One of the last posts on Tess Gerritsen's blog (she has withdrawn from blogging because she found the environment increasingly hostile and humorless) was on the topic of a survey undertaken by Novelists, Inc. Never heard of NINC? Neither have most people. To join, you need not only to be published, but multipublished, and the presses publishing you need to pay a hefty minimum advance on all books they acquire (not just yours), and so on. Joining isn't easy.
So, this is an association of rather successful novelists. You should probably hop over and read the original post; but if you can't be bothered, here's the bottom line. NINC did a survey of 100 of its members. The median number of novels published by this group was 16 books per author(!). The response rate was 100%.
The question asked was if they could support themselves through their writing.
31% of them answered "Yes" or "Probably yes."
69% of them answered "No" or "Probably no."
So, for all of you who gave up your dreams of being poets so you could pursue something more practical, such as writing novels...
...poetry doesn't look all that bad after all. And at least no one wants to know why your poem hasn't been made into a movie yet.