About 2 years ago a friend of mine announced she was going to self-publish some of her unpublished works on the Amazon Kindle platform. After all, she figured there were lots and lots of big success stories out there about writers who suddenly made huge incomes seemingly overnight on the self-publishing platform.
She’d read about various success stories, such as unknown writers like Amanda Hocking churning $2.5 million in sales, or writers like EL James gaining monster six-figure advances for print-publishing deals, along with selling the movie rights.
Of course, these are big-name success stories. How about some smaller ones? Have you heard about Mishka Shubaly, who earned an estimated $129,544 in 12 months by selling huge numbers of Amazon Singles (novella-length e-books)? No?
What about John Locke? He’s the very first self-published writer to sell 1 million Kindle e-books, and he did it in just 5 months. He sold thriller novels, to be precise.
How about Stephen Leather earning an approximate £11,000 per month (around $17,000 US) in royalties from Amazon ebook sales?
With success stories like that abounding all over the internet, it’s no wonder so many people decide to give it a shot.
So my friend dived in at the deep end. Her results astounded me. Six weeks later – after lots of research, writing and planning – I dived right in alongside her. My own results were jaw-droppingly awesome.
How is it possible for a relatively unknown writer to make so much money so quickly on the Amazon Kindle Publishing platform? And can any writer get the same results?
Let’s take a look at the real numbers, shall we?
Average Earnings for Self-Published Authors on Amazon Kindle
According to a comprehensive survey conducted by the Guardian, the average income for a self-published Amazon Kindle author is approximately $10,000 USD per year.
A whopping 75% of Amazon Kindle royalty earnings goes to just 10% of authors overall. If you break down the math and take into account those few wildly successful high-earning authors, you see that around 50% of Amazon’s self-published authors earn less than $500 per year.
There were also certain fiction genres that fared much better than others. Writers who focus on the romance and erotica genres tend to earn around 170% more than writers focused in the speculative fiction genres, such as fantasy and science fiction.
So, does an unknown author really have a shot at earning big bucks by self-publishing on Amazon Kindle? Is there really a way to defy the odds and lure thousands of eager readers into buying your books?
Breaking Out of the Average Ranks
Believe it or not, Amazon offers a service aimed at helping writers earn more money. They have all kinds of tips and tricks available to help boost sales and they release all kinds of information about proper formatting, help with uploading your books, guidelines to follow and plenty more besides.
Amazon also offers a writer’s forum, called Amazon Author Central, where you can create your own free author page.
If you write across more than one genre (as I do), Amazon even allow you to create multiple pen-names under your primary log-in address. You get the flexibility of controlling your entire ebook empire within the same account, but you get to keep your books and your readers separated across each genre. You’re also allowed an extra free author page on Author Central to further help your promotional efforts.
Besides, keeping all your pen-name accounts within the same primary account means you receive one aggregated royalty check for all your earnings each month, instead of multiple smaller ones. For those of us in Australia, or anywhere else outside of the US, this is a great way to reduce your foreign exchange fees when you bank that US dollar check.
And then there’s the book promotion aspect of the whole thing. If you don’t actively get out there and promote your books, who will ever know they exist? So book promotion is still an important part of your self-publishing success.
So before you jump in at the deep end of the Amazon Kindle self-publishing pool, take some time to learn as much as you can about what the successful authors are doing. Plan your launches well in advance and have a strong book promotion strategy ready to roll. You’ll have a much better shot at success this way.