Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Earnings

Speculations about how to have a bestseller are running rampant on the ‘Net.

Author Earnings

Image Courtesy of Krzysztof Szkurlatowski; ~

I’ve written before about what authors can earn and how most writers sell very few books.

Some folks feel that it’s fate or blowing just the right way on the promotion dice that reaps monetary rewards.

One thing that might favor large book sales seems to be writing within popular genres, though even that’s no guarantee.

Certainly, being famous helps, as does doing something felonious…

Still, for a writer to have any chance at making money, there are certain things that do raise the odds.

Yet, to quote Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords:

“The forces that determine a book’s sales performance are often multi-dimensional, synergistic, opaque, delayed or simply not apparent.”

One thing that seems to be extremely important is to have an e-book edition.

Smashwords has published nearly 318,000 e-books in the last six years.

In 2014, the retailers they distribute to sold over 25 million dollars worth of Smashwords e-books.

Last year, I published the results of Smashwords survey of potential author earnings.

Well, the 2014 survey results are out—they examined the “aggregated retail and library sales data of Smashwords books and then crunched the numbers based on various quantifiable characteristics of the book.”

I’m sure the insights from the survey can help drive sales through other distributors as well; and, even though I published my last book through FastPencil, and will publish the print edition of my next book with them, the e-book will also go through Smashwords—and, I still may not sell very many books…

Let me share that quote from Smashwords’ CEO again:

The forces that determine a book’s sales performance are often multi-dimensional, synergistic, opaque, delayed or simply not apparent.

Yet, there are few authors who don’t want lots of people to read their book—my motivation for selling my book while still giving it away

So, here are the Key Findings from their survey:

The ebook sales power curve is extremely steep

Readers prefer longer ebooks


FREE still works great, but it’s losing some mojo

Preorders yield sales advantage

Series yield sales advantage

Best-performing series have longer books

FREE series starters pack a punch

All those findings are explained in more detail at 2014 Smashwords Survey Reveals New Opportunties for Indie Authors.

And, here’s a slide presentation about it ( note the controls at the bottom ):

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One response to “Author Earnings

  1. Pingback: What’s The Real Cost of #SelfPublishing? | Notes from An Alien

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