2016/07/12

Hockey with Astronauts: Reactions to my Amazon Author Earnings Graphic

Reactions to the graphic I made comparing author earning levels to the populations of various areas and  groups caught my by surprise.

Amazon Author Earnings Chart

The chart, based on Author Earnings figures for 82% of Amazon sales from May 2016 and the survey quoted here, drew a wide range of responses from aspiring authors and industry professionals alike.

Writer Numbers - Larry Correia

International Lord of Hate Larry Correia, architect of my recent BOOK BOMB, pointed out that he is among the 60 authors--equal to the number of women who've flown in space--earning seven figures. Yet his critics still deny that he is a "Real Author".

 As another commenter pointed out, that's because the literati consider a "Real Author" someone on either side of South Korea.

However, my chart wasn't without its detractors. Multiple Hugo-nominated Baen Books editor Toni Weisskopf delivered a side-splitting rebuttal.

Writer Numbers - Toni Weisskopf

Doubtless Toni has seen more than her fair share of illegible submissions during her venerable career. In the interest of full disclosure, she did moderate her hilarious comment slightly.

Writer Numbers - Toni Weisskopf 2

Marko Kloos made an appearance to demonstrate his wealth of self-publishing expertise and his spotty sports knowledge.

Writer Numbers - Marko Kloos


Encouraging Numbers

Some commenters found the numbers presented in the graphic discouraging. Their disillusionment is residue from years of pervasive media propaganda that portrays working writers as millionaire celebrities.

But disillusionment is good when it helps us face reality. In this context, the Author Earnings numbers are highly encouraging.

In my previous Author Earnings post, I pointed out that fundamental changes to the book market introduced by Amazon and KDP mean that there is no longer a reason not to self-publish.

Since the dawn of the Kindle, indie authors are more than twice as likely as Big Five-published authors to earn at least a part-time income from their work.

Even more amazing, of the 60 million-dollar earners, 28 are published by the Big Five and fourteen are self-published. But that's not nearly the whole story. Of those 28 tradpub millionaires, TWENTY-FIVE of them debuted more than five years ago, while ALL FOURTEEN indies earning seven figures debuted within the last five years.

Based on the Author Earnings figures, Amazon has doubled aspiring authors' chances of making money from their art, and of being published in the first place.

Today, publishing your book on KDP gets you a fourteen in a million chance of earning a million dollars, compared to the three per million traditionally published authors.

Beats the hell out of the lottery, anyway.

Now, I'm not advocating the "Do it my way and become a millionaire rock star" propaganda used by the Big Five, even though it's a mathematically more justifiable pitch for going indie. In reality, half of self-published authors are only making beer money.

But they're still doing better than the hundreds of thousands of tradpub authors who are earning even less than the worst-selling indie authors.

Speaking of beer money, my indie SFF/horror novels are available at the links below.

Nethereal

Souldancer

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