Self-publishing Income: How Much Can You Make? 

JD Caron
August 28, 2023

Dreaming of self-publishing income...

Have you ever found yourself lost in the maze of dreams about making a living from your self-published books and achieving a passive self-publishing income? Have you ever been curious about the heights your earnings as an indie author from self-publishing could potentially reach?

Before we dig in, let's dismiss a prevalent myth: not all authors are starving artists. I've had the privilege to work with a myriad of authors, some of whom are comfortably making over six figures a year, and a few even more than that.

The beautiful world of self-publishing serves as a canvas for you, the artist, to not only write and create but also control your earnings potential.

The reality behind self-publishing income

Let's look at how the publishing landscape operates. The business model of self-publishing, much like its traditional counterpart, can be compared to other industries like music or movies, where it's a "hit-driven" market.

This dynamic implies that a relatively small percentage of books generate the majority of sales and profits, while a larger pool of books may not perform as well. This concept is encapsulated in the Pareto principle, where 20% of the books result in 80% of the profit.

However, there is no hard and fast rule about how many books you as a self published writer need to achieve these 'hit' status. Success in self-publishing income entails an artful blend of quality content, strategic marketing, and an unrelenting spirit of perseverance.

Quantity of books needed

An interesting stat to note is a poll conducted by Written Word Media. They discovered that to rake in $5000 a month in income, the independent authors had an average of 28 books to their names. But remember, quantity alone isn't the key.

I've known authors who have managed to earn a full-time income from just 8 books, while others with 50 books barely make a dime.

Book Genre

The genre you write in also holds significant weight in your income potential. Some genres have a higher readership and hence sell better. A quick look at the top 100 books on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon KDP) will give you an idea of the prevailing trend. But that doesn't mean you forcefully try to squeeze yourself into a genre that sells but isn't your forte. Your readers are smart; they can sense the passion and authenticity in your work.

Case Study: Hugh Howey

Let's look at an example for a better understanding. Hugh Howey, a self-published author, was once a nobody in the literary world, a tiny fish in an ocean of words. But now? He's a self-publishing sensation, earning a generous income year after year.

How did he do it?

The secret ingredients were compelling stories, thought-provoking plots, and a consistent writing habit. His series 'Wool' has been an undeniable success, proving that perseverance pays off.

The secret to improving self-publishing income

As a self-publisher, you are embarking on a journey that's filled with unexpected twists and turns. It's not always about producing a vast quantity of work, but it's about maintaining quality and having a robust marketing strategy to back it up.

Keep writing, keep believing, and remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, but the destination is rewarding.

And here's another secret, as an author, you're not limited to income from your book sales alone. There are multiple avenues for you to explore, like audiobook versions, foreign rights, movie rights, and even merchandising.

And of course there is social media. Many independent authors use social media platforms to accumulate additional income by providing writing insights, affiliated marketing, etc.

Getting it right from the get-go…

I've curated a comprehensive pre-publishing and marketing checklist for Amazon self publishing, available for you to download right now. Trust me, it's a game changer, and it's absolutely free.

And if you're looking to truly maximize your book's potential, let's connect. I offer coaching sessions designed to elevate your success. Don't wait – let's start writing your success story today.

Thanks for being here. Remember to hit the notification bell, so you never miss out on tips, tricks, and advice to make your self-publishing journey a success.

Remember, the world of self-publishing income is waiting for you as an independent author who wish to remain free of the confines of traditional publishing, and I'm here to guide you every step of the way!

About the author 

JD Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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