You cannot imagine how many times I've heard "publishers support authors so authors can just write." Or...
"It used to be that publishers supported authors so authors could just write." Or..
"I can't wait until I'm published so I can just stay at home and write." Or...
"I wish was (fill in the blank with bestselling author). Their publisher does everything for them so they can just write."
These statements are fantasy at best. Let's take a look at each of these statements.
"Publishers support authors so authors can just write." Writing contracts include publicity and promotions requirements for authors. Further, since 2003, most publishing houses have gutted their publicity budgets. Even bestselling authors are funding their own press and publicity agents. When I worked in the Open Grove, I met many authors who funded their own travel and hotel expenses. One woman, with a bestselling book under her belt, couch surfed around the country in support of her book.
"It used to be that publishers supported authors so authors could just write." When I hear this statement, I usually ask "WHEN was that?" Pick an era, authors have always had to promote and sell their own books. Walt Whitman went door to door with his book. When people didn't like Dicken's work, he and his large family didn't eat. Mark Twain hated traveling away from home, but left his family for a speaking tour to sell his books and make up for his debts. Even in the recent past, Jennifer Louden traveled the country in her parent's vehicle teaching Free Adult Ed classes to support Women's Book of Comfort. To my knowledge, there's never been a time that author's could 'just write.'
"I can't wait until I'm published so I can just stay at home and write." This statement reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the word "advance." An advance is basically a loan against your future earnings. For easy math, let's say you receive $50 in an advance. Of that $50, your agent takes $7.50 leaving you with $42.50. You need to save 1/3 for taxes ($12.75) and at least 1/3 for publicity or a press agent ($12.75) This means that you live off of $12.75. But that's okay, right? You'll get more. Most authors never see another penny from their books. In fact, outside of about 50 books a year, most books lose money for publishers. What if your book becomes a best seller? Doesn't help because you make the deal for your book up front. When you signed, you would have signed for anything - and usually authors sign for less than anything. When your first, second or third book becomes a best seller, the publisher wins for the risk of their investment, not you. What about when the story sells to the movie people? David Morrell sold Rambo for $50,000. Total. Period. That's it. He was delighted for the $50,000. But once it's sold, it's sold. The entire billion dollar franchise was started from the $50,000 investment.
"I wish was (fill in the blank with bestselling author). Their publisher does everything for them so they can just write." When I hear this statement, I always ask "Who are you talking about?" Janet Evanovich in How I write, speaks of working eighty hours a week. Moreover, after writing for eight hours, she spends the afternoon and evening working on marketing efforts. Nora Roberts, one of the most prolific authors of our time, writes all the time, including when she's on press junket. You can find her in the middle of book tours working on her laptop in the smoking room of airports. She writes in the car, at the hotel and any moment she's not interacting with someone else. Even after 159 published books, most of them bestsellers, she still doesn't have the luxury of 'just writing.' Stephen King is in very much the same position. Stephen is constantly trying to find better ways to promote and publish his work. He writes at least 8 hours every day then spends the rest of the time trying to find a better way to do business.
The only authors who are able to "just write" do so because they have family money, are supported by a family member, or have other sources of income. No working author gets a free ride.
If you want to write, you will have to learn to promote your work. That's how it was for Chaucer. It's how it's going to be for you.