Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Author Earnings

Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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#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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Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World


This blog says its purpose is doing “Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing”.

Today’s post will be really heavy into the Publishing side.

But

If you don’t care about such stuff, just scroll down in the left side-bar and find the Top Tags area—then, click on “Reading” or “Writing” or any of the other tagged collections of posts

Here are just a few more particularly interesting collections:

Author Interviews

Behind The Scenes

Friday Fantasy

So, back to the topic in the title of this post and looking into the Book World’s goings-on by giving credit to Hugh Howey and his initiative, Author Earnings.

I got an email from Author Earnings this morning and they gave me a nice list of links to quite a few of their past reports on the Book World.

I’ll share those with you

Top 7,000 E-books in Three Bestselling Genres

Barnes & Noble Report

85,000 of the Bestselling Books Across All Genres

How Newer Authors were Faring Compared to Their Longer-tenured Peers

The Effect of DRM and Genre Across 120,000 Titles

The Size of the ISBN-less “Shadow Industry” that Remains Completely Uncounted in Official Publishing Industry Statistics

The Effect the Return to Agency Pricing has had upon the Market Share and Sales of the Big Five

And, their latest report:

How the American Association of Publishers’ 1200 participating publishers’ market share has trended, and whether their declining 2015 ebook sales are representative of the direction of the broader US ebook market

If any of you actually go to all those links and check them out, Please let me know in the Comments ’cause you are a Rare Person :-)
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Author Earnings


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

Author Earnings

Image Courtesy of Krzysztof Szkurlatowski; 12frames.eu ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/hisks

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

Pricing

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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Making Money As A Writer


I’ve written many posts about writers and money.

Writing for Money

Image courtesy of Caltiva Creatividad ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/caltiva

Some folks think that only the journalist-type or the non-fiction writer should think about making money

Some folks think that fiction writers shouldn’t consider money and only write for the love of the art

Some folks think the new self-publishing juggernaut can slam them into the mega-sales bracket

Thing is, there’s a bit of truth in all those ways of thinking—a bit

The full truth about any individual’s chance of making money with their writing involves, at least, the following factors:

* How strong their desire is to make money

* How much money they can spare to help them make money

* How much time they have to spend working toward making money

* The choice of venues in which they’re willing to try to make money

From my experience, I’d recommend a writer soberly consider those factors; then, based on their deliberations, make a sound judgement about one more factor:

* Can they generate the staying-power to pursue, faithfully and diligently, the path toward earnings they want to follow?

That’s my two-cents’ worth

Now, I’ll share two very different perspectives on making money as a writer.

The first is from a friend of mine—Angela Yuriko Smith—and is called Three Ways to Build Your Byline.

Her method is simple and sound; and, you might call it the boot-strap method.

Just a couple excerpts from her article:

“In the beginning, you need to show your talents off anywhere you can.”

“It doesn’t matter if you were paid for them or not.  All that matters is you have published peices of paper with your name on them.”

“Now that so much is on the internet, your links are also your clips.  Save the title and link to everything you get published.”

“Give your talents away to everyone who will take them.  I have had so many doors open up because I volunteered to lend my writing for a good cause.”

“Let your words be powerfully promiscuous.”

Do, if you have any desire to make money as a writer, go read Angela’s full piece.

Next, I’ll offer a video with two of today’s rising stars in the writing-for-money “market”—they both make money talking about making money—yet, they both have some good ideas to offer for your consideration


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