Adventures in self-publishing – some reports to watch

Thanks to a share on Facebook, I’ve discovered Author Earnings, the website of a group of people who are collecting data about book sales.

They have a range of reports that crunch data from authors and publicly available information to compare earnings across different publication methods. If you’re trying to make a decision about how to publish (and where, and in what format), these reports are a must read.

The tenured vs debut author report reveals startling information that most people just entering the market will want to know. Here’s their summary:

  • Big-5 publishers are massively reliant on their most established authors to the tune of 63% of their e-book revenue.
  • Roughly 46% of traditional publishing’s fiction dollars are coming from e-books.
  • Very few authors who debut with major publishers make enough money to earn a living—and modern advances don’t cover the difference.
  • In absolute numbers, more self-published authors are earning a living wage today than Big-5 authors.
  • When comparing debut authors who have equal time on the market, the difference between self-published and Big-5 authors is even greater.

And one chart (the report has lots more).

top-3000-authors-log

In the Print vs Digital report, they show that actual unit sales of the top 100 selling books are 61% digital, 39% print.

The October report looks at the impact of Kindle Unlimited on author earnings in each of the publication categories.

The July report has a graph showing that independently published books without DRM sold twice as many copies as those with DRM.

drm-author-earnings-by-price

Many of the reports focus on Amazon sales, but the site also has two reports on Barnes & Noble sales.

All in all, a great resource.

By the way, the Kindle e-store currently has in the region of 3 million titles for sale, and around 75,000 available free.

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