Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Update: Some Unknown Authors Still Making Good Living from Self-Publishing

A self-publisher in the moneyMy previous posts on this subject on this blog give an excellent background on the birth, growth and sustainability of profitable self-publishers.

Other posts on this subject on my other blog (Writers Welcome Blog) can be accessed here for those interested.

Yes, there are quite a few authors, many unknown, who bang out quite good livings by self-publishing their works. And tonight’s post will show that some of them actually make MORE money than initially offered by big house publishers.

The links above provide mucho history through inside and sideway looks into the development of the new game-changing, self-publishing acceptance that has enabled more authors to make a living – and/or, in lieu of immediate financial success, at least get their work read by readers and gain a following for future projects.

This insight is provided by Nassau News Live (a hyper-local student-run journalism project from the School of Communication at Hofstra University in New York):


Unknown Authors Make A Living Self-Publishing


Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

“But now,” says Dana Beth Weinberg a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, “the self published authors walk into the room and they say, ‘I made a quarter of a million dollars last year, or a hundred thousand dollars, or made ten thousand dollars, and it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts.’”

Weinberg says there is still a strong financial case to be made for publishing books the old fashioned way, but there are now many well-known independent authors who have made a fortune self-publishing online.

One of those authors, Hugh Howey, recently published a report arguing that self-published writers earn more money overall from eBooks than authors who have been signed by the big five publishing houses. The report, which Howey created with an anonymous data researcher who goes by the name “Data Guy,” uses Amazon’s sales ranking and crowd-sourced sales data to estimate authors’ total earnings on eBooks.

The report has been attacked by critics who point out the figures don’t include cash paid to authors as part of a book advances. And they say Howey is underestimating the money earned from old fashioned print sales. He’s also been called a tool of Amazon in that company’s war against established publishing houses.

Trustworthy data is difficult to come by. And Amazon doesn’t release detailed sales numbers.

Howey says he’s just trying to point out that self-publishing can be a decent way to make a living even if you aren’t selling millions of books. And he points out that self-published authors are able to keep 70 percent of royalties on all eBook sales. As a result, he says, many relatively unknown authors are making a decent living self-publishing their work.

One of those authors is Michael Bunker, who has a long beard, close-cropped hair and a wide brim hat, and describes himself as an “accidental Amish Sci-Fi writer.”

His latest book, Pennsylvania Omnibus, hit number 19 earlier this month on Amazon’s best seller list. And Bunker’s first book — about living off the grid — was an instant online success.

“It went to 29 on all of on the very first day,” Bunker said. “And I got messages from agents and publishers. And I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no clue what I was doing.”

The first agent who reached him offered a $5000 advance and a guaranteed publishing deal.

“I made more than that yesterday,” Bunker said.


Damn interesting how things are dancing around in the publishing dance halls, huh?


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  1. […] Update: Some Unknown Authors Still Making Good Living from Self-Publishing. […]

    Pingback by Update: Some Unknown Authors Still Making Good Living from Self-Publishing | SmartyPants — 07/26/2014 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  2. thanks for a good article, you mentioned that self publishing authors can get up to 70 percent royalties, i had mine at that but read somewhere in amazon or smashwords that at 70 you allow people to lend, so i put mine down to 35. Would you say in the foregin markets keep it at 70? I published 3 books on sw and amazon ‘From the Waters of Coyote Springs”, “Felix and Eve” and “The Arrangement” then made them into one paperback book called “The Eve Chronicles”. I sold more by myself than other ways, i do tons of blogging. The books are fictionalized memoirs about when i first moved to ORegon to live in the forests of the Wallowa Mts doing timber inventory. Living with a mismatched group of fellow foresters mostly men i gained the reputation of being called “Queen of the Comeback.” I sure had a learning curve downloading them onto smashwords and amazon sites. but since then have navigated the systems for re edits. I am thinking of doing some book signings, but i keep waiting for those sales to roll in. Diane DeVillers as SmartyPants196

    Comment by smartypants196 — 07/26/2014 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

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