Asking how much money you can make writing a book is just like asking how long is the string. There may not be a definite answer. An author’s salary varies just like a typical job; some may pay you less, and some may pay you more. The earnings are also determined via a number of various factors, like:
- Are you a new or experienced writer?
- Are you working full or part-time?
- What is the genre and kind of the book that you are writing?
- Are you writing an eBook or a physical book?
- What publishing route will you opt for?
Yet, how much money can you make writing a book is one of the most googled questions for anyone considering a writing career. Or even for existing writing to evaluate the writing opportunities better, they are offered.
However, there can never be a definite answer like every other opportunity. While readers may assume that writing is the most lucrative field in terms of money, they can be wrong. There may be a few outliers like Stephan King of JK Rowling. However, for many other writers, this may not be the case.
This article shall shed light on approximately how much money you can make writing a book. Alongside a detailed explanation of the entire process and whether you should consider writing your next book or start a career in book writing. Lastly, some book writing ideas as well.
So, the query to be resolved remains:
How Much Do Authors Make Per Book?
Only if authors have multiple books on the go can they expect to make a living out of them. They must know how to market their books and have an established, enthusiastic fan base. Numerous factors impact the author’s earnings, like:
- Number of books sold
- Printing costs
- Publication route
At an estimate, a book typically retails for $14.99. Depending on the publication route, royalties vary from 10 percent to 60 percent. That makes a writer earn $1.79 to $5.74 per book. So, if the author estimates selling 6,000 books, their earrings may range from $10,740 to $34,440.
A traditionally published book may earn author royalties of 5 percent to 20 percent if they print a physical book. The publication house or manager looks after the entire process and costs in a traditional publication method. From production to distribution and marketing, it’s all the publishing houses’ headache.
While most people think that publishing houses are more than vanity presses, it may not always be true due to famous writers like George R R Martin and Stephan King.
If you like control over your book and want to earn more, you can opt for self-publication. But how much do self-published authors make? Read on to find out.
How Much Do Self-Published Authors Make?
The earnings parity between self-published and traditionally published books is as high as $24,000. This parity exists mainly due to royalties. Where publication houses and managers may offer a royalty ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent. Self-published authors earn royalties of 40 percent to 60 percent.
This means that if your book retails for $14.99 and if you earn royalties of 60 percent, you can earn up to $ 5.74 per book. And if you estimate your sales to be 6,000, you can earn as much as $34,440 for 6,000 books.
The industry has faced a change, and more authors are inclined toward the self-publishing approach. This has enabled various authors to live their dream and earn an appropriate amount finally.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in the US, as many as 131,200 are working as writers or authors and earning an average of $61,240 annually. However, the earnings depend upon a variety of factors discussed earlier. And self-publishing has made this all possible.
Moreover, the process of self-publishing is way smoother than a traditional publication. Where traditional publication housing takes up to 3 years to publish one book, self-publishing can enable an author to publish three books in a year. And the more books published, the better the earnings.
How Much Does A First-Time Author Make?
All first-time authors dream of getting linked with a major publication house. However, in terms of pay, they are always confused. Nonetheless, many first-time authors have recently outed how much they’ve received for their first books.
An author signing their first contract can expect an advance of $1,000 to $15,000 on average for one book. However, these come with strings attached. This means that if the author receives an advance of $1,000, they must generate more than $1,000 through royalties to receive any additional earnings from the book.
While $10,000 may seem to be a huge figure, you're hardly left with any money after you pay your agent and marketing and promotions. The industry is pretty harsh over newcomers and people who don’t do tv appearances.
How Much Do eBook Authors Make?
One of the most popular platforms to publish your eBook is Amazon. Amazon is one of the world’s greatest online platforms, with more than three hundred million active users. That being said, Amazon isn’t a great place to sell your eBooks. Because just a very tiny fraction of these users buy eBooks.
Amazon pays you 70% royalties, which means if you sell your book for $10, Amazon will keep $3 and pay you $7 per purchase. While pricing depends on the book, let’s say you sell a small eBook for $2.99, and you earn 70% of the amount, which is $2.09. So, selling 100 such books per month will earn you $209 monthly.
While Amazon is the king of the market, there are other platforms where you can sell your eBook, like Nook Press, which offers a royalty of 65%, Smashwords, and lastly. You can create your website to sell your eBook.
You have the option to either sell on one of these platforms or all of them simultaneously to boost your earnings.
How Do Authors Get Paid?
How authors are paid is based on their contract with either publisher or, in the case of self-publishing, by the wholesalers and retailers. At the same time, payment clauses are usually pretty lengthy and complex.
An author doesn’t get a salary; rather, they receive a portion from the book sales. This entirely depends upon the publishing approach they opt for. For the self-published route, the author pays the editor and designers. When they sell the book, a portion of the proceeds go to the retailer or wholesaler, while the author keeps most of the profit.
- Contract-Based Payment:
In the case of the traditional publishing approach, the publisher and author sign a contract. Under which, the author is paid a generous advance, which is non-refundable. Alongside the advance, the author also receives royalties.
While we have discussed royalties in detail a couple of times, other payment strategies include:
- Net Receipts
While royalties are a percentage of the retail price, net receipts are a percentage of the receipts of a publisher. This receipt is the amount paid by the publisher to the wholesaler and retailer. In simple words, the discount a publisher gives a retailer is subtracted from the retail price. As discount increases, the author’s portion of profit decreases.
The retailer determines these discounts. And once the retailer receives the stock, it’s up to them to determine at which price they wish to sell. For eBooks, the retailer generally pays publishers a percentage of the retail price, while the author is able to earn just 25 percent of what the retailer pays the publisher.
