I was looking for what authors might expect to earn and found the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest online survey that they did in October and November 2013. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading for a new writer setting out to make a living from their work.
It was run across a sample of some 9,000 authors in all genres and formats, so they admit it is not that credibly scientific but it certainly casts some light in an area where there is little illumination.
They decided to group the authors in to four categories:
- aspiring authors, who have yet to publish
- authors, who only publish their books with traditional publishers
- self-published authors, who have only self-published
- hybrid authors, who have both traditionally published and self-published their work
This research showed that income ranges were:
- self-published authors earned under $5,000 on average
- traditionally published authors between $5,000 and $10,000
- hybrid authors achieved an average income of $15,000 to $20,000.
Those who had earned over $100,00 in the previous year were shown as:
- 1.8% of self-publishing authors
- 9.0% of those traditionally published
- 13.0% of hybrid authors
They also found that some 20% of the self-published authors had earned nothing at all from their writing!
Dana Beth Weinberg PhD, professor of sociology at Queens College of NY City, was the lead researcher and she concluded, ‘Few authors are getting rich off of [sic] their writing or even earning enough from their writing to quit their day jobs.’