If you want to get started with your writing career, you might have a lot of questions in mind. Salary, payment process, advances, royalties, etc. are all things that you might be curious about. Don’t worry, as we have a whole guide for you here regarding payments for authors for a book.

Yes, authors do get paid per book. Self publishing authors keep the profit from each book that they sell. Traditional publishers like Penguin Random House also pay authors by the book which is usually 10-30% of retail value and is called a royalty.

However, traditionally published authors usually also receive an advance. This means they receive an advance payment of royalties, prior to the publication of their book. Only once the author’s share of book sales surpasses the advance payment, will the author begin to receive royalties. Self publishers usually keep up to 60% of the sale price of the books they sell as profit after expenses.

There are a lot of tips that you should know about marketing a book and becoming a successful writer. Without the proper knowledge, even an amazingly-written book might not make enough sales. So, let’s learn everything about book payments and publishing tips!

Author Salary for a Book

Self-Published WriterTraditional WriterRoyalty Rate: 40-60%Royalty Rate: 10-30%Book Retail Price: $10Book Retail Price: $10Books Sold: 5000Books Sold: 5000Income Per Book: $20,000-30,000Income Per Book: $5,000-15,000

Authors usually get paid for every book that they write. The amount depends upon the type of publishing. Before getting into the actual numbers, you must know how an author’s salary works. 

Here’s the thing:

The author sometimes gets paid an advance of their royalty in traditional publishing. This advance payment is paid in different instalments such as after signing the contract, while handing the book to the contractor and when the contractor publishes the book. There can be more instalments too such as after writing half of the book or a quarter of the book. 

There is no fixed rate for a book. It can vary from person to person and depends upon factors like:

When the book is published, the author doesn’t get any royalties unless the money coming through the book has surpassed the advance rate. After that, the author gets more money which is usually called “earning out”. 

In simple terms, earning out means that you have to pay the publisher back the amount they gave you. By paying back, it means that your books have to make enough sales to earn the same amount that your publisher gave you. After that, you can get more royalties.

Royalties aren’t usually paid every month or every two months. You often have to wait for 6 months for royalties. You usually get royalties only twice a year. 

To get to the stage where you get considerable royalties, you sometimes have to put in a lot of effort. Earning out in the first year through your book can be tough. It can involve a lot of marketing, promotion, and tactics. If you don’t market your book the right way, no matter how good of a book it is, it often won’t make enough sales.

There is no fixed amount of money that anyone can predict for a writer. One writer can make 5-8K USD per year while another writer in the same niche can make way less than that. Different factors determine the wealth of a writer. 

Even while writing a book, you can’t predict how many sales it is going to make. So, how is the advance payment determined? Well, it’s simple. The experience of the publisher, record of previous such books, marketing tactics, and capability of the writer determines the advance amount.

Best Way to Market Your Books

If you are a self-publishing author, you should know how to market your books. Yes, it is important to have outstanding content in your book. But if you don’t market it well, it likely won’t sell and you won’t be able to make enough profits from it. Below are some tips that you can follow to market your books!

Find the Right Community

You need to know what kind of people are going to read your book. Your suitable age group, race, country, gender, etc should be known. Only then you can market your book in the right place.

Consider this example: you write a book about parenting so your targeted audience should be parents. If you market your book around people that aren’t even interested in children, it would be of no use. 

Therefore, marketing in the right community is the most important part of making enough sales through your book. 

Some authors may think that their book is exceptional and everyone around the world would want to read it. Maybe the tips you mentioned in your book are amazing and everyone should know about them. But let’s face it and get out of this fantasy. There is only a specific sort of audience that is going to read your book.

Have Your Own Website

Having your own website or blog will help you promote your book without the need for any other website. If your blog is running well, you already have a good enough audience to market your book. 

Again, your blog or website should be relevant to your book. Mention things in your blog that will attract potential readers. Make sure to put out there that you have a book where the readers can learn much more than what you have on your blog. 

Connect to the Audience

Having a social media presence is the best way to connect to your audience. Social media has made marketing and promotions easier than ever. However, on social media, there are certain rules that you should follow so that your content gets enough recognition.

Use all the social media platforms and use multiple hashtags related to your book. 

Start Promotions Beforehand

Start promoting your book even before you have published it. It will create excitement among your audience. Make your social media as relevant to your book as possible. 

Use Different Websites

Research famous blogs related to your niche and ask them to promote your book. You can find multiple blogs with a huge audience for this purpose.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Writer

If you want to be a successful writer, you will have to put your all into the writing industry. Writing a book isn’t the only thing you need to be amazing at. There are other aspects to ace as well. So, let’s find out some helpful tips to become a successful author!

Traditional vs Self-Publishing Route

If you are a new writer, choosing between a traditional or self-publishing route will be a crucial decision. Now, you can fail or succeed in both routes depending upon how you handle your writing career.

Some people believe self publishing comes with higher royalty rates.

Don’t Neglect Marketing

If self publishing, you should consider marketing your book, perhaps even before you publish it! Some authors market their work while they are writing it.

Without marketing, wracking up huge sales in self publishing can be difficult!

Be Committed

It’s hard to become a successful author by writing a single book overnight. It’s usually a slow process involving a lot of steps (like short story publications, and competitions!). Don’t get tired of the hurdles that come your way. You have to stay committed to your industry and keep on publishing books.

Invest in your writing environment as well. Get a comfortable chair such as Amazon Basics Padded Desk Chair.

Maintain a Balance in the Length of your Works

Consider not always writing books that are really long! It will probably take you a lot of time to write and publish. It might be better to keep a balance and write some short stories as well. Short stories usually take less time so you may end up with more content!

Research Successful Books in your Genre

Researching famous books in your niche will help you understand what made them famous. You can give them a read or follow the way the author has marketed their books. This will help you learn a lot of stuff about writing and promoting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Authors Make for Their First Book?

An unknown author can expect to earn up to 10,000 USD for their first book (https://blog.reedsy.com/how-much-do-authors-make/). Of course, more established writers may be paid vastly more!

How Much Can Self-Published Authors Make for Every Book?

Self-published authors can make anywhere from 40-60% of their royalties for a single book. So if you publish one book at $10 you could expect to make $5! And if you sell 10,000 copies, you will make $50,000. Exciting prospect!!

Final Thoughts

The payment process for authors is much more complicated than simple payments per book released every month! There are so many factors that you have to consider to decide how much you can make per year being a successful author. Writing isn’t the only skill you have to be good at to be a successful self publishing writer. Things like marketing, decision making, researching, etc are also important for your self publishing career.

Categories: Funding

Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.