Comments of 402 Authors Making $3K+ Per Month

I got inspired to write a motivational post for you today. I know that there are at least hundreds now, and eventually there will be thousands of you reading this page. Most of you will not have written a book yet. Most of you probably haven’t even written 50,000 words in your life yet. I don’t mean just 50,000 random words, but I mean 50,000 words with a focused point.

A few years ago, I came across this website called authorearnings.com. I found it by following Hugh Howie. Hugh worked in a bookstore and wrote a short story which he published on Amazon a few years ago. Today he is giving tours of his 50 foot catamaran docked in a harbor in South Africa. Hugh has enjoyed phenomenal success from sales of his books at Amazon. But he is only one of many thousand who are making a decent living by writing books and having them published on Amazon.

One of the coolest things about the website that I just mentioned, is that it has the results of an author survey published under the “Surveys” link at the top. When you download that as a spreadsheet, you can sort it by those making the most money per month. When you do that, the column to the right has comments by these people that are making many thousands of dollars per month. I love to read that column every couple of months, because it gives me tremendous motivation to continue writing.

Many of the writers who took this survey hadn’t made much money before deciding to publish their e-book. As I sorted the column this morning, I found there were 402 people making more than $3,000 dollars per month income from their books.

One person stated that they were making $567,000 per month. Then another few said they were making around $250,000 per month. There is a huge number of people who are making in the $10,000-$30,000 per month range. I mean a huge number.

Below, I will list some of the comments of these people who have stated that they are making more than $3,000 per month, Because I know it will help you come to grips with the level of success that some people are having. Some of them are as bewildered about their success as you will be.

I don’t know about you, but I have read many novels by authors who have written good or okay books, but now they are writing pure slop. And guess what? People are still buying tens and hundreds of thousands of their books. I’ll be honest, the last few Stephen King novels that I picked up on Amazon – I thought were average at best. Lee Childs had a couple good novels, but for the most part, he is a very average writer. In fact, I think the best writers in the entire world write mostly at just an average level.

Occasionally, they come up with a line or a sentence that blows me away. Not very often, but it happens. All that you have to do to become a success is – do the same thing. All you really have to do is come up with an amazing story idea, and then write it as good as an average writer does. Get it edited. Pay for a professional book cover. You’ll do okay. I have seen this countless times before.

I hate to single him out, but he’s a great example of what I’m saying. Joe Konrath blew up in the e-book publishing world somewhere around eight years ago. He was a published author before that, and had a lot of back titles that he began to put on Amazon as e-books.

A couple of his stories had crazy sales. I think I remember him at one point saying that he was going to make over $1 million in a year. Not bad, right? I don’t know what is happening to Joe today, but I do know that he cranked out many books immediately after that success because he was so motivated to do so. I got some of his books on free promotion, and I think I even paid for one.

I can tell you with no regret, Joe’s writing is horribly average. There are some good things about his writing, I don’t want to take it all away from him, but in general you will see as you read his books, his writing is just plain average.

What Joe does though is he creates a plot that will really blow your mind. He has some of the most unique fiction stories I have ever heard of. Some are plain ridiculous, but others are genius. This combination of average writing and genius plot writing make Joe a millionaire probably a couple times over.

So you can see, you have to have some combination of skills that combine to make you a successful writer. Whether it’s incredible writing, or stories – and ideally both – you need something in your favor. I am greatly inspired by Joe’s work because I think I can do something similar. I don’t think my writing is absolutely fantastic, but I do know that I can come up with a great story. I will be focusing on doing that this year.

So, have a look below at some of the comments from people who are making more than $3,000 per month have left on Authorearnings.com and see if you don’t also get inspired. Link here.

Comments from Writers Making > $3,000 per month

Indie publishing has changed my entire life! :)

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I enjoy the options that self-publishing has given authors. My husband and I both walked away from full-time jobs to focus on self-publishing. I don’t know what the future holds, so I choose to stay neutral on the subject of traditional vs indie. The readers don’t care who publishes the books. It all comes down to a business decision for the author.

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Permafree pushed me from high five figure a month to over six figures in a non-release month. Last month was my one year anniversary mark. Sept 2013 (though it was only the last few weeks), I sold 268 books. 2014, I sold approximately 35,000 ebooks at full price.

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“Nobody, except for a small circle of friends and family, knows how much money I’m making in this business.

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Although I frequent Kindle Boards, I am relatively anonymous and nobody in the online community is aware of my more successful pen names. And yet I’ve made over two million dollars self-publishing.  It sounds crazy, but that is the truth! P.S. I write romance.”

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My forecast for 2014 has income from only self-publishing at seven figures. I don’t count co-authored work in that, nor prospects for a large advance. I would never sell my ebook rights to anyone, not for all the tea in China.

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Although the vast majority of my indie income stems from my fiction (backlist and self-pubbed originals), I haven’t published a new novel for over two years, so hope when I finish and publish the latest book in my main mystery series, the numbers will go up.

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Interestingly, my one historical novel outsells my mystery series in the UK by a wide margin. I’m now itching to get on with researching my second historical with the hope that my sales will show a corresponding increase when I publish (probably a year or more from now on this one, alas!).”

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But last year, I ‘earned’ over $50k, starting in September when sales started to really pick up and has perpetuated. In October, I earned $15k-ish, in Nov., over $20k-ish, and then in December earning $35k-ish.

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In January, I released my fifth book in a series, and sales boosted and I earned $50k that month. Obviously working from a cashed based system, the $20k, and $35k and then later the $50k will come this year, along with other sales figures. So the numbers are a bit skewed but you get the idea. It’s been steadily increasing.

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90% of my income is from 5 of my titles which are in a series.  A second series accounts for most of the remaining 10%.

