It's no secret that many authors dream of making a full-time living from their writing. But, can authors become millionaires? And if so, would you go about it? In this blog post, we will explore the world of author income and find out just how much money authors can make.
We will also discuss the different ways to make a living as an author and provide tips for aspiring writers who want to achieve financial success. So, if you're curious about making a fortune as an author, read on!
Yes! Authors can be millionaires.
What do you imagine a successful author’s life to be? Perfect, right? Sit down for a few months or years, write a book or multiple, sell thousands of copies and then retire to a beautiful tropical island, sip some martini as you enjoy your book royalties. This could be your reality. The road might not be clear-cut and straightforward, but it is achievable.
Author millionaires like JK Rowling, Danielle Steele, and Stephen King are excellent examples of the endless possibilities in the world of writing. While it's not easy to become a bestselling author overnight or sell as many books like John Grisham, you can still make a decent living by creating a great relationship with your target market even if you don’t sell millions of copies.
JK Rowling, for example, has made more money from film adaptations, Harry Potter merchandise sales, and website visits than book sales. She has an excellent relationship with her fans, who've grown to love her stories over the years. JK Rowling is a prime example of how small authors like you and I can become successful author millionaires.
If you create an extraordinary relationship with your audience, they will grow to trust and like you. This way, your book becomes your ambassador. Soon enough, your books will open new doors and opportunities you never knew were possible.
Where Do Authors Make the Most Money from Their Writing
Most authors earn money from their writing through royalties. Once the book is on the shelf, you will get a percentage of the profits. Your earnings will be determined by your agreement with the publisher and how the book was published. Assuming you used a publishing company, a percentage of the royalties will go to the company and your agent. Self-published authors must also pay the publishing company, which is usually Amazon.
You are more likely to earn more from the sale of your book when you go the self-publishing route.
Create different book formats if you want to make more sales. You will reach a larger audience and make your book contents more valuable if your audience can get it in audio, hardback, paperback, and digital forms.
Promising authors or those with a track record of best-selling books often get an advance from publishing companies. Most advances lie in the $5,000-20,000 range. Why is it called an advance anyway? You have to pay it back once the sales start streaming in.
You can't earn an advance if you don't have a publishing contract. It's infrequent for debut authors to receive an advance. If you get a book deal as a promising, first-time author, the advance falls in the $5,000 - $15,000 bracket. The book will be released following this, but you'll have to pay back the advance before earning from book sales.
How Much Can an Author Realistically Earn in A Year?
Every author’s path is unique, and so are the earnings. Digital Book World and Writers Digest conducted a study on authors to determine how much they make. The study reports that self-published authors can make $5,000 from their writing. Authors who went through traditional publishers have an average income of $5,000 - $9,999. Those who did both; used publishers and self-published, also known as hybrid authors, made an average of $15,000 - $19,999.
Many factors will affect your earning potential as an author. First, what type of writing are you pursuing? Which publishing method will you settle for? You can take advantage of a publishing company’s editors and PR team to sell more books or receive more royalties from direct publishing.
Next, which genre are you going for? Studies show that you are more likely to earn more from romance novels, murder mysteries, and fantasy novels.
While hardcopies are higher priced, bringing in more revenue for you as an author, you'll spend more on printing the hardcovers.
The volume of work published affects your income directly. You earn more royalties by publishing multiple books compared to a single book.
How Can You Make a Living as An Author?
The sales capacity of a book is quite limited. Book sales are good, but it's a one-time transaction. For this reason, an intelligent author must look for other income opportunities besides selling their books. The most effective strategy would be to sell your thoughts, ideas, and book content.
This is what I mean when I say the contents of your book:
- Create a course and teach people
- Speaking opportunities
- Product sales
- Consulting services
- Travel tours
- Special events
Dave Ramsey is an excellent example of how an author can take advantage of their book contents to make extra money. Dave is famously known as an expert in the field of creating lasting wealth, paying off debt, and how to generate income. When his first book, The Total Money Makeover, became a bestseller, he took advantage of the success to create digital courses, workshops, live events, and podcasts.
Today, he is worth approximately $200 million, most of which doesn't come from direct book sales but through the content in his books. His radio shows, podcasts, and online courses have earned him good money, all while helping to market his books.
Tips for aspiring writers who want to achieve financial success
Achieving financial success as a writer is not a dream that only a few can achieve. You can also accomplish this. Start by focusing on your passion. The effort is the most important thing.
- Never give up. Let no one discourage you, even yourself. Just keep writing. If you can, make writing a daily habit.
- Learn everything you need to know about writing. Read widely and learn about how to be an excellent author. Read books, blogs, and articles. Be relentless and learn how to edit and write your work. Study all the tips and tricks that worked for other people.
- Forget the stats. It doesn’t matter what people say, how many people have seen or haven’t seen your work, or the money you haven't made. Sharpen the craft first, then the rest will follow.
- Start now with what you have and where you are. Take your first step; otherwise, you will never know. You might slip, wobble, fall or take a minute to get back on your feet, don't stop.
Take the first step and make sure you have a good balance before worrying about the second step.
Can I Become a Millionaire Self-Published Author?
The same study done by Digital Book World and Writers Digest reports that 8.8% of authors who used traditional publishers made $100,000 last year. On the contrary, 1.85% of self-published authors made the same, while 13.2% of authors who self-published and used traditional publishers made $100,000.
Going by these numbers, the answer is pretty obvious. Authors can become millionaires, self-published authors included. But, who is the richest author in the world?