How do book authors make money?

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Or perhaps you’ve already taken the step of putting your story down on paper, and are now looking into publishing it. The good news for writers today is they have more options available to them for publishing books. Rather than waiting until they catch the eye of a traditional publishing house, they can choose to self-publish or even use a hybrid approach of both. 

Book authors make money in different ways when it comes to publishing books. The amount depends on many factors starting with the method through which they get their work in front of readers. If they go the traditional publishing house route, they will generally get paid an advance prior to going to print. Other opportunities to earn income occur after releasing the book, including royalties, subrights, direct distribution, ebook distribution, and more. 

Agents and advances

The process becomes quite nuanced when you consider the additional lucrative opportunities to earn, like foreign rights, translations and film rights. The complexity of the process is a compelling reason to employ the services of book author agents. They know the ins and outs of the entire industry and can ensure when negotiating a book deal, that the author receives the most compensation and retains important rights. Compensation varies quite a bit between methods of publishing: traditional, self, and hybrid.

Traditional publishers generally pay an author advance, but the author doesn’t receive it all up front. The following is an example of how they may opt to split the typical advance of $50,000:

* $25,000 upon signing the contract

* $15.000 upon delivery and acceptance of the manuscript

* $10,000 on hardcover publication 

* $10,000 on paperback publication

After the book has been released, traditional publishers pay author royalties: a negotiated percentage of each book that sells. It’s important to note that the author doesn’t start earning royalties until they break even with the advance amount.

Self-published authors go directly to platforms that will publish their book, such as Amazon, Barnes and Nobles Press, etc. The author is paid a percentage for each book the platform sells. 

Royalties and rights

The book publishing industry has evolved with the advent of self-publishing. Authors now have more ways to get their book published, and more control over the process should they desire it. 

Most writers are avid readers as well, and they’re often interested in writing within the same genre they like to read. If you love a good thriller, check out books by Jane Rosenthal.

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