Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Amazon 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 ~

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


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 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 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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3 More Ways To Publish An E-book

I’ll save what I consider the best for last…

Ebook Publishing

Image Courtesy of Arjun Kartha ~

So, first is a new way to get published through Amazon—a mysterious, possibly breakthrough endeavor.

From TechCrunch‘s article—Amazon Looking To The Wisdom Of Crowds To Find New Authors:

“According to a Kindle Direct Publishing forum user, Amazon is quietly rolling out a way to find diamonds in the proverbial publishing rough. The unnamed project would bring a crowd approach to the acquisition of new titles using a voting system that ranks new books based on crowd favorites.”

And, from The Digital Reader‘s article—Amazon to Launch New Crowd Source Platform, Now Recruiting KDP Authors:

“I’ve confirmed the new program with Amazon pr spokesperson Susan Stockman, who told me that this program will be neither KDP nor Amazon Publishing, but something new. Unfortunately the program is so new that she was unable to provide much additional information.”

However, you can subscribe to get more information from Amazon… {WARNING: since publishing this article, Amazon may have stopped this…}

The second way to publish an e-book is new to me but has been around awhile—NOOK Press. {since publishing this article, it’s been renamed Barnes & Noble Press…}

From their website:

No-Cost Self Publishing
With no delivery fees or production costs, NOOK Press is free to use from start to finish.

We’re Here to Help
We offer live chat services so you can get all your online publishing questions answered in an instant.

Share with Your Community
Find fellow authors, marketing advice, and more with our NOOK Press blog and Facebook communities.

Easy-to-Use Content Tools
NOOK Press lets you write, edit, and format your manuscript in one place. Collaborate with friends and editors directly in NOOK Press.

And, here’s my pick for Most Innovative E-Book Publishing Option, because my Best Friend graciously sent me the link to the Poets & Writers’ article—0s&1s Reinvents E-book Publishing.

From the article:

“Officially, 0s&1s Novels ( is a new independent publisher and distributor of digital literary fiction. But in the context of the ongoing e-book pricing war between some of bookselling’s biggest players…this new start-up offers an indication that maybe the so-called rules of e-book publishing, and the large corporations who are making them, need not shape the digital future.”

And, from 0s&1s’ website:

“We believe technological advances in any art’s medium should help the proliferation of independent, unconventional product.

“But we’re not quite sure this has happened. Despite the fact great novels are consistently being created, only a few make it through the requisite channels to a larger readership.

“The selling of digital books has become an oligopoly, with only a few important players—& a lot of power. The world of e-reading shouldn’t be proprietary to any one brand, reader, or (set of) publishers. Selling a digital book is as simple as transmitting a series of zeroes & ones, & there’s never been a better time to take advantage of that fact.

“Our concept is to distribute digital books that are truly independent, pro-author, green & above all, ambitious. Our writers get 80% of profits, retain full rights to the material & buck the trend, not follow it.”

So, there ya go, three more ways to publish e-books :-)
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Is Amazon Becoming A “Traditional” Publisher?

Amazon Publishing

Image Courtesy of Emiliano Hernandez ~

Lots of folks know that authors can self-publish through Amazon with Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, and ACX.

I wonder how many know that Amazon is also acting just like the traditional publishers.

An article from The New York Times, back in 2011, entitled, Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal, had this to say:

“’Everyone’s afraid of Amazon’, said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. ‘If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.'”

Here are Amazon Publishing‘s Imprints:

  • AmazonEncore (Rediscovered Works)
  • AmazonCrossing (Translated Works)
  • Thomas & Mercer (Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense)
  • Montlake Romance (Romance)
  • 47North (Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror)
  • Little A (Literary Fiction)
  • Skyscape (Teen and Young Adult)
  • Two Lions (Children’s Picture Books, Chapter Books, and Novels)
  • Jet City Comics (Comics and Graphic Novels)
  • Lake Union Publishing (Contemporary and Historical Fiction, Memoir and Popular Nonfiction)
  • StoryFront (Short Fiction)
  • Grand Harbor Press (Personal Growth and Self-Help)
  • Waterfall Press (Christian Nonfiction and Fiction)
  • Amazon Publishing (Nonfiction, Memoirs, and General Fiction)

I’ll pull just one of those imprints out of the list and explore it further—StoryFront“…quality short fiction across all genres…”—“…home of Day One, a weekly digital literary journal…”

Day One, which I receive on my Kindle, is “…dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Day One showcases just one writer and poet each week…”.

It costs $1.59 a month, with the first 30 days free

According to information from GalleyCat, writers and poets can submit to Day One by emailing a word document (along with a brief description and author bio) to
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