Kerry and Glyn, you are having an interesting exchange. I see there are many similarities with what you might think dissimilar in the old style, paper publishing world.
I am an academic writer, but I write nonetheless. I have a book forthcoming, next Spring I suppose, after edits. I shall get 6% or £7.20 per book on cover price and maybe a few hundred will be sold. I have worked on it for four years and perhaps my inputs make up a bit over a working year (I mean five day weeks at eight hours a day kind of thing). I have had to go our publisher hunting, spend lots of time on different forms of submission of proposal and so on. The hoops to jump through are numerous. My return per inputs will be something like centimes per hour.
There is little difference whether one has an institutional setting/job or is, like me, independent. It is all done with perseverance. However, the punchline is that there are academic writers like fiction, etc, writers who churn out words like machines; the Binchy types for one. Those are the people who get the mythical generous advances, bigger commission, have marketing departments push them and all of the rest of the package that often sells inferior goods.
The Man Asian writers include some real talent. I have read Elif Shafak, Kim Thúy, Orhan Pamuk and Anjali Joseph. The first is one of Turkey's top writers and she is good. Those talents are also not pushed, they are treated as some kind of ethno-special novelties. In their own countries they are top sellers. They are not pushed here because the marketing departments and so on that push out mediocrity that makes money for the publishers and keeps the authors tame wants its Mavis Binchy sausage machine to roll forever.
That is, one way or another, where independent also means mostly excluded.