Can Self-Published Authors Make The Minimum Wage?

Can Self Published Authors Make Money From Books

Can self-published authors make a living from books they sell?

While self-publishing is a free and open platform for authors to use to publish books and ebooks, the real question is whether self-published authors can make a living and earn enough money to eat and live.

I stumbled across a list of minimum wages by country and noted that the minimum wage for the US is listed at a tick over $15,000.

The list may be a little out of date as it uses data from 2009, but using the basis of the US minimum wage, and the average selling price for an ebook at say $2.99, which returns a $2.00 royalty payment, this would mean that an author would need to sell 7,500 ebooks per year to make the minimum wage.

Of course, paperbacks may earn a slightly higher royalty, but as they often are only a small part of overall sales, it makes little difference to the equation that 7,500 book sales equal a minimum salary.

Having said this, though, if an author happens to live elsewhere in the world, things get a little more difficult. In Australia, the minimum wage is equal to US$34,300, which means that an Aussie author needs to sell 17,150 books to eat! Ouch.

Perhaps a move to Croatia might be a good move, as the minimum wage, there is equal to US$6,190 or 3095 book sales.

Or even better, now that Cuba is being spoken to again by the US, the minimum wage of US$108.00 would make it easy for a self-published author to make a living by having to sell only 54 books a year to eat well!

Alas, for UK authors it’s not such good news. With a minimum wage there of US$20,495.00, it means a lot of hard work is in store for you as you will need to sell 10,247.5 books this year to be able to put food on the table.

I suppose the message in this data is that if your book sales are not sufficient to allow you to eat, then best you think about moving.

Fiji looks quite tempting!

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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