How much money do authors really make?
If you are thinking about a career in writing or writing as a side hobby, you may be curious about how much money writing a book actually makes. Many people are making incomes with published work, especially now with online avenues for publishing becoming abundant and diverse.
ANNUAL INCOME FOR PUBLISHED AUTHORS
The amount of money a debut author makes can vary widely. It typically depends on a number of factors, chief of which, is the book being self-published or via a traditional publishing house.
Self-Published Authors: Traditionally Published Authors
40-60% royalties per book 10-12% royalties per book
no advance but profit on first sale upfront advance, no royalty until paid back
The typical advance for new authors is around $10,000. However, this value can vary depending on the type of book pitched and who the author is. According to literary agents, the typical first time advance can range from anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000 per book. Most publishers offer the advance that your book is expected to earn back in the first 6-12 months after publication. However, many books don't earn out during that time. If the author has an agent, the commission for the agent shaves off typically 15% from the top.
On average, traditional publishers pay around $1.25 per book in royalties. So if a book sells for $20, the return is a little bit above a dollar. However, in self-publishing a $20 book might return around $4.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors have a median pay of $63,200 per year or $30.39 per hour. The number of reported writers and authors is approx 120,000.