- Fixed Fee:
Authors may be paid a fixed fee for some projects and nothing beyond that. Regardless of copies sold or words or pages written. However, this still has stakes for the author because if their work doesn’t sell, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be hired again.
And if the books perform great, it may be up to the publisher to reward the author. There are other payment strategies too, like:
- Word Count – the writer is paid per word, so the pay entirely depends upon how many words the writer writes.
- Page Count – the author is paid per page. So, if the author writes five pages, they shall be paid accordingly.
As far as pay is concerned, it’s mostly dependent upon the quality of your work and how many books you sell. But is it possible to become a millionaire just by writing books? This is exactly what we’re answering next.
Can Writing A Book Make You A Millionaire?
Let’s face it, all of us writers dream of becoming best-selling millionaires like Stephan King or JK Rowling. However, that’s where reality kicks in; writing is one of the most challenging fields to become a millionaire.
We’ve seen numerous examples of talented authors who are struggling to make ends meet, and at the same time, there are a few best-selling authors too. And to be one of the latter, the trick is to figure out making money while enjoying writing.
a. Turn your passion into income
While writing is all about creativity, you need to think of it as a business to become a millionaire doing so. While your writing may be of the greatest quality, there is no market for your book; it may be of no use.
Conduct proper research about different niches and genres which are trending and popular. Dig deep about publishers, especially which publishing route to opt for and how they can increase profitability.
Be ready to invest not just a lot of money, but time and other resources, like marketing, social media, etc.
b. Understand Publishing
While you don’t need to understand the entire publishing industry, it is very crucial to know about different options. While plans are available and how to make the best of them. For instance, if you dream of becoming a millionaire by publishing your first eBook, we regret popping that bubble.
The reason is that eBooks make only 20 percent of the industry, and becoming a millionaire selling eBooks is nearly impossible. While traditional publishing may not be so attractive, it still dominates the market. Properly research the publishing route because it plays a crucial role in the success of your book.
c. Write That The Readers Desire
While you should write about what you’re passionate about, it is also crucial to consider what the audience wants to read. Because this is a two-way relationship, you feed them what they want to read, and they give you what you crave, success.
Without the support of your readers, your book is just going to end up in a library. Understand and research your audience, and write content they can resonate with. At the same time, find a balance between satisfying your audiences’ reading desires and your creativity.
d. Prepare Yourself For Long and Hard Work
Considering real-life examples of JK Rowling and Stephan King, who are millionaire writers, if you look at their life stories, they’ve worked really hard for the success they’ve achieved. In reality, it’s hardly possible to hit the million mark with your first book.
Nearly all millionaire writers achieved their million mark after writing a couple of good books first. The key is to be consistent. Best-selling authors consistently release books at least once a year—for instance, Stephan King and James Patterson.
e. Be Patient
Reaching the millionaire mark isn’t an overnight process. Millionaire authors have achieved this mark only by consistent delivery and patience. Their determination, persistence, and patience have helped them reach the mark. Alongside talent, luck also plays a significant role in the process.
A lot of excellent writers never achieve success, and for some, it may even be challenging to get their books published. So, it would be best if you stayed patient, focused, and believed in yourself.
While these tricks can prepare you for success, however, is it even worth writing a book?
Is It Worth It To Write A Book?
While there may not be a simple answer to this question, the answer lies personal and unique to the writer. You need to evaluate whether you’re financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically capable enough to take the step?
Though this first step might be pretty daunting, you’ll never know how enriching and fantastic of an experience it would be without taking the first step. Next, we shall share the reasons you should think about publishing a book.
Why Writing A Book Is Worthy?
Everyone has a story to share, if not more, at least one. Hence, each one of us is a writer. Your story is essential and must be told. To be a writer, you must write, and to be an author; you must publish your writings; it’s as simple as that.
Writing is a reflective yet thoughtful activity; it lets you see within yourself. Writing lets you explore your values and willpower. Writing a book can be a powerful yet thought-provoking process to help connect you with your inner thoughts, motivations, and values.
Writing is a form of free therapy that lets you pour out your heart in the form of words. You can write a memoir to inspire people and make the world familiar with your existence. It’s good to explore your true self, and by writing a book, you can even make it a source of income.
Book writing can bring a healthy change. The ideas stored in your head aren’t going to help you earn. However, once you write them in the form of a book and publish them, it can help you generate earnings.
Nobody is to live indefinitely; we’re all here for a few decades. And how we spend it is entirely up to us. If you’ve ever felt compelled to write a book, do it now. It’s your chance to share your story, your words, your thoughts, and your passion with the world.
Just one percent of the entire world publishes a book; that’s a large number of people missing out on this opportunity. Regardless of the genre or type of your book, the fact that you write weighs heavy on your CV, website or LinkedIn. A published book will add weight to your professional authority.
Regardless of the type of writing and kind of genre you’re writing. The initial step to write is research. This research will open a new door of concepts, ideas and knowledge for you. You’ll be fascinated with how much you can learn through writing.
So, instead of coming up with excuses, start writing. Why? Because you can and you will!
This article walks you through how much money you can make writing a book, whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced professional. Whether you’re self-publishing or going old-school with the traditional method, or writing an eBook. We’ve covered it all.
We all aspire to be millionaires, and we discussed how you could become a millionaire just by writing books. Alongside is the whole book writing process worthy enough against the earnings.
While some authors may be struggling to meet ends, we have also witnessed authors cashing in millions off books. It ultimately boils down to how hard and intelligently you work while being patient.