How Much Do Authors Make?

How Much Do Authors Make?

You might be thinking of becoming an author, but you are not sure if it is sustainable in terms of returns. The truth is that many people are making a living out of writing and doing book publications, and they make a full-time income as they pursue what they enjoy most.

This article will tell you how much authors make and enlighten you on how you can make the most from your books and earn a full-time living from them. Stay tuned!

What Determines How Much Can You Make As An Author?

As an author, you can make a full-time living from writing, especially if you have multiple books, excellent marketing strategies, and an active, engaged fan base.

The following are factors that determine the amount of money you make in a given year as an author:

  • The number of books sold
  • Advance payment offered upfront-for traditionally published only
  • Rate of royalties for every book sold
  • The printing costs of the book
  • The marketing efforts and potential
  • Audience size of the author
  • Number of book copies published every year
  • Number of different books that the author has

There are no two authors who make the same amount of money. The publication route you choose will determine the amount of money you will earn… Along with who you choose to target.

How Much Do New Authors Make?

Short answer… It depends.

One of the factors that determines the amount you can make as a new author will depend on your marketing strategy to increase your visibility on platforms like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, AND YOUR WEBSITE.

As a new author, you should try different price points and royalty rates and see how much you are likely to make. This helps you know how to price your book and develop sales goals that can make you achieve your desired income goal.

You can also make higher profits by selling your book as a new author by using your book to grow your business leads if selling your book one at a time. Another way to make higher profits is to target organizations and sell your books in BULK.

If you don’t have a high ticket offer or a strategy to sell your book in bulk, the ultimate solution for making money as a new author is to write often, learn the concept of self-publishing, and have multiple books.

Common Royalty Earnings For Authors

Statistics show that self-published authors can earn up to 70% royalties on their books, compared to 5-18% for professionally published authors after “paying back” their advances.

It is important to note that you will not start earning royalties as an author using traditional publications until you sell up to ten thousand dollars worth of books. Most publishers make deals with the author that their royalty will go up if the author sells a certain quantity of books. Traditionally published well, experienced authors can negotiate higher royalties of up to 15%, but this is very rare.

On the other hand, as a self-published author, you will start making money in the form of royalties when you do your first sale and every other sale at an average rate of 60% of royalties.

Factors That Affect How Much Money You Can Make As An Author

1. Choice of Publishing Method: Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing

You need to know the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing before choosing the publication route you want to take. 

Either way, both traditional and self-publishing are success pathways. Still, traditional publishing takes a long time, say between two to three years, and you may not see big returns unless there are bidding wars between publishing houses. When there are bidding wars, authors get massive advances between six-figure to seven-figure deals.

Traditional publishing can take two to three years to publish a single book, while self-publishing can publish between two to three books in a single year.

Traditional publishers give authors an upfront advance, but the author cannot get any royalties until the advance payment is paid back to the publisher. At the same time, self-publishing does not have an upfront advance, but the author immediately starts making money in terms of royalties.

2. Capitalize On Marketable Story Ideas

You can make good returns when you write to market as a self-publisher. Writing to market means that you look at the story categories that you enjoy creating and identify those that are doing well in the marketplace and capitalizing on the same. Like a good author, you should be able to easily come up with catchy story ideas, write quickly and publish quickly.

On one hand it is important to niche down, but if you are TOO specific with your book topic there may not be a large enough market for your specific topic.

3. Write Daily and Publish Often

When you have finished one book and published it, you are always itching to do a better one. This is the best way to make a fortune out of writing, by making writing a lifestyle. Make it a habit of writing daily. This habit will become part of your life and a full-time, well-paying job.

4. Write and Publish A Series Of The Book

The best way you will ‘make it as an author is by writing a book series, and one customer is likely to make multiple purchases of your series books. If the first book was received well because of how great it was written, so will the second and third if written and published even better.

Customers who buy every book of your series always leave positive reviews, which is a good selling point to new potential buyers and these customers are likely to buy other books written by you which are not part of the series.

5. Stay Committed To Being An Author

Writing will only pay you more by taking it seriously and you will only make a full-time income when you stay committed to writing AND MARKETING. Make writing an investment by engaging with professionals who can sharpen you to get better at writing. create writing goals, and market your book PROFITABLY.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering to write a book and make a living, self-publishing your book is the most recommended way to go. As seen, self-published authors can earn up to 70% royalties on their books, compared to 5-18% for professionally published authors.

We recommend getting a self-publishing book coach can help you get started, stay on track and self-publish a high-quality, successful book.

We offer comprehensive book coaching services, so contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your income goals!


Free Training For Authors With Shana Danielle Your Profitable Publishing Coach.


4 thoughts on “How Much Do Authors Make?”

  1. This topic has given me ALOT of food for thought because as I await the publishing of my first book, I already have concepts for the 2nd AND 3rd: I could use some helpful mentorship and guidance. My 1st book is a publishing hybrid using print on demand and after reading this blog entry, I’m definitely considering self publishing. Thank you Shana!

  2. Excellent advice!

    So many benefits to self-publishing… but so much to learn! Thanks, Shana, for highlighting the things so many first-time or aspiring authors otherwise may not know. There’s plenty of solid information and help here. One pitfall to self-publishing is stepping onto the field, but not being fully equipped to play. Information like this helps to ensure they stay in the game.

  3. This is very informative! You certainly have my full attention Ms Danielle. With this knowledge you have shared; my confidence level of writing a second book even better than the first just went up by 100%. You tell the truth and teach authors the right way. Thank you for helping the ,Authors all over that don’t only want to write correctly but, also want to market the book and appreciate their sales and success!
    Hats off to you Ms. Shana Danielle.

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