The Growth of Self-Publishing

New figures from R.R. Bowker show that the recent growth in the self-publishing market has led to the first increase in print book output in the United States in four years.

This Bowker report showed that 347,178 books were printed in 2011 (up from 328,259 in 2010). Of this figure, 211,269 were self-published titles (up from 133,036 in 2010). In case you are not good with math, about 61% of print books published in 2011 were self-published—well over half (the figure was only around 41% in 2010—less than half).

Did you catch that? Over half of the books printed in 2011 were self-published. We are living in the “Golden Age of Self-Publishing.”

If you are wondering whether to self-publish your book, consider this: If you choose to self-publish, you will no longer be in a “minority of authors” category. You will actually be in the category of the majority of authors today.

Self-publishers are creating growth in the publishing industry. Self-publishing success is possible in today’s market.

Let me temper this excitement with a word of caution. If you think that you can quit your day job to self-publish your book, think again. Less than 10% of self-published authors earn a living from their books.

A study, conducted by Taleist, which surveyed 1,000 self-published authors, found that half of these authors earned less than $500 off their self-published books in 2011. Of course, that means half earned more.

In other words, self-publishing is viable in today’s book market. Just don’t expect to become rich off your self-published book.

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