The Making of A Six Figure Author: How Authors Evolve With Their Income

From Written Word Media:

The indie author community is a large, resilient and fascinating space. Authors from all over the world come together in online forums, groups, and conferences (in person and virtual), to trade valuable tips and commiserate on the challenges they face.

Still, indie publishing can feel like a bit of a black box. Not everyone has, or wants, a large online network of other authors. And, even if you have cultivated a community of fellow indies, it’s still hard to know what you don’t know.

Every year we survey authors in an attempt to aggregate and share meaningful information on how and what indies are doing. What marketing tactics are working? Are indies using professional editors? What changes as authors increase their earnings?

Back by popular demand, this year we have segmented our data by author income level, and gotten even more granular than we have in the past. Keep reading to learn what differences we see between eight different author income brackets, and join the discussion in the comments to share what you think.

One important thing to note is that income is not necessarily a marker of “success.” Different authors have different goals for their writing, and, for many, income is far down the list of what matters. We are not ranking our survey respondents by dividing the data into income stages. We simply think this is an interesting way to look at the data.

The Author Sample

This year we had over 1,300 authors complete our survey. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share. This would not be possible without your efforts.

Our Stages:

We’ve segmented our responses into eight different buckets based on author earnings level.

Stage 1: $0-$249 per month

Stage 2: $250-$499 per month

Stage 3: $500-$999 per month

Stage 4: $1,000-$2,499 per month

Stage 5: $2,500-$4,999 per month

Stage 6: $5,000-$7,499 per month

Stage 7: $7,500-$9,999 per month

Stage 8: Over $10,000 per month

The image below breaks down some of the main differences between each stage, but be sure to keep reading for more analysis and takeaways.

Note: we asked authors to rank marketing tactics both on effectiveness and if they felt they were overrated or underrated. These are different values. An effective marketing tactic is one that works well. An underrated marketing tactic is one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Disclaimer: While indies are largely an honest bunch, it’s important to keep in mind that all data here is self-reported. We think these results reveal some of the realities of being an author, but this is hardly a double-blind study with a significant sample size.

Link to the rest at Written Word Media

PG notes that this is a long article and, to his way of thinking, can be a valuable source of information for indie authors, new or seasoned.

3 thoughts on “The Making of A Six Figure Author: How Authors Evolve With Their Income”

  1. Self-reported – but the numbers look very reasonable to me.

    Interesting part to me is that, except for the lowest earners, the majority are in KDP Select. “Go wide, young writer.” may not be the best advice?

  2. Looking at the numbers, it makes sense–if you treat your writing like a hobby, it pays like a hobby (well, maybe a little better)–if you treat it like a job, it pays like a job.

Comments are closed.