Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

#AuthorEarnings ~ Are There Any?


Sure, folks with lots of money can buy their way into the BookWorld and sometimes make a killing.

Author Earnings

Image Courtesy of José A. Warletta ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/jwarletta-34460

Then, there are the very few authors who happen to land a publishing deal and continue to make a decent amount of money.

Still, most writers make very little

But

Between “most” and “the very few” there are “lots” of authors doing fairly well.

Enter author Hugh Howey and his anonymous “DataMagician” who have been raising a ruckus about IndieAuthor earnings.

I did a post last year with lots of links to their various studies—Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World.

Today, I’ll share some info from their latest report—May 2016 Author Earnings Report: the definitive million-title study of US author earnings.

They begin with:

“Data in the publishing biz is hard to come by. Without widespread sharing of data by retailers, publishers, agents, and authors, we are all left like the blind to describe different parts of the same but seemingly disjointed elephant. Two years ago, AuthorEarnings released its first report on a new part of this elephant: E-book sales on Amazon.com. Our report stirred controversy, as it described a formerly unseen world of publishing data.”

They then reveal:

“So for this report, we went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of ‘tax brackets’.”

And, no matter what you personally feel about Amazon, they do sell an amazing number of books (and diapers…).

Here’s a breakdown of what they captured info on:

Nearly every single Kindle book selling 1 or more copy per day. (98.5% of them)

90% of all Kindle titles selling at least 2-3 copies a week

81% of all Kindle titles selling 1 or more copy a week

64% of all Kindle titles selling 2 or more copies a month

32% of all Kindle titles listed in the Amazon US Kindle store.

There’s lots of analysis of the numbers from their latest data-exploration in the full article; but, I’ll share a bit of what I consider important:

“…the Big Five’s year-long plummet in overall ebook unit sales appears to have finally leveled off, leaving them with roughly 23% of Amazon’s ebook unit sales.”

“…every author who debuted anytime in the last century and is currently accumulating income at a rate of $10,000 a year or more from their Amazon US sales alone….almost 9,900 such authors”

“…Almost half of those 9,900 authors also appear in the $25000-or-better bracket…”

“…over 2,500 authors…are currently earning at a living-wage run rate — $50,000/year or more — from just their Amazon sales.”

“1,340 authors are earning $100,000/year or more from Amazon sales.”

And, just in case you wondered:

“On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.”

However, doing a little math with a few of their numbers, it seems there are over 300,000 book sales a day on Amazon—and, my best intuitive guess is that somewhere around 100,000 authors are selling those books (which should mean there are many more authors selling none)

I think we’re still able to say most writers make very little

And, if you want to do a little self-therapy on why writers continue to work at writing and attempting to sell their books, check out my past post—Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying?
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4 responses to “#AuthorEarnings ~ Are There Any?

  1. dgkaye June 6, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Selling books is hard. We have to love what we do to keep on doing it. Thanks Alex. :)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai June 7, 2016 at 1:53 am

      You’re Very welcome :-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye June 7, 2016 at 10:14 am

        :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: #AuthorEarnings and International Book Sales | Notes from An Alien

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