How Much Do First Time Authors Make [Unbiased Assessment]

1. Introduction

Writing a book is a dream of many, but few have the courage to take the plunge and actually put their ideas into words. Being a first-time author can be a daunting experience, with many questions about the publishing process and how much money one can make. This article will look at the various factors affecting how much first time authors make, the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing, the average advance and royalties for first time authors, and what other ways authors can make money. By the end of this article, readers will have a better understanding of the financial aspects of being a first-time author.

2. Factors Affecting How Much First Time Authors Make

The amount of money a first-time author makes depends on a variety of factors, including the type of book they write, the publishing route they take, and the marketability of the book.

Type of Book

The type of book a first-time author writes can have a huge impact on the amount of money they make. Non-fiction books typically have higher advances than fiction books, as non-fiction books are seen as more marketable and have a higher potential for success. Books that are part of a series or that are written for a niche audience may also have higher advances than standalone books or books written for a general audience.

Publishing Route

The publishing route a first-time author takes can also have a big impact on the amount of money they make. Traditional publishing typically offers higher advances and royalties than self-publishing, as the publisher takes on much of the financial risk. However, self-publishing can still be lucrative for authors, as they retain full control over their work and can keep a larger portion of the royalties.


The marketability of a book also affects how much money a first-time author makes. Books with high market potential, such as those that are timely, have an interesting premise, or are written by a well-known author, typically have higher advances and royalties than books that are less marketable.


The amount of promotion a first-time author does can also have an impact on their earnings. Authors who are able to promote their books effectively and reach a wide audience are more likely to make more money than those who do not. This is especially true for self-published authors, as they are solely responsible for the promotion of their books.


Finally, luck can play a role in how much money a first-time author makes. Even if a book has a high advance and is well-promoted, it may not be successful. On the other hand, a book that is not well-promoted may still do well due to luck and word of mouth.

In conclusion, the amount of money a first-time author makes depends on a variety of factors, including the type of book they write, the publishing route they take, the marketability of the book, the amount of promotion they do, and luck.

3. Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

When it comes to publishing a book, authors have two main options: traditional publishing and self-publishing. Both have their pros and cons and come with different levels of risk and reward. Let’s take a look at the differences between traditional and self-publishing.

Traditional publishing involves submitting a manuscript to a publishing house and having them evaluate it for possible publication. If the manuscript is accepted, the publisher will typically provide an advance on royalties, cover the costs of printing and distributing the book, and provide marketing and promotion services. The author will receive a portion of the profits from the sale of each book, usually in the form of royalties.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, involves the author taking on the role of publisher. The author is responsible for all aspects of the publishing process, including editing, formatting, cover design, printing, and distribution. Self-publishing also requires the author to handle all marketing and promotion, as well as any costs associated with the publishing process. The author will receive all profits from the sale of each book.

Traditional publishing offers the benefit of having a team of experienced professionals to help guide the author through the publishing process. This can be invaluable for first-time authors who may not have the experience or knowledge to navigate the publishing process on their own. Traditional publishing also offers the benefit of having a well-established network of bookstores and distributors, which can make it easier to get the book into the hands of readers.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, offers authors more control over the publishing process. Authors can choose the cover design, format, and editing style that best suits their book. Self-publishing also allows authors to keep more of the profits from the sale of each book, since they don’t have to share those profits with a publisher.

In the end, the choice between traditional publishing and self-publishing should come down to what best suits the author’s individual needs. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks, and the decision should be based on what will provide the author with the most success.

4. Average Advance and Royalties for First Time Authors

For first time authors, the amount of money they make from their book can vary greatly. Most authors receive an advance, which is an upfront payment from the publisher, and royalties, which are payments based on the sales of the book.

Advances for first time authors can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The amount of the advance depends on the publisher, the marketability of the book, and the author’s negotiation skills. Generally, advances are higher for more established authors and for books that are expected to sell well.

Royalties are the payments authors receive based on the sales of their book. The amount of royalties an author receives depends on the publisher and the type of book. Most publishers pay authors a percentage of the sale price of the book. This percentage can range from 5% to 25%. Some publishers also pay a flat rate royalty for certain types of books.

In addition to advances and royalties, some authors may also receive bonuses for reaching certain sales milestones. These bonuses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Overall, the amount of money a first time author can make from their book depends on a variety of factors. Advances and royalties are the two main sources of income for authors, but bonuses and other forms of income can also be earned. It is important for authors to research the different options available to them and to negotiate the best deal possible.

5. What Other Ways Can Authors Make Money?

Authors have a variety of options to make money beyond traditional publishing and self-publishing. These include speaking engagements, book signings, selling merchandise, offering online courses and workshops, and crowdfunding.

Authors can make money by speaking at events, conferences, and universities. They may be asked to give a keynote address, lecture, or lead a workshop. This can be a great way to build a platform and reach a wider audience. Authors should be prepared to negotiate a fee and make sure they are compensated fairly.

Book signings are a great way for authors to connect with their readers. Authors can set up book signings at bookstores, libraries, and other venues. They can also set up virtual book signings for those who can’t attend in person. Authors can charge for autographs and offer other merchandise for sale.

Authors can make money by selling merchandise related to their books. This can include t-shirts, mugs, hats, and other items. Authors can also sell digital products such as e-books, audiobooks, and printables.

Authors can make money by offering online courses and workshops related to their books. They can use platforms such as Teachable and Udemy to create and sell courses. Authors can also offer one-on-one coaching and consulting services.

Crowdfunding is a great way for authors to raise money for their projects. Authors can use platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise funds for their books. They can offer rewards such as signed copies of the book, limited edition merchandise, and exclusive access to content.

Overall, authors have many options to make money beyond traditional publishing and self-publishing. By taking advantage of these opportunities, authors can supplement their income and reach a wider audience.

6. Conclusion

In conclusion, the amount of money a first-time author can make varies greatly depending on the factors mentioned above. Traditional publishing typically provides authors with a larger advance than self-publishing, as well as a larger royalty rate. However, self-publishing can be a great option for authors who want more control over their work and the ability to keep more of their profits. Additionally, authors can make money through other avenues such as speaking engagements, book tours, and merchandise.

No matter which route an author chooses to take, it’s important to be aware of all the factors that can affect how much money they make. Doing research, having realistic expectations, and understanding the publishing process are all key to helping authors make the most money they can from their work.

About Richardson

Book reviewer with a passion for reading and exploring new books. I'm always looking for new authors and stories to discover. I have a degree in English Literature and I've been writing book reviews for over five years. I'm constantly striving to find a unique perspective in my reviews, and I'm always looking for a deeper understanding of the stories I'm reading. I'm often found in libraries, bookstores and online book clubs, sharing my opinions and thoughts on a variety of books. I'm also an avid traveler and I love to explore new cultures and ideas through literature.

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