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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