How Much Money Can You Make by Self Publishing a Book?
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Thanks to platforms like Amazon, self-publishing is easier than ever these days for authors who don’t want to traditionally publish. With greater ease of access and accessibility comes greater competition. So, how much money can you make by self-publishing a book? The number will vary and will depend on a number of factors explored below.
What is Self-Publishing?
Self-publishing means that the author publishes the book they write without the help of an established publisher (famous “Big Five” publishers include Penguin/Random House, Harper Collins and more). This term “self published books” typically refers to written media like books and magazines — whether they are physical books or electronic books (eBooks).
Benefits of Self-Publishing
There are a number of benefits associated with self-publishing, including:
- You take your fate into your own hands. You can move forward in the publishing process instead of waiting to see if a publisher or literary agent is interested in publishing your work.
- You have total creative control. Your work will be met by plenty of gatekeepers in the traditional publishing world with their own opinions on your content, cover and even your book’s title. When you self-publish, you decide everything and can hire whomever you choose to help you along the way.
- The potential to make more money due to higher royalty rates is another significant benefit. Traditional publishing deal royalty rates vary from 7% to 25%. For indie authors, that number rises to about 70%. That means you can potentially pocket much more of the income derived from your work.
Drawbacks of Self-Publishing
There are also a few drawbacks of going the self-published route, including:
- Higher upfront costs. Traditional publishers will pay for editing, design, printing and marketing costs for your book. When you self-publish, all upfront costs are your responsibility. In addition, publishing deals typically come with monetary advances while self-publishing doesn’t.
- Less visibility. You have to know how to reach your target readers and when you self-publish, you must forge your own path to find your readers. The resources and visibility that big publishing houses provide increase the likelihood of critical acclaim, literary prizes, and your book becoming a bestseller. We’re not saying it’s impossible with self-publishing; it will just be a bit more challenging — especially when you are just starting out.
How Much do Self-Published Authors Make?
The salary range for self-published ranges quite drastically, and mostly depends on the number of books sold. Self-published authors can make between 40 to 60 percent royalties on a single book sale. This is far more than traditionally published authors who make only 10-12 percent royalties. Additionally, although self-published authors are able to publish two to three high-quality books each year, it takes traditionally published authors two to three years to publish one book.
How much self-published authors make varies based on:
- Number of books published each year
- Number of books currently out
- Royalty rate per book sale
- Audience size
- Genre of the book
- Social following
There are some quick and easy tips and tricks authors can use to increase their self-published sales. That includes:
- Growing your social media presence —When you increase your presence on social media, you are opening up your network to thousands more readers. Use social media to tease your book, connect with readers, and build up anticipation for new releases.
- Hire a cover designer — Unfortunately, people really do judge a book by its cover. You need a standout cover that clearly conveys your book’s messaging in a way that makes people want to read it.
- Don’t limit yourself to one format — These days, readers use all kinds of devices to read. In order to meet your readers where they are, publish on all kinds of formats, including eBooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks.
For any other questions about how to get a book published, contact us today.
Written by Katarina Betterton
Katarina Betterton is an aspiring adult fiction author. She works for an editorial content agency and specializes in SEO outlining writing and editing. She's also a part of Scribbler's editorial team. When not reading or writing her hobbies include cooking learning new languages and crafting. Follow her writing journey at @iamgirlofwords on Instagram.