Home » Amazon, Ebooks, Self-Publishing » Are More Authors Than You Think Making a Living Self-Publishing?

Are More Authors Than You Think Making a Living Self-Publishing?

9 April 2012

From author Lindsay Buroker:

About this time last year, I wrote up a blog post detailing how I was doing, financially speaking, on my new e-publishing endeavor (I got my start in December of 2010). When it came to ebook earnings, my grand total for March of 2011 was $724.

. . . .

A year later, though, things have continued to pick up steam. I have two more novels out, two more novellas, and a new stand-alone short story. In March of 2012, I sold more than 4,000 ebooks, not including downloads of the freebies, and will earn over $5,000 (my ebooks range from 99 cents to $4.95).

. . . .

I’m tickled with the growth in sales (and readers!) over the last year. I decided to officially make this “the day job” in December, though I’d been neglecting the old day job and writing and promoting nearly full-time long before.

I’m sure my earnings will continue to go up and down (as you’d expect, one tends to do best in the months that new releases come out), but I’m happy that, thanks to the current e-publishing paradigm, making a living as a self-published author (and not a best-selling one at that) is viable.

. . . .

As I mentioned, I’m not a huge seller compared to some (for most of March, my non-free novels weren’t even in the Top 100 of their sub-categories at Amazon), so I know there are a lot of indie authors making good money right now. Of course, we’ve all heard of JA Konrath and John Locke, but I promise you many others are earning $X,XXX to $XX,XXX a month.

If you browse the indie authors in your favorite Amazon Top 100 category and find some with multiple ebooks in there, especially multiple ebooks priced at $2.99 or above, you can bet they’re doing well.

What impresses me is just how many indie authors are in there, going neck-a-neck with well-established Big 6 authors. That we’re able to sell our books less expensively certainly doesn’t hurt, but the big boys don’t have as many advantages in online stores as they do in brick-and-mortar establishments. Publishers can’t buy table space or display stands at the front of the store, and Amazon’s algorithms will help anyone who’s selling well, regardless of publisher (the more books you sell, the more often Amazon automatically recommends those books to readers who enjoy your genre).

Link to the rest at Lindsay Buroker, here’s a link to Lindsay’s books and thanks to Keith for the tip.

Amazon, Ebooks, Self-Publishing

12 Comments to “Are More Authors Than You Think Making a Living Self-Publishing?”

  1. I am. At least, mostly. I do well enough to have quit my day job to write full-time, and I’m not even in the Top 100 of my categories. So I think there are a bunch of people making a decent wage right now.

  2. A friend sent me a link the other day where someone had put together a list of authors they had identified to have sold in excess of 50,000 self published books and this list is far from complete.


    What is a livable wage varies widely from situation to situation, but I think it is safe to surmise that a lot of authors are making a living or close to it from their writing who weren’t in the past.

  3. Beverly C. Gray

    Another advantage is that readers are now in the driver’s seat as far as searching out stories they want to read rather than being dependent on others (agent, editor, publisher) to make the choice for them. I suspect the next few years will showcase a great many writers who will be able to either supplement their family’s incomes or even support themselves by writing. It’s going to be a very interesting ride for those of us who have taken the plunge.

  4. brendan stallard


    Heh, some of the stuff you put up here makes me hate you.

    This is one of them stuffs:)

    Ah, bugger, if I’d have known this when I was younger, I’d be loaded up with dough by now.

    Now I am well-stricken in years, it’s too late. Yoof is wasted on the young:)


    • Every dollar/pound/euro you make from writing something new and offering it for sale is money you wouldn’t have made otherwise, regardless of your age, Brendan.

      Whether you earn enough to quit your day job or enough to take your significant other out to dinner once in awhile, you’re still ahead.

      • brendan stallard


        I’m only raggin on ya, bro.

        Sorry if I sounded Mr Grumpy. Like quite a few folks my age, including my 85 yr old FIL, we somewhat regret that we won’t be around to enjoy the massive benefits brought about by the revolution in current technology.

        I really do wish I had written more when I were young, and I’m thinking about it. I had 50K readers on Fan Fiction last year.




        • notahelluvalot, Brendan.

          Mainly it’s formatting and uploading, which take time and can be finicky. “Cover” images are a problem sometimes.

          Hey, I’m 64. I don’t make enough to do away with SS, but it keeps the horses fed and lets me eat out instead of cooking (bachelor by default, here)


  5. brendan stallard


    Yer right, I’m wrong. British disease of moanin’.

    I’m gonna be American and damn well get on with it.

    Thanks for the encouragement and kick in the strides:)


    • Brendan, just start getting your work out there as best you can. I started e-pubbing last May. Made in the tens of dollars a month (haha). Now, I’m making hundreds. Next year – hoping for thousands. 🙂

  6. Lindsay is awesome! If you’re in the Seattle area, she’s started a Meetup group about e-publishing and book promotion: http://www.meetup.com/E-Publishing-Meetup/

  7. I earn about a $1000 a month with a 10% increase in total income each month (almost guaranteed) from a 7-10% increase in amount of product generated for the readers to enjoy coming from me. Give me 10 years and I can move to Hawaii and sip tequila all day, while writing 12 novels a year, or something like that.

  8. I have a five year plan in place. I’m doing well ahead of my original plan, with two eBooks already optioned (and they have first right of refusal on the third) for a movie, which is in preproduction. I have two books up, a front cover credit on K. M. Weiland’s “Outlining Your Novel Map Your Way To Success” (I see her blog mentioned in your sidebar), a third ready to go up any day, a fourth in edits, a fifth ready to go into edits, etc…

    Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time—so start chewing.

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