How Much Do Authors Make?

My daughter dreams of being a full-time writer when she grows up. I keep telling her that most authors don’t write full-time, that most authors write as their second job. After all, she should know this first-hand, as both her parents are authors and both of us also have other jobs.


A new report from Digital Book World found that the majority of authors make less than $1,000 a year. The study showed that almost 80% of self-published authors and more than half of traditionally published authors earn less than $1,000 per year.

Digital Book World’s study, conducted via interviews with 10,000 authors in all types (self-published, traditional, hybrid, and aspiring) found that only 10% of traditionally published authors made more than $20,000 a year and 5% of self-published authors made more than $20,000 a year.

I think the takeaway from this study is what most authors already know—whether self-published or traditionally published. Don’t quit your day job anytime soon. Being an author is a hobby or a second job.

For most authors, that doesn’t matter. We love to write and we love to have others read what we write. So, as long as God calls you to write and share it with others, keep doing it, even if it brings you less than $10,000 a year in income. After all, God calls us to make disciples, regardless of the profit it brings us.

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