Thanks for writing this, Kate. I always enjoy your articles.
One thing about novels, though. Advance book deals are super-rare in the fiction world. If you're a big name with a hotshot agent, a publisher MIGHT sign you to a multi-book contract. But for most novelists, even ones with lots of published books, you're starting over every time, never knowing if you'll get a penny for the thing you're writing now.
For me, as I work toward my MFA, living on my savings, meager pension, and Grad Assistant wages, I see 3 possibilities for income in my new career: 1-writing and selling books (yes, I can and will do that, but it's not what you'd call money you can live on, cause it's not dependable); 2-teaching (dependable, and I love doing it, but it's hard work); and 3-Medium.
I started writing here last month, earning back $2.65 of my $5 membership fee. This month, I'm on track to bring in close to ten times that, enough to buy a tank of gas. By the time I graduate next May, if all goes well, I'll be covering the bulk of my living expenses through this lovely platform, which will let me choose how much to teach or whether I even want to teach at all while working on my novels.
Of course, if 45 is still in office, I'll definitely be relying on the online income, submitting articles from Ecuador or Spain or maybe Mars.