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I’ve been signed by an agent who refuses to sell my work. But – I have recently made the decision to retain all my rights as my income is only growing and I can support my family on my own. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Indie publishing is rewarding but damned hard work.

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I cannot foresee that I will continue to traditionally publish. After a 10 year hiatus, I gave them two of my best books and feel completely disappointed by the experience.

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I got turned down by everybody. Published my first three books all together, made $5,000 the first month, $20,000 the fifth month, and haven’t looked back. Thank goodness for Amazon. (And thanks, Hugh.)

 

“I have hit the NYT eBook fiction list repeatedly and USA Today as well, and acquired an agent in 2013.

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In the first quarter of 2014, I will earn more in self-publishing royalties than I earned in all of 2013 (mix of self/trad income) and 2012 (all trad income) combined.

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My first book was published in 2002 by Kensington. The eighth and last book published by Kensington was released in 2012. Over that ten year period, Kensington sold around 120,000 copies of those eight books. I began getting my rights back in 2011 and released my first self-published title from my backlist in June 2011. In addition to those eight titles, I self-published two novels in a new series and three omnibus volumes containing either three or four novels and two short stories and one omnibus volume containing three novels by three authors including me. Since I began self-publishing, I have sold over 325,000 copies of my books. I am working on three new novels in three new series that I will co-author with three separate self-published authors. Self-publishing has given me opportunities that never would have been available from traditional publishers.

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While I clearly make more money from self-publishing and have been doing it far longer than most, including during the days when is was still unpopular, I tire of the portrayal of all publishers being sinister. Certainly, many are bad news, but my publisher is a fantastic supporter of my self-publishing efforts and has done a lot to increase sales of the books they publish AND sales of the books I publish, and I have returned the favor. Sales off ALL books are increasing as a result, and I make as much from each Big 5 release as I do from self-publishing. The reason self-publishing numbers are higher is simply because I can release more than a big 5 publisher can.

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With my earnings from self-publishing, I didn’t have to go back to teaching at all and could continue being a STAHM. AND we were able to completely pay off our debt, without using any income from my husband’s business. This was such a thrill and blessing for us, and our family. I do think perma-free, collaborating with other authors, BookBub, and tons of hard work helped make this possible. :)

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Traditional publishing was never a consideration for me. And now, almost two years into this journey, I realize that I would never have been a good fit for the trad side of this industry. Self-publishing allows me to remain agile when necessary, and publish the stories I want to read. And, apparently, the books others do, too.

 

Becoming a self-published author was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I quit my job as a full time nurse and started writing. I took 15 members of my family on a cruise three times now and I’m going to Mexico next week. I’m going to the Bahamas for Christmas. This has been like a dream come true! I write under a few pen names including romance.

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The responses in the traditionally published questions above refer to 3 books I have with an Amazon imprint. I didn’t check that I was happy with “my sales” like most Amazon authors would as I make more money self-publishing across all platforms. In January 2014 alone, I earned $13,000 from Apple for my self-published titles, mostly with 2 books.

All of my books are part of Amazon’s KDP Select and I last month I estimate about $2,000 for the borrows.

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I was able to quit my day job after 2 years. Self publishing has been an amazing three year journey and I can’t wait for what the future holds!

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I went full time indie author in 2011 and have been making six figures a year since then, primarily from Amazon, although I use all available retailers. I am now a New York Times and USA Today best selling author, and probably only one of a few British indies making a full time living from writing.

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I started self-publishing from zero. No platform, just throwing my books up via Amazon and Smashwords. My husband quit his job in December (now that we can get health insurance–thanks to Obamacare!).

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I have all my titles in KDP select and make almost 40% of my income from page reads borrows.

The $30,000 figure what basically only what I was paid out. So I’d hate for it to look like I only pulled in 30K in a year. That was multiple platforms for about 6 weeks worth of sales.

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I’m self-published and love the flexibility of my schedule and release dates. I do have my own publishing company name that probably shows up as uncategorized on your reports. (Mythical Lake Press, feel free to change it on your reports to indie.) Thank you!

“I think my success in my first year of self-publishing was almost entirely due to writing in a series, and offering the first in the series for free once the 3rd book in the series was available.

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After 1 year of self-publishing, I am now able to leave the day job and write full time!”

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“In 2011 I earned 12,000 over 4 books. In 2012 I earned 23,000 over 5 books. In 2013 I earned just over 100,000 over 8 books.

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The key for me was to set the first book in a series permafree. I have two series, and most of my money was made on one particular book.”

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Also, on the income front, I had averaged $5,000 per month in November and in December. Then I applied to BookBub fully expecting to be turned down flat but they accepted me and my book ran the middle of January. I made $20,000 in January.

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It was a life-changing event that could never have happened if I were traditionally published and unable to take chances and make my own decisions concerning my career.

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I started in September 2013. In January 2014 I made over $20k. I write romantic suspense. I am amazed.

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I changed genres twice before I hit on what worked for me.

Although I was dismayed at the time, I’m grateful beyond words that the trad gatekeepers rejected my work for so many years. I own all the rights to my books and I’m laughing all the way to the bank. Indies rock.

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I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time booking ads, etc, but it’s crucial to keeping sales flowing, so I live with that. I am much happier self-publishing than I was when Penguin published my books! I’m on track to earn a chunky six figures this year. I’m not an overnight success; I had to get a lot of titles out there until one series really took off. It’s definitely possible to earn a very comfortable living off self-publishing without anyone having heard of you. ;-)

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I’ve made a 6-figure income from self-publishing every year I’ve been doing this. It appears that I will double my 2014 income in 2015.

 

** To see MANY MORE of these, go to this link and download your copy of the spreadsheet and sort it by income last month (Column “O”). Then read the comments in “P” column.

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