Sunday, September 16, 2012

Self-Publishing Stats Reveal Key Differences Among Earners

Another survey has made its way through the newsletter circuit. This one is about self-publishing and is called the Taleist Survey. The survey caught my attention because blogs are using the headline, “Women Fare Better at Self-Publishing”. Well yes, data from the 1,007 respondents did show that two-thirds of the top money earners were women, but the article also says that romance writers do better than other genres, which might partly explain the ratio. Although men write romances, the genre is still dominated by women.

Most revealing to me was the marked differences between writers who earn a living from self-publishing with those who didn’t. There were key factors at play, but before I get into it, I have to say that this study doesn’t seem to distinguish much between print and ebooks, and as I’ve written before, there is a big difference in sales ratios between those two formats.

The study revealed that top money earners spend 69% more time writing than lower income writers. They not only write a third more, but spend 24% more time on those words. In other words, editing is important. 29% of top earners have an agent, whereas only 10% of lower income earners do. Respondents who paid for professional editing earned, on average, 13% more than those who didn’t.

Here’s an interesting revelation. The group of respondents who earned least were the ones who spent the most time marketing. In fact, those who spent the least time marketing were earning the most money!

Another thing: the top money earners had four times more reviews for their most recent books and earned six times the revenue compared with those outside the top earning range. In other words, get as many reviews as you can, especially from established sources. It really does help sell books! To read more of the article go to


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Anonymous said...

Well, this is interesting. According to the traits of top earners, I should be making so much money that I'd need a wheelbarrow just to haul it around.

In actuality, all I need is a change purse. ;o)

Maryannwrites said...

Interesting information. I've heard the advice before that we should write more and market less. I know I have made the mistake of letting social media and other promotional efforts get in the way of writing way too often.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments, and Maryann. I've fallen into the same trap of letting social media take up large chunks of time. Even before I read the article, I had decided to do more writing and less marketing. It's been tough to find the right balance.