How Much Do Authors Make Per Book 2023?

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Last Updated on January 14, 2023

How Much Do Authors Make Per Book

Have you wondered how much an author makes per book? Like most things in life, writing needs much physical and mental energy. Nevertheless, an author who can perfect the art of consistently mesmerizing their readers can get all the money they want.

How Do Authors Get Paid? 

When an author accepts a publishing contract, they or their agency negotiates an upfront payment in exchange for royalties that will be paid.

Press releases or mentions could say a book “has been sold for” a certain amount of money. This amount is referred to as the advance, not a fixed final price.

The publisher accepts the manuscript when the contract is signed. And then, the book is published, and the author receives an advance payment. Depending on the publication, the fee may be broken down even more.

Authors get paid a percentage of each book sold, known as “royalties.” These royalties go to the author once the work has been published.

Due to the advance against royalties, they essentially earn money already paid. They don’t get paid again until their revenues exceed their advance.

Once a book has reached the number of royalties the author promised, it can start earning royalties again. This process is known as “earning out.” Unless the publisher has broken or terminated the contract, the author need not return the overage if the book never repays the advance.

Some authors may receive no advance, while others will receive a flat sum instead of royalties for their work on established intellectual properties.

Some traditional authors will never see a penny more than the advance they received.

And others may make money off their books until the day they die. Some authors lose money because of the time and money put into advertising, marketing, and other costs.

How Much Do Authors Make Per Book?

On print books, a conventionally published author receives 5–20% royalties, 25% on ebooks, and 10–25% on audiobooks. However, these rates are subject to change after the global pandemic.

Amazon pays self-published writers 70% on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99, 35% on ebooks priced outside of that range, 60% less printing expenses on paperbacks sold on their platform, and 40% less printing costs on paperbacks sold through wider distribution.

Authors who choose to self-publish on amazon or elsewhere are responsible for all the costs associated with producing and distributing the book and a wide range of marketing. In contrast, traditional publishers oversee and pay for the entire process.

Traditionally Published Authors

The publisher pays an advance fee to traditionally published authors before the book is published. An advance forecast of how well the book will sell in the first 6 to 12 months after its release.

A hefty advance fee also signals that the publisher would sell the book aggressively to repay their investment.

Publishers typically pay a $5,000 to $10,000 advance to good first-time authors. This means they would need to sell around 1,000 copies of a book that costs $20 per copy to break even after printing and distribution costs.

Following that, the author will receive royalties, typically about 10%. The percentage could climb to 15% with the number of copies sold.

However, books written by well-known authors or public figures, such as politicians, frequently command greater advances. This is because an audience is already interested in the book, allowing publishers to be more confident that the book will sell many copies.

For example, in 2014, Simon & Schuster reportedly paid Hillary Clinton a $14 million advance for her book Hard Choices. The book recounted her time as Secretary of State, including the overthrow and killing of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

Self-Published Authors

Unlike self-published authors, traditionally published authors do not have to worry about the time and money it takes to develop a marketing strategy for their work. However, self-published authors benefit from higher royalties, if not complete recognition.

Self-published authors who have invested in editing and cover design but lack a traditional publisher cannot charge as much as a published author.

Self-published authors can charge anywhere from $5 to $20 for their book instead of the $10 to $30 that traditionally published counterparts charge.

A self-published author’s sales will also be much lower than their peer’s, especially if they are just getting started in the traditional publishing business.

They lack a name and a publisher that can get their book into bookshops and libraries worldwide. In addition, they lack the resources to promote their book effectively.

This is why most self-published novels sell just 100 print copies throughout their lifespan. Ebooks, on the other hand, can bring in more sales.

Publishing With Hybrid Publishers

But what if you don’t want to go the traditional route but don’t have the time to self-publish a book? This is where hybrid book publishers, such as Leaders Press, come in.

Hybrid book publishers take many of the best aspects of traditional publishing and offer you a “done for you” self-publishing service.

Writing a book is a big task.  Authors are often very busy and keep tight schedules. So, writing can seem like a great idea today, but it’s something that’ll get done tomorrow.

If this sounds like you, the hybrid publishing model might make better sense as you’ll get most of the benefits of traditional publishing while still retaining control over your work.

Furthermore, the hybrid publisher can assist with ghostwriting, editing, and marketing. The main benefit of this is that by the time your book launches, it already has an audience.

How Much Do Authors Make Per Year?

There are a ton of factors that play a role in how much authors make in a year, including books sold, royalty rate, and book printing costs.

While most people think traditionally published authors make more than self-published authors because of the fame of authors like Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, that’s not actually true.

How much an author makes per year depends on:

  • Royalty rate earned per book sale
  • Up-front advance offered (traditionally published only)
  • Scope of book marketing
  • Size of audience
  • How many books are published per year
  • How many books are currently out
  • How many books are actually sold consistently

Earnings will vary depending on the method you use to publish. The following example compares the average salary of a traditionally published author to self-published author:

Traditional Earnings

  • Book retail price: $14.99.
  • Initial Royalty Rate: 10%.
  • The income each book: is $1.49.
  • Books Sold: 5000.
  • Earnings: $7,450.

Self-Published Earnings

  • Book retail price: $14.99
  • Initial Royalty Rate: 60%
  • The income each book: $8.99
  • Printing costs (Assuming 333 pages): $4.85
  • Books Sold: 5000.
  • Earnings: $20,720.

At the same sales volume, the differential between traditionally published and self-published writers is more than $13,000, as the above example shows.

