only a matter of time before frivolities like books begin to decline in sales.
Or is literature immortal? Will we need it whatever time period we're in?
You're thoughts are welcome.