A new Author Earnings Report was just published by Hugh Howey and the Data Guy, and Kristine Katherine Rusch has a very nice analysis of it.
The most striking conclusion I drew from their report that the ability to earn a living writing has dramatically changed over the past few decades. As you can see from the graphic, for any authors entering the market since about 10 years ago, the ability to earn a $100k a year living improves dramatically if you self-publish.
Here are some highlights of Kris’ analysis:
- Indie authors earn more dollars per book sold
- Indie authors sell more books because they control pricing (and can price to the market, run sales and promotions when they want to, etc.)
- Indie authors can publish more books (no non-complete clauses to prevent them from crossing genres, their books get out faster than traditional publishers allow, they can write shorter books than traditional publishers allow)
- Indies get started sooner (no waiting to (maybe) find an agent, and then for the agent to (maybe) find a publisher)
- Indie authors can keep their backlists alive (ongoing, never-ending revenue stream vs 6-8 weeks with traditional publishers)
Note: the Author Earnings Reports, like any statistical analyses, have limitations, and Kris describes them in her post quite well. That said, I think the conclusions drawn above are almost certainly true.
You can find the details on Kris’ Business Musings blog.
Click here for the Author Earnings Report she refers to.