Because of wildly successful authors like J.K. Rowling, many believe professionally published authors make more money than self-published authors. This isn’t always the case. An author’s annual salary is determined by a variety of factors, including:

  • The rate at which a publisher earns a royalty on each book dealt
  • An upfront payment made in advance (traditionally published only)
  • The scope of book marketing
  • Size of the audience
  • The average number of books released each year
  • How many books are currently on the market
  • How many books are sold regularly

Our real-world example shows self-published authors have an advantage over traditionally published authors regarding the averages.

How to Boost Your Author Income

If you want to make a living as a writer, you can do a few things to boost your earning potential. You have complete control throughout your writing career if you are a self-published author. Take a look at these ideas to boost your profits:

Commit to the Decision to Become an Author

You have to work, whether you’re in the mood or not, just like any other job. Committing is one of the best pieces of advice we can give you. If you’re only sort of interested in writing or only work on it when the mood strikes, you can’t expect to make a full-time living from it.

What exactly does it mean to “commit to being an author”?

  • Decide that this is the path for you.
  • Invest and budget where it is necessary.
  • Make a schedule for when you’d like to be “full-time.”
  • Set writing goals and work backward to meet that deadline.
  • Learn how to become a full-time author as a self-published author.
  • Say no to things that get in your way and make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish what you love to do for a living.

Write Every Day and Publish Frequently

The goal is to find your writing motivation and make writing a way of life. Instead of devoting an entire month to it, start with writing 1000 words a day. Then, devote your entire life to developing daily writing habits. Indeed, you must make writing a habit, a part of your life, and a job if you want to make money as an author. So, to constantly continue working on a storyline, we propose developing writing habits you can stick to.

Write and Publish a Book Series

Writing and releasing a book series is a quick way to “make it” as an author, especially if you publish a series of books. You make more cash when you write and publish a series because a single buyer is more likely to purchase many volumes.

Series build a loyal following, keeping you “employed” as a full-time author. If your first self published book is good, they’ll buy the second, then the third, and so on.

That means that a single person can earn you more cash.

Not only may readers buy more books, but if a customer buys all of your books in a series, they’re more likely to give reviews and buy other books you’ve written that aren’t in the same series.

Make an Email List

It’s critical to have a single means to communicate with those who have said “yes!” to receive information from you. It is similar to having a mailing list.

Because you own your list, we always advise authors to develop an email list. You do not own your followers on social media networks; the traditional publishing company does.

So, if something happened to a social network and you lost all your followers, you’d have no way of connecting with them.

Email lists are also a terrific way to find beta readers, launch team members, and get people enthusiastic about your book when it comes out.

Write to Market

Did you know that traditional publishing industry houses have staff members that come up with book titles that are “trending” or popular in the market? Then they hire writers to bring those ideas to life.

They do this to take advantage of the current literary “hotness” and make as much money as possible.

As a self-published author, you have the option to do this yourself with a write to market. If you enjoy writing, generate narrative ideas rapidly, write well, and publish quickly, becoming a published author is a viable (and wise) professional option through a write to market.

Self-published authors can write to market by looking at the categories they enjoy writing in and seeing what kinds of stories perform well.

Promotion

If you want to increase your income potential as a writer, there is no room for fake modesty. Learn how to host book signings, guest appearances on podcasts and radio shows, live social media feeds, and innovative advertising to promote your books.

Increase Sales with Your Self-Published Book’s Content

Savvy authors look for ways to supplement their income beyond book sales. The main reason is that a book’s sales capacity is restricted. The transaction is complete when a book sells.

If you sell items based on the book’s content, you have an almost limitless amount of methods to make funds.

What are some examples of ways to make money from your book’s content?

  • Sales of products
  • Public speaking engagements
  • Consulting
  • Teaching
  • Pre-sales
  • Crowdfunding
  • Travel excursions and special events

All of these things are done by several well-known authors. Take Dave Ramsey, for example.

He generated many money sources from his first book, The Total Money Makeover. Podcasts, live events, workshops, and online courses are all examples.

With a net worth of $200 million, it’s clear that he’s done a fantastic job promoting his books.

He earns most of his money from his content, though, rather than from book sales.

His online classes and advertising revenue from his radio show and podcasts provide him with a steady income.

Make a Video Trailer

A book is nothing more than a mental projection of a movie. Make a brief video trailer to spark people’s interest in your book.

Do a Virtual Book Tour

A virtual book tour is a great way to promote your book. You want to be wherever people have a good time and talk about your book. Create a list of podcasts, tweet chats, and Facebook live sessions, and send copies of your book to book reviewers and book review sites like Goodreads.

The average duration of this virtual tour should be 4-6 weeks.

Create a Website

For less than $100, you can create a decent book or author website. Invest in sound design, a good book image, and professional head pictures.

Create a set of downloadable materials and tools for your audience, Like a table of contents or a chapter or two to read for free. Your audience, fans, and future readers will appreciate it if you create a place for them to interact with your content.

These are just a few examples of how authors can earn more money with less effort and understand how to utilize their content. You don’t have to sit around and wait for your book to make money if you’re an author.

You can make money by repurposing the material of your book. Your imagination and time are the only constraints.

Conclusion

To be financially self-sufficient as an author, you need to have many published works, be adept at marketing them, and have a large and dedicated fan base. So, if you’ve always wanted to earn a salary by writing books, know that you can do so. We hope the above guide on how much authors make per book has helped you understand how the industry works.


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