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Old 01-07-2010, 11:29 AM   #1
BearMountainBooks
Maria Schneider
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How Much Does that Author Make Anyway?

A few authors are blogging about how much a book can make, how sales go over Christmas, royalties and the ever-changing world of publishing payments. I've linked to these other blogs via my own blog:

http://www.bearmountainbooks.com/hom...a-new-and-old/

http://www.bearmountainbooks.com/hom...data-on-sales/

Some of the links lead to other links because many of the authors are linking to authors who also list sales data. There is sometimes info in the comments trail as well (the smashwords link has some.)

Do note the dates on the blog posts--some of these links are to brand new data, but some are to links that are a few years old. All good info!

Many of the links came via Jim Hines (Author of the Goblin Series) blog. He is great about sharing information with the writing community.

Maria
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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Thanks for this.

Interesting how more and more authors are willing to share this kind of information now. Ten years ago this would have been publishing suicide.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:34 PM   #3
BearMountainBooks
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I think part of that is that authors are more aware that sharing information makes it better for everyone--it's how we learn! It also makes us better negotiators. The internet helps a lot too. Authors have probably always shared some data within author circles--but that wasn't likely to trickle very far from the source. I find the information *quite* useful!!!
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
I think part of that is that authors are more aware that sharing information makes it better for everyone--it's how we learn! It also makes us better negotiators. The internet helps a lot too. Authors have probably always shared some data within author circles--but that wasn't likely to trickle very far from the source. I find the information *quite* useful!!!
There's an excellent article somewhere showing how the money is divided up on each book sale, it even has pie charts . I can't find it for the life of me, but it's very interesting for authors and readers too. I'll do some digging.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:59 PM   #5
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When you buy a 'set your own price' book on Smashwords, it shows a piechart on where the money goes... It encourages people to pay more, I think, as I did once
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:59 PM   #6
J. Dean
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It's encouraging to see indie authors sell well. Motivates me to keep plugging away.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:25 PM   #7
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Most authors do not make enough not to have a day job, even some who opt not have one. The majority of them barely make enough to make their royalties a meaningful supplement to their regular income.

If you are writing for the money, you probably shouldn't be an author.

And as this thread will no doubt inevitably descend into an "evil publishers" love fest, it is worth noting that the majority of books do not even make back the publisher's initial investment, meaning that in those cases every cent the author made is a cent more than the publisher did.

- Ahi
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:34 PM   #8
BearMountainBooks
Maria Schneider
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There's another thread over on Kindleboards where authors talk about what they are making or in some cases just disclosing how many books they have sold in x time period. What I found most interesting is that there are a NUMBER of them making some pretty decent money. However--if the publishers ever get serious about putting ebooks out in a timely manner--I think it will eat into indie publishers. One of the reasons we're able to sell any copies at all is because we're competing against a smaller number of books (under 400k as opposed to millions.)

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.ph...c,18037.0.html

Us Indie authors also price our books lower than regular publishers--that also entices a whole set of frugal readers that might not otherwise bother. There's been a few threads on Amazon that show a few Indie authors are getting braver about pricing--they are actually raising the price of books that are selling well. That's quite a feat.

I'm not claiming these authors are making a living--but I am surprised that many of them/us are doing well. The old formula that a self-published author AVERAGES 75 sales over the entire life of a book has changed -- almost all due to ebooks (some is due to cheaper/faster POD.) I'm starting to see Indie authors compete with small publishers, selling 2000 copies within a one to two year period. To even be able to attain the same level as a small house is a change in the way things worked.

That is not to say that this change will be entirely permanent. Again, as more publishers catch on, it's going to get harder to stand out in the crowd.

Thanks for all the comments on the topic!

Maria
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:53 PM   #9
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You know - - it's funny that you bring that last statement up. I was just looking on Ridan Publishing's webpage the other night. Apparently they had a book sell 1,000 copies last month. Now THAT's a marketing machine and speaks to the character and quality of their work as an indie.

FWIW: The Crown Conspiracy is published by them and has been mentioned in the same breath as works by Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss (as being comparable in quality!)
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
However--if the publishers ever get serious about putting ebooks out in a timely manner--I think it will eat into indie publishers.
...
That is not to say that this change will be entirely permanent. Again, as more publishers catch on, it's going to get harder to stand out in the crowd.
Bigger publishers are looking to create a bigger release disparity at the moment, pushing ebook releases to later so they (hopefully) can collect more on hardbacks.

I'm not sure if that's the type of publisher you're referring to above though.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:08 PM   #11
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You know - - it's funny that you bring that last statement up. I was just looking on Ridan Publishing's webpage the other night. Apparently they had a book sell 1,000 copies last month. Now THAT's a marketing machine and speaks to the character and quality of their work as an indie.

FWIW: The Crown Conspiracy is published by them and has been mentioned in the same breath as works by Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss (as being comparable in quality!)
I don't think we should be surprised any longer. I mean, the difference is negligible most of the time between what we get from the 'majors' and what we now receive from the 'indies'. Ridan is a good example, there is little (apart from a marketing budget) that separates their list from Tor's or any other publisher. That 1,000 will be 2,000 before long, and then 10,000 and more as ebooks become more accepted as a first choice rather than a poor choice (they've already jumped ahead since last year). The future is very bright for a lot of authors
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:21 PM   #12
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Marketing budgets are a beautiful thing.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:03 AM   #13
David Derrico
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It is good to see this kind of information out there. It helps authors to see what other authors are doing and to set our level of expectations. It helps readers to understand where the money is going and how much (or little) of it there is.

I've been impressed by the mutual support of the indie author community... people have shared information, marketing tips, sales figures, and kind words.

Good luck to all the other indie authors out there writing for the love of writing, but hoping they might make a couple of bucks for all their hard work as well. I'm rooting for you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:31 AM   #14
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Maria Schneider
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Quote:
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I don't think we should be surprised any longer. I mean, the difference is negligible most of the time between what we get from the 'majors' and what we now receive from the 'indies'. Ridan is a good example, there is little (apart from a marketing budget) that separates their list from Tor's or any other publisher. That 1,000 will be 2,000 before long, and then 10,000 and more as ebooks become more accepted as a first choice rather than a poor choice (they've already jumped ahead since last year). The future is very bright for a lot of authors

Well there's indie writers as in Individual--and small publishers. I think you're referring to small pub's which have always done fairly well. Although it doesn't take from your point that 1000 in a month is great sales. A small publisher posted over on the Kindleboards thread and mentioned that selling 2000 was considered a success (over the typical early life of a book.) I'm sure that number is different for each small publisher--but some of the other indie authors--self-published--were reporting numbers that high for sales over a year. Impressive how technology is helping small publishers and indie authors reach an audience.

What it all means...who knows. As I said before, if the large publishers get on the program and start making their ebooks more available, the field will get quite crowded--especially when the backlist is available, those favorites that we never stop talking about (for me that's names like Elizabeth Peters, Jan Burke, Linda Fairstein, Carol O'Connell, Robert Crais, Lee Child...) And so on. Fantasy publishers, especially BAEN have been onboard for a while--lot easier to find their titles.
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