From comments, sapote3:
It took me a couple of days to source this, but I think it's pretty accurate. According to the US Department of Labor, there are about 43,000 people who make their living through writing (including screenwriting, ads, movies, etc), but only about 8,000 that make a living writing for newspapers, periodicals, books, and directories (all combined). According to the Writer's Directory 2010, there are about 23,000 writers in the world who have published at least one book in English, including nonfiction works. The Directory of American Writers and Poets (again, including nonfiction) lists about 8,000 names. According to Wikipedia, fanfiction.net has two million users, and I don't even know how big lj fandom is - lj searches top out at 2,000 people. Heck, there as many active Dreamwidth accounts as there are writers who have published any book in English ever - 23,000ish.
So while my numbers are vague, I think the idea that we're a smaller population then prowriters is pretty laughable. - link to comment
Can I say "Welcome to Thunderdome." in portentous tones now and be culturally relevant or is that too melodramatic? Because come the fuck on. My log alone for the last two years numbers above one thousand authors and I only read in four fandoms actively. AO3--which is in beta--has 6946 authors to date.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say, yeah. This is not an improbable conclusion.
Note: non-English speaking work is not represented, though now I would be interested if we could even get world-wide statistics in publishing both English and non-English works. I guess individually pulling from each country's equivalent department would do it if it were public information, with a variable for translated works (I once read Basic Instinct--yes, Basic Instinct--in Finnish). Especially since from what I can tell, I think several of the non-English language fanfic communities are extremely robust and growing fairly rapidly.
PS Do we count non-published doujin? And someone give me the right spelling on that one, google and wiki were not helpful.
I am posting so I won't buy boots, okay? Okay.
ETA: Okay, off-topic, but there's an awesome discussion on hobby mining here. Hobby mining! Tell me that is not awesome.
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