How Much Do Authors Make Per ebook?

Do Authors Make This Much Money Per ebook?

This question can be tricky, since it’s really two separate questions: “How much money is an ebook worth?” and “How much money will an ebook make?”

If we ignore the value of the book, and we focus solely on the author’s share of the sale, then there are a variety of different answers. If we look at historical data then we can see that authors who go for the traditional publishing method, make roughly between 5% to 30% on royalty on the price of a hardback book. Most authors end up making between 20% to 25% in royalties.

If we look at ebooks then the percentage of royalty is around 25% but it can vary a lot depending on the genre and quality of content. The range of royalty on audiobooks is between 10% to 25%.

Amazon KDP has turned out to be a game changer in this aspect because it pays royalties in the following manner.

No. Book TypeRoyalty
-35% royalty less VAT. For conditions click here
-70% royalty less VAT less delivery costs. For conditions click here
2Paperback-60% royalty less printing costs
-(list price x royalty %) – printing cost
-List price may include VAT in certain regions.  
3Hardback-60% royalty less printing costs
-(list price x royalty %) – printing cost
-List price may include VAT in certain regions.  

Now we have discussed in earlier articles that there are two main ways to publish a book. You can either go for traditional publishing by looking for a publishing house that will agree to publish your book or you can self publish your book.

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How Much Do Authors Make Per ebook?

If you sign up with a publisher, then the publisher will take care of the printing, storage and all other related costs leaving you i-e the author free of all worries.Publishers can also provide editorial services for self-published authors. This typically involves copy-editing and other editing services, cover design, marketing and promotional services, and sometimes even marketing/promotion for authors who self-publish through Amazon.

Whereas if you go for the self publishing path then you will have further two options to choose from.

How Much Do Authors Make Per ebook?

You can either publish your book completely on your own. If you go for this option, you will have to bear the cost of editing, designing, printing, storage and delivery on your own. While this may sound as a down side of self publishing and it is a clear drawback but on the bright side you get to keep all of the revenue instead of taking a percentage of the royalty.

However with self publishing you also have the option of opting for services like KDP where Amazon takes the responsibility of printing, storing and delivering your books. This is very much like traditional publishing but with less strings attached.

Self-publishing is a great way to distribute your own material to the world, but it’s not without its problems. It’s not nearly as lucrative as traditional publishing, and it doesn’t allow you to take advantage of the marketing and distribution power of the large houses.

The most important problem with self-publishing is one of perception.

If you’re a self-published author, you’re typically perceived to be publishing in a “DIY” manner, when in fact there are hundreds of authors that have been published by the large houses that are “DIY” in many ways.

Why Is Self-Publishing Perceived To Be A DIY Process?

The perception problem stems from the fact that traditionally-published authors can hire the services of an editor, a cover designer, a copy-editor, etc., while self-published authors usually try to do it all by themselves.

That perception is not completely accurate. The reality is that you can hire editors to do a lot of the work for you. Even traditionally published authors use editors to fix grammar, re-word sentences, polish up an awkward passage, and other things that can make the reader experience the book better.

As for cover design and other services, there are plenty of services that specialize in doing exactly that. Many publishers even work with authors to design covers.

The main thing that needs to be understood is that self-published authors don’t need to be DIY, but the perception that they are is unfortunate and often times misleading.

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How Much Can You Make From Your ebook?

The answer to this question is unfortunately not very simple. Every author and every book is different, every book sells differently which is why it is not possible to give an exact figure of how well you can do. It depends on your content and marketing strategy.

If your book really does well, you can earn thousands in royalty from your book and if your book does not do well, you can get as low as a few hundred bucks in royalty. You also need to choose the genre very carefully if your aim is to get a stable income stream. Records show that the romance genre has the biggest consumer market when it comes to self published ebooks, followed by the mystery/thriller genre.

Once your book is ready to be published you should think about the marketing and promotion strategy. Authors who go the traditional way do not have to worry about this but self published authors have to. At this point it is all about your budget, if you have a big budget then you can go for a full blown promotional campaign where you can hire influencers to post content about your book to promote it, you can do online interviews and other promotional campaigns.

How Much Do Authors Make Per ebook?

If however you are a young author and don`t have a big budget, you can go for a soft launch which basically means that you launch your book without spending much on marketing. You can reach out to your friends and family circle and have them buy the first few copies for free. Amazon KDP allows 5 free promotional days in every 90 days of promotion. What this does is that as your friends and family members download the book for free, it will increase the ranking of your book which will lead to better visibility and increased organic sales.

If you manage your marketing and promotion well, you can increase the sale of your ebook. The final revenue however depends entirely on how well the book does and as we said earlier there is no one size fits all answer to this. It depends a lot on the genre and the content of your book. If you write on a topic which already has a lot of books on it, then you will have more competition and it will be difficult to make any revenue unless your marketing is very strong. The likelihood of making more revenue increases if you choose a niche or topic that very few people are talking about. This is why romance and thriller genres have a lot of ebooks as these deal with stories that are different and unique. So it all comes down to your writing skills in the end.

Our advice is that if you are looking to become a full time author then it would be wise to test the waters first. Write a few ebooks to test how good you are and what your market is and how much you can actually make. There are also a lot of other factors involved with ebooks that we have lined up for future posts.

Main Image Source: Pixabay

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Dave P
Dave P
Be a little better today than yesterday.


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