How much does an author make per book?

My Books

My Books (Photo credit: Jennerally)

Self-publishing a book is not easy and can take a lot of effort to get the word out. However, there is the potential to make a greater return than the traditionally published author as you can keep between 70-90% of your sale. Amanda Hocking, the self-published author of paranormal romance for young adults and EL James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey are examples.

I read on Amazon that a traditionally published novelist will get between 7.50% and 10% of the price received by the publisher. i.e. if a book costs £10.00, the bookseller gets between 50% and 65% per copy so average that at 55% which = 5.50 of the £10 leaving £4.50. If an author is on a 10% royalty they get 45p  per book sold therefore. The average sale of a first novel in hardback by an unknown author at the moment is 400 copies. A mid-selling author ( ie. not the first novelist nor J K Rowling) would maybe sell 2,000… so it can be concluded that there is not much money in being a typical traditionally published author.

Self-published authors should not get too excited though as the average author earned just $10,000 (£6,375) in 2011 and half made less than $500.

The figures show that getting rich from writing books is like winning the lottery but with a lot more hard work. However, as a newly self-published author, I want to take my chances.


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How to write a press release to promote a self-published book

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

One of the first things I have started doing to promote my book is releasing press releases. I have registered at, which offer free press releases. It was relatively simple to register although you do need to have a business email (not a gmail or hotmail account) and you do need to verify your contact telephone number.

Other free press release sites are:  Open PRPR Fire, News Wire Today, PR Zoom, Idea Marketers

I have had between 30-90 views so far for each of my press releases on Although this is a relatively small audience, I hope in the long-term I can build the profile of my book.

So how do you write a press release?

Here are some tips:

1) You have to write your press release in the third person.

2) Include quotes from you/your book.

3)Include links to your book but try to make your press release engaging and newsworthy.

4)Give your press release an attention grabbing headline.

Here is one of my press releases

Heading: Parents confused by conflicting advice in parenting books

Subheading: Parents are increasingly using parenting books to guide them in bringing up their children.

Body: In the past, mothers often lived near their own parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who were readily available with parenting advice. Nowadays, people tend to live further away from where they grew up and may not have family around to help them make childcare decisions. Therefore, many parents turn to parenting books for guidance. However, as the number of parenting experts out there rises so does the amount of conflicting advice, which creates confusion. Parents may worry whether they should or should not sleep train their baby or whether they should be following a strict routine or not. At one extreme there is the rise of attachment parenting books, which suggest that parents should carry their baby around at all times and sleep with their child. At the other extreme, there are books telling parents to get their baby into a routine straight away.
One book ‘Psychology for Parent: Birth to teens (…)’ tries to cut through the conflicting advice offered by parenting experts.  Carlisle says that her inspiration for writing the book was to provide evidence-based parenting techniques rather than opinion-based advice. She presents psychological research on parenting in an accessible way, so that parents can make decisions for themselves.

One controversy, Carlisle feels strongly about is whether breastfeeding affects the mother-baby bond. ‘I know that breastfeeding has important health benefits for babies but some mothers are made to feel awful if they can’t breastfeed and that is wrong. Many of my friends had problems breastfeeding their first child for various reasons, having a premature baby, having a baby with tongue-tie (a condition where the underside of the tongue is too tightly bound to the floor of the mouth for the baby to breastfeed easily), getting mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue) or not producing enough milk. I heard many comments when my son was a baby about breastfeeding leading to a better bond with your child but I was pretty sceptical about them.  In my book I discuss evidence, which shows that breastfeeding does not affect the mother-baby bond.’

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ covers a wide range of topics including attachment, discipline, mindfulness, giftedness, language development and special needs. ‘It is not just a book for parents of new-borns’ Carlisle says ‘My book is a reference guide that will last parents until their children are teenagers.’

Have you asked yourself the questions: Is it better to be too strict or too lenient with my child? Is it okay to smack? How can I help my child to read? How can I get my teenager to talk to me? What should I do if my child has dyslexia? If you want answers to these questions grounded in psychological research, then ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ may be the book for you.

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ is for sale as an e-book on Amazon,, Barnes and Noble (…), Kobobooks (…) and Apple ibookstore.

