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50 Shades of Tar Pits: Students Make Big Bucks on Dinosaur Romance Novels


Texas A&M students Alara Branwen and Christie Sims were having trouble making ends meet. Branwen worked in a supermarket; Sims tutored. That is, until they discovered a lucrative niche ebook market, and made a killing writing human-dinosaur, uh, “love stories.” (Note: Alara Branwen and Christie Sims are not their real names, and if you click on the links above, you’ll understand why.)


(Photo Credit: InfoMofo/Flickr)

How much money do they make?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

“We don’t want to get into actual numbers,” Branwen says, in an interview with The Cut. “But let’s put it this way: Combined, Christie and I make more money than our friend who has been working as an engineer at Boeing for a few years and Christie’s friend who is a five-year accountant in Dallas, Texas.”

Since putting things into actual numbers is sort of what we do, we did a little digging in the Research Center, and determined that if the Branwen is telling the truth, she and her writing partner are probably pulling down $60,000 or so between the two of them. (Boeing salaries here; accountants in Dallas salaries here.)

That doesn’t meant that either of them make enough to give up the studying game completely, however. The pair are currently attending school part-time, while building their business. But business appears to be booming.

“They haven’t been at this for very long, so who knows where they might end up. They certainly know how to stir up attention,” Lindy West writes at Jezebel. “And regardless, writing hilarious niche erotica totally seems like something a person could do on the side, right? Part time? To supplement their, say, professional lady-blogger paychecks?”

It’s certainly proof that sometimes the answer to our underemployment woes is to get creative.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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