There’s wisdom in the thesis explored in this New York Times article, “I’ll Share My Salary Information, if You Share Yours,” by Jessica Bennett (1/9/2020), which in a nutshell says that the more women talk openly about what they earn, the more likely they will be to receive fair and equal compensation. The argument for openness is particularly applicable to writers — of any gender.
One of the best ruminations on this came from Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, who contributed an essay to the eye-opening book Scratch: Writers, Money and the Art of Making a Living, edited by Manjula Martin. (A description of Martin’s book and an excerpt from the Strayed portion appear on Vulture.com) Strayed talks frankly about the financial ups and downs she experiences, both before and after her memoir became a bestseller.
As Strayed told Martin:
I feel strongly that we’re only hurting ourselves as writers by being so secretive about money. There’s no other job in the world where you get your master’s degree in that field and you’re like, Well, I might make zero or I might make $5 million! We don’t have any standards in that way, and we probably never will. There will always be such a wide range of what writers are paid, but at least we could give each other information.