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The list may be a little out of date as it uses data from 2009, but using the basis of the US minimum wage, and the average selling price for an ebook at say $2.99, which returns a $2.00 royalty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!