Advertising your book when it is free

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...

various e-book readers. From right to left iPad (Apple、2010) kindle DX (Amazon、2009) kindle 2 (Amazon、2009) kindle 1 (Amazon、2007) PRS-505 (Sony、2007) PRS-500 (Sony、2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below I suggest a number of websites where you can list your book when it is free.

I am not able to make my book free on Amazon for a selected period of time because I am not with the KDP Select programme. Many of the free book lists are for books going free on Amazon Kindle only. I now realise that there may have been an advantage in going with Amazon KDP select initially rather than going for non-exclusive promotion of my book on Amazon and 

If you are not in Amazon KDP select then you can advertise your book as free in different formats at these websites: This website allows you to advertise books, which are free on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Apple Scroll right down to the bottom and you will see the orangeberry newbie promotion, which is the only free one. Your book has to have been published in the last 30 days and be free. You need to have 20 reviews with a 4+ rating or more to advertise on their free book list. However, you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon and in the Barnes and Noble Nookstore. Your book has to be non-fiction, a children’s e-book or Christian fiction to advertise on this website. You can add your book to their list when it is free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nookstore and as a PDF on your own site. You can use their free submission tool. It links to all the free listing websites easily. This site offers listings of free books in multiple formats-Nook, Sony, Kobo, Apple, Kindle.

Other websites where you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon only are: You can post your book here when it is free on Amazon Kindle or any other Kindle website. You have to have 18 + reviews  with 4+ rating to advertise your free book here. It also has to be a full-length book. You need to have reviews with a 4+ rating


So where can you advertise when your book is not free? You can put any new book up here. Your book has to be under $5.99 and have at least 5 reviews on the US Amazon website.

How easy is it to self-publish?

English: Photographic composition of Granmata ...

Despite the fact that I am not particularly computer savvy, I have still managed to self-publish my book on and Amazon. I downloaded the style guide for and Amazon onto my Kindle and I followed their guidelines to the letter. However, I could have saved myself a lot of time, if I had read the style guides before I wrote my book. Every single paragraph return in my document had to be deleted for The Amazon style guide was easier to implement, but there are two downsides to self-publishing on Amazon KDP: One is that people can only download your book if they have a Kindle and the other is that you have to give them 30% share of what you sell unless they are the exclusive sellers. In contrast, only takes 20% share of what you sell and customers can download your book in lots of different formats. For example, they will add your book to the Apple iBookstore for download.

The most difficult thing to do for those less computer literate is the e-book cover. says that the cover should ideally be 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels tall and the height must be greater than the width. They think that the best looking height: width ratio is 1.5:1.6 and the image needs to be in RGB colour. Now I personally would have no idea where to start producing such an image. However, for those in the know, it can be created in Paint. NET and should be saved as a jpeg image. Fortunately for me, my kind computer-programmer brother did my e-book cover after I sent him some ideas of what I wanted. He also did it for free, which is a bonus as I have no idea whether I will sell any of my books at all.

In fact, the whole process of self-publishing has so far been a bit of an anti-climax. It has been 7 days since I put my book up for sale and I thought I might immediately start selling books but apparently it doesn’t work like that. In the masses of books out there, my book is almost invisible. Therefore, I have started blogging again, in the hope of trying to attract customers to buy my book. Hopefully, someone out there is interested. I have read that some self-publishers put hours of effort into blogging/twittering etc. to advertise their book but at the end of the year, have not achieved much. So I need to make sure I don’t feel too upset if it doesn’t get me anywhere.

There has also been the question of price. What is the ideal price to start selling an e-book for? I have looked on the internet and it seems that you should start by either giving your book away for free or by selling it at a really low price such as £2/$2.99. You then raise the price of your book, once you have some reviews. Ignoring all the advice I have read, I have put my book on for a higher price just to see what happens and also because full-length parenting books seem to sell for more than £2/$2.99. I can see why people prefer to have an agent and a publisher do everything for them. A bit of advice and advertising can be very handy. As I have not had the luck of landing a publisher, I hope I can make my self-publishing journey as success. Wish me luck!

I have recently self-published an e-book ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’. It is on sale at Amazon,, Barnes and Noble, Kobobooks, Sony Ebookstore and Apple iBookstore.

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