I don’t think there’s any way a person can be just a writer and make a living anymore–not taking into account the Stephen Kings and James Pattersons out there. With the dwindling number of agents, publishers, and marketers, people who write are finding themselves in the position of becoming editors, speakers, publishers, marketers, investors, producers, programmers, social network experts, and accountants.
Gone are the days of Hemingway being able to travel to France and Cuba to write and then mail his transcript to a publisher and receive royalty checks. Gone are the days of JD Salinger hiding away and writing as an anchorite. Gone are the days of Harper Lee being able to sell a book without doing a book tour and selling copies out of her trunk.
Gone are the days of being found by someone else. Now writers (and any kind of artist, really) have to make their product–and then get to doing the real work of spreading the word.