Our 2019 Author Survey has generated some incredible discussion, and we’ve received a number of great follow-up questions in the comments, social media, and email. We were also curious about what else we could get from the data, so we took your questions and dove back in!
This data is based on survey responses from over 1,000 authors in September 2019. We refer to three segments of authors when looking at the data:
Emerging Authors – Authors who have never made more than $60k in a year from book sales
60kers – Authors who have made over $60k in a year from book sales
100kers – Authors who have made over $100k in a year from book sales
Emerging Author Income
How much are Emerging Authors (those making less than $60,000 per year) actually earning? This was a common question, and, thankfully, we have the data to get a little more granular.
As you can see from the graph above, the majority of Emerging Authors surveyed are making well below $60,000 per year.
As a matter of fact, most are making less than $6,000 per year.
Several authors also wondered if we had any audiobook data from our survey, and we did!
Not terribly surprising, but as authors earn more, they are more likely to publish an audiobook.
This could be due to the fact that producing and publishing an audiobook requires more up-front investment. If you aren’t earning as much, it may be harder to justify investing in audio.
We also had a few questions about genres, and how they differed by income level.
We looked at which genres Emerging Authors and 60kers are writing in, and overall there wasn’t much difference.
There were three genres that were over-represented by Emerging Authors: Literary Fiction, Children’s and Non-Fiction. 60kers were more likely to be writing in Paranormal, Romance, or Paranormal Romance
The takeaway here is that you can write in any genre and still become a 60ker. Your odds of becoming a 60ker may be slightly lower if you write in Literary Fiction, Children’s or Non-Fiction.
Marketing Effectiveness In and Out of KDP Select
We also had some questions about how our marketing technique rating chart would look if it was broken down by authors enrolled and not enrolled in KDP Select. We were happy to oblige!
The chart above includes authors who either had all of their books enrolled in KDP select, or had no books enrolled in KDP select. The primary difference is reflected in the effectiveness of Bookbub Deals, which makes sense as Bookbub is more likely to accept your title for a feature if you are “wide”, and getting a Bookbub deal will spur sales across multiple retailers.
There is also some discussion around how long it takes authors to develop a back list, especially when they also have a day job. We asked authors a question about their employment status, and this is how it broke down by author group.
As you might suspect, Emerging Authors are more likely to have a day job unrelated to their writing, and 100kers are most likely to support themselves and their family off of their writing.
Once again, thank you to all those who participated, this would not be possible without you.