Self-publishing survey results


A few months ago, I published a survey aimed at self-published authors.  The results are in.  Here are some of the key points:

  • Writing more correlates strongly to more sales.  Which way the causation goes is difficult to say, but few people with just one or two books make a living from writing.  The average number of books published by authors responding that they make a living was above 6, and that’s probably on the low side, since I only had an option for 10+ books on the high end for the survey.
  • Most authors don’t make enough to live off of, but many aspire to.
  • The top categories were: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, romance and thrillers, in that order.
  • Most people self-published first, although a significant number – around 25% – first published through a traditional publisher.
  • Fiction was significantly more common than non-fiction.
  • In terms of pricing, between 1 and 6 dollars is where the bulk of authors are selling their books.
  • “Social media”  – Facebook and Twitter – are a popular way to market books.  This is something people could probably learn from, as email is reportedly a much more effective means of reaching a lot of people, yet fewer people report having mailing lists.

For anyone who has been following the self-publishing world, I don’t think the results are all that surprising, but it’s good to see some confirmation.

Here are some charts created with the results:

The results can be found here if you’d like to make your own charts from them.  Just be sure to link back to this post:

2 thoughts on “Self-publishing survey results

  1. On 2/18/2015 1:04 PM, LiberWriter – Friendly, Easy Kindle Publishing wrote:

    David, I initially intended to use LiberWriter to publish one or more Kindle books, then I found out about CreateSpace POD and decided that made more sense. Is LiberWriter able to help prep a document for publishing via CreateSpace?

    • CreateSpace is good for print books, but doesn’t seem to invest as much in eBooks. We get a number of people coming to us who were not particularly satisfied with what CreateSpace did with their eBook.

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