How Much Does An Author Make Per Book? A Must-Read

by CJ McDaniel // January 10  

How much can an author make per book? This question is popular among authors who are just starting.

Figuring out how much you can make as an author isn’t a bad idea. People in other professions ask such questions before they pursue a career in their chosen fields.

Sadly, most people believe that newbie author have to be popular to earn much. But that’s not always the case. Many newbie authors out there are making it big. You have to follow the right process to achieve great earning success.

Now let’s talk about how much authors make per book and ways to earn more.

What Authors Earn Per Book

How much you earn per book as an author depends on a range of factors. But the most crucial is the publishing path you choose. There are two major kinds of authors; self-published and traditional published authors.

Now let’s discuss what each earns per book.

Self-published authors include those that publish their books without established publishers. They also have creative control over their books.

How much can self-published authors earn per book? They earn 40 to 60 percent royalties per book. So, for a $13.99 retail priced book, self-published authors may earn $4.77 per book. Also, this amount is based on a $4.45 printing cost and 50% royalty.

Traditional published authors’ royalties are usually less than self-published authors’. They earn between 10 to 12 percent for each book sold.

So, for a retail priced book that cost $13.99, a traditionally published author may earn $0.95 per book. And this amount is based on a 10 percent royalty and $4.45 printing cost. But let’s not forget that most big publishing houses have printing presses of their own. Some have partnership deals that could lower printing costs.

Calculating possible earning can be quite confusing to most authors. A traditionally published author may also achieve more earning success than a self-published author. Many of such authors have built a reputation that makes them almost invincible in the book publishing game, and publishing houses bid to earn their signatures.

Traditional publishing houses usually pay $10,000 in advance to authors. But before you receive such a paycheck, you must have sold books worth $10,000 at your royalty rate.

As a self-published author, you won’t receive an advance. The good thing is that you will start earning royalty from your first sales.

How Can Authors Boost Their Earnings From Book Sales?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-published or traditional published author; earning more money from book sales is every author’s goal.

To have a book published, whether it’s paperback or softcopy, involves time and money. That’s why authors are always concerned about their book’s earning potential. They’re looking to recuperate their investment and make a profit.

Here, we described how authors could earn more from their published books.

Pick the perfect cover design:

A book’s cover design is one reason most self-published authors are viewed as the publishing world’s outcasts. Most of them are always seeking ways to cut corners and save more money. Thus, they hire interior and exterior cover designers who possess zero to minimal book design skills.

Your book’s cover design can make all the difference in a physical store loaded with various books or an online store. If the book’s cover design is great, it would likely capture people’s already divided attention.

What’s between your book’s covers won’t matter much if people don’t open it. And shoddy book covers can make prospective readers question a book content’s value.

Thousands of books get published now and then. So, if you want yours to stand out and rake in more earnings, choose a cover design that resonates with your targeted audience.

Decide your publishing path:

When it comes to the publishing path, authors have one big decision. You can become a self-published or traditional published author.

Before you choose your path, understand the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Both avenues can bring great success. But have in mind that traditional publishing takes time. To have a book published can take between 2 to 3 years. While as a self-publisher, you can publish 2 to 3 high-quality books every year.

Revert to book series:

Do you want to make more money from a single title? Then think of the book series. But if you can’t, then fine!

A high-quality and interesting first series make readers anticipate the next series. They are ready to buy and read the entire series when released. Even when the book ends, readers may decide to pounce on other books written by you.

So, if you want to make more money or earn a living off book writing, start publishing a series. It’s the quickest way to achieve such a feat.

Publishing a book series can help you build a stronger fanbase and loyal customers. Customers who enjoyed reading your books may also drop head-turning reviews that will motivate others to patronize you. That alone can help you to build a solid reputation in the publishing world.

Authors can much so much money off one customer alone by publishing a book series. But that doesn’t mean you can’t taste success by publishing a single book. You can.

Build an email list:

How do you communicate with your book readers or customers? Is it just via social media? If yes, you have missed a huge opportunity to boost your earnings and build a strong fanbase in the publishing world.

The issue with social media is that active users belong to the company. They are not yours, even though you tend to interact with them now and them. If the platform decides to close down today, you’ll lose almost all your followers. Then you may have to start building afresh.

Nobody is saying social media isn’t a great place to interact or market your book. You can use it to creating awareness about your upcoming book and build an audience.

The bone of contention here is to have followers, readers, or customers you own, and you can contact them whenever you deem fit. And that can only happen when you build a robust email list.

With an email list, recruiting beta readers and people you can talk to about your upcoming book launch becomes easier. Your audience may also help to spread words about your book across the various social media platforms.

Market aggressively:

Whether you’re a self-published or traditional published author, marketing can make a lot of difference in your earnings.

Even if you manage to write a great book on a hot subject, it will not matter if people do not know your book exists. So, marketing can influence an author’s earnings success. Even traditional published authors need to market their books themselves.

Publishing houses expect their authors to help in promoting their books to drive sales. They’re always eager to work with authors who can promote their books before or after publishing to boost sales.

You can market your book in several forms. You can use word of mouth, social media, billboard advertising, and TV or Google ads. Just choose the marketing form most suitable for your budget.

Again, understand that every form of marketing is important. Word-of-mouth, as common as it is, has brought success to many authors.

A Handy Tip: As a self-published author, if you market properly, your book will not only achieve better earning; it may end up in the hands of a top publishing house.

Write quality books:

Do you know that one high-quality book can bring you higher earning success than five poorly written books? It’s as simple as that.

Publishing quality books will help you build a solid reputation in the publishing world. There will be little or no reason for critiques to rubbish your work or dent your image.

Having more published books out there would increase your earning potentials. But in reality, that can only happen if all your books are top-notch.

So it is better to spend quality time writing one good book than publishing two or more poor quality ones. There is high competition in the publishing world and your genre. Therefore, if you want to stay on top, do not compromise on your book’s quality.


The amount of money authors earns per book varies. Even most traditional published authors negotiate higher advances with their publishing houses when a certain number of books get sold. The bottom line is you can make a living as an author. All you have to do is to follow the right process to achieve success. You can also use the tips discussed here to boost your earnings.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!