Making Money Off Your Writing

A writer is shocked with how much money they made from their book sales

How much should you expect to make from your book?

Honestly, that is an impossible question because nobody can predict the success a book will have.

There are indicators that can help, such as:

  • Do you already have a fan base?
  • How well written is the book?
  • Are you a marketing wiz?
  • Have you published before?

The truth is, unless you are already an established author, your book could flop or sell millions of copies, and nobody can tell you which one until it’s been on the market for a while.

How much money would you make?

Agent FEEs = 15%

But lets say for instance your book sells 20,000 copies throughout its lifetime.

Let’s do some math.

Traditional publishers will pay around $2,000 – $10,000 as a signing bonus for a manuscript and its rights. Once the book is released and sales are generated, authors will earn around 12% of the sales from royalties after the initial signing bonus is paid back.

In this case, say you got paid $5,000 up front for signing. Your books sells for $15 each and you sold 20,000.

$15 x 20,000 copies = $300,000.

You get 12% after the first $5,000 is paid back.

$300,000 x 0.12 = $36,000 – $5,000 =


But wait! We cant forget about our agent (15%)

$31,000 x (100% -15% = 85%)


If you become an established author selling around 20,000 copies a year, you might want to go the route of self publishing.

Authors that self publish make 40% – 75% on their royalties depending on the median they publish on.

Examples include Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and IBooks.

Let’s do some more math (I know sorry). This is what selling 20,000 copies looks like when self publishing.

20,000 copies at $15 = $300,000

With 40% royalties

$300,000 x 0.40 =


But wait! we cant forget about agent fees (15%)

$120,000 x (100%-15%=85%)


Compared to $26,350 from traditional publishing, $102,000 is a much better number.

Just remember, that while self publishing is more profitable, it is also much harder and work intensive when it comes to editing, marketing, advertising, promoting, and overall selling.

Book Advances



Tradition is based on the belief that writers need that sum of money to live off of while either waiting for their book to publish or while they work on their next book.

Nowadays however, that sum is only enough to keep someone afloat for a few months. It can take years for a book to finally get released into stores, so the advance is more of a signing bonus.


What are royalties? When someone buys your product (book, story, poem, etc) the publisher will pay you a percent of the money from that sale.

According to Self-PublishingSchool, typical royalties from a traditional book contract are around 10%-12%.

That means for every $10.00 of your product sold, you will earn between $1.00 and $1.20.

For self published authors, the royalties are much higher between 40% and 60%.

Why doesn’t everyone self publish?

Because traditional publishers have a much greater reach when it comes to advertising and promoting books. You may not get as high a royalty, but you will definitely get more sales.

What you write about and the number of people it will reach

Mainstream content anything that is more likely to be popular by appealing to a larger mass of people.

Niche genres or indie books are going to be much harder to sell. They appeal to a very specific group of people with more narrow interest.

Published by authoraidwriting

Helping Writers Write!

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