For Indie Authors, Where’s the Money?

21 Mar


Conventional wisdom says authors are a pretty secretive lot when it comes to income earned from writing, especially if the author in question is an indie.

Why is this so?

I think it’s because most authors make much less than readers, friends, family and admirers might suppose.

I’m on a couple LinkIn forums with thousands of writers. I’m betting, though, if I put out a poll on what people make I’ll get few to no responses.

What do you think?

Let’s try it anyway.

I’ll also try a close-knit Facebook group in indies and let you know.

So, whenever someone steps up and actually starts revealing numbers, I perk up and pay attention. Today I ran across Patrick Wensink‘s recent blog “My Amazon Bestseller Made Me Nothing”, and I was intrigued. One of his indie books “Broken Piano for President” spent a week on bestseller lists. Wensink writes:

“…the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition. The New Yorker wrote one whole, entire, punctuated-and-everything sentence about me! My book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while, right behind all the different ’50 Shades of Grey’ and ‘Gone Girl.’ It was selling more copies than ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Bossypants.'”

The kicker from this bestselling author whose indie book ran with the big dogs? He made all of $12,000. Now in my world that’s nothing to sneeze at: it’s also not enough to quit your day job.

The US Bureau of Labor & Statistics website put me on the trail of several good reads on this topic. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes/links.

“According to the bureau, as of 2005, 185,276 out of 216.3 million American adults claimed those titles.  That makes us less than one out of a million.  I can’t believe that.  I, personally, believe I know more than 185,276 writers.  Look at my Facebook page.” The Book Haven

“As with much else, literary talent often remains undeveloped unless markets reward it.” NYT piece by Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro

“I get asked this question a lot. Actually, I get asked ‘So, have you made your first million yet?’ a lot (the answer to that is no, not even close!).” –Kimberly Pauley’s Page

“A few years ago I made a promise to my writer friends that if I ever had a novel hit the top twenty of the New York Times mass market bestseller list that I would share all the information I was given about the book so writers could really see what it takes to get there. Today I’m going to keep that promise and give you the stats on my sixth Darkyn novel, Twilight Fall.” –Lynn Viehl on GenReality

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Indie Business


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