Half the respondents failed to reach $500 in royalties in 2011, and a quarter of the books are unlikely to cover the direct costs of production. “Sobering” news, wrote Cornford and Lewis. “Who’d come back for more?”

Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500 – the guardian

But if you’re traditionally published you are made for life right? 

You think writers live in garrets? Think again. Carl Wilkinson introduces the Millionaire’s Club, an exclusive band of authors whose books have sold more than a million copies.

The Millionaire Authors’ Club – The Telegraph

And it’s not as many as you think. 68 authors (some of non-fiction) in the UK have sold 1million copies since 1998.

Of course there is a middle ground – authors on average according to The Telegraph – made £4000 a year in a UK.  

Also see: 

Not a Gold Rush – The report of the Taleist Self-Publishing Survey 2012
Self-publishers fail to earn a fortune shock!

3 Thoughts on “Thoughts: Don’t Write for the Money

  1. I make 5.00$ a download off of Warsdtone Books II and III. $2.00 ea from Book One. And $2.00 ea from all 4 of The Dragoneer Saga Novels.

    I am indie and these are all Kindle Fantasy Mythology list US BESTSELLERS
    Here is a link to the current and hourly updated Fantasy/Mythology list based on sales at Amazon US.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/digital-text/157097011/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_kstore_2_5_last#3
    Notice there are 5 or Paid M. R. Mathias titles on the left and 2 FREE M. R. Mathias titles on the right. (the titles I used as an example above.) Sadly none of mine are in the top 20, but from #34 down there are my little indie titles sitting there with “CURRENT” sales equal to the big pubbed titles around mine.

    Those Big Pubbed Authors get less than a .50 cents a sale. So in order to make what they make off of a million sales I only need about 275 thousand sales on average between all my titles. Or just 50k of wardstone II and III. I’m about 3/4 of the way there. I will surpass them in “ROYALTIES PAID TO THE AUTHOR” this summer.

    The other 50% of indies are killing the Pubbed Authors. Only we have to work at the pubbing, advertising, editing, and promoting end of it. This causes us to become more familiar than they at the buisness end of books.

    They do get the easy life. They get a bank of editors and promoters to work on their behalf. I get the reward of knowing I dont have to delete that phrase because my publishing house is squemish, or is affraid of controversy. I get real literary freedom, and if you pick up one the FREE titles of mine on the list linked above, you’ll see why readers move on and buy my work.

  2. Sorry to sound so defensive, but I am sick and tired of the world thinking self pubbed authors are hacks. What we are is:

    Not forced to stick to the big pubs formulamatic (sp…lol) , stamped out crap that they know will earn a buck.

    Remember: “50 shades of Grey” started out as Twilight fan fiction. So todays NYT bestseller came from an Indie that was well rejected. Tell that to 50% of those “published hacks” with an advertising budget big enough to get themselves one million sales.

  3. Dorte H on July 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm said:

    When I stumbled on the Taleist survey I thought it was an interesting idea which is why I participated.

    But when I saw the results, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that the main conclusion seems to be what you quote above, “Half the respondents failed to reach $500 in royalties in 2011″.

    What the survey fail to take into consideration is that many of the self-publishers who are stamped as failures had published their first book in 2011. They may only have had a few months in which to earn anything.

    So as far as I can see, the only interesting results are those that prove that in order to achieve success, you´ll have to publish many books of good quality. And I think traditionally published writers would agree whole-heartedly.

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