Did the average eBook really earn just $297 in 2012?

income-graphicAs a small publisher this is obviously an important question: both for us, and for our authors. The question being, of course, how well is an author doing compared to their peers.

Unfortunately this information is difficult to obtain, as from the publisher’s perspective it is often commercial in confidence. Alternatively the information may rely on a small, non-representative sample of self-disclosing authors. What information is around seems to indicate, however, that the goal of earning enough to get a cookie and a mug of chocolate each week on the royalties from eBook sales is probably going to be well beyond the experience of the average author.

Back in May 2012 The Guardian ran an article with the headline ‘Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500’. The article was based on a survey of 1,007 self-published writers that was originally published by the website Taleist.  Unfortunately I was unable to view the results from the original survey from the Taleist site due to its age, so this information is gleaned from the Guardian article.

What the survey shows is that  the average amount earned by self-published authors in 2011 was just $10,000, with half of those responding making less than $500. While self-published superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James raked in enormous sums of money (Hocking attained sales of $2.5 million), the overall figure  is significantly skewed by the top earners, with less than 10% of self-published authors earning about 75% of the reported revenue, and half of writers earning less than $500.

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Creating a killer book title

I’ve been following Valerie Peterson who blogs on publishing on about.com for over five years now and thought her recent article on creating a killer book title was worth alerting people to. The article covers:

  • What makes a great book title
  • Using a step-by-step approach to creating a book title
  • Making a ‘good’ title ‘great’; and
  • Creating strong, clear subtitles

Creating a good title for your book is even more important than that very first sentence (a topic to be covered in a future blog). A good title helps ensure it will stick in the minds of prospective readers. A good book title, like an effective and appealing cover, is a vital marketing tool for the book (for example consider Fifty Shades of Chicken which has a killer title and a picture of a trussed roast chicken on the cover). Read about what makes a selling book title.
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