“By combining both illegal and legal activities, minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon…”
Jonathan Gunson posted an amusing and informative article about William Shakespeare on his Bestseller Labs website today: William Shakespeare: Hoarder, Money-Lender, Tax Dodger.
Apparently, Shakespeare was not only a brilliant poet and playwright, but also a ruthless business man and terrible neighbor.
The Huffington Post has a good article on the subject of authors' day jobs: Strange Day Jobs of Authors Before They Were Famous.
Jack London was an 'oyster pirate,' stealing oysters from the beds of large farmers and selling them at the Oakland markets. He also did a little gold prospecting, and may or may not have spent time as a hobo.
Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership in Cape Cod after publishing his first novel, Player Piano.
Steven King was a janitor in a high school before his work was published.