Digital Book World: The Author’s View of the Industry

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The results of this survey were presented by Phil Sexton, the Publisher and Community Leader for Writer’s Digest. The company surveyed 5,000 writers, half of whom have self-published books. Authors were divided into self-published, traditional, and hybrid authors. Hybrids are those that have both self-published and used traditional publishers. In looking at the social media habits of authors, 66% of authors maintain Facebook pages devoted to their work, 54% are on Twitter, 65% are on Goodreads, and 69% have a blog. Social media data seems to suggest that aspiring authors don’t understand or use social media until after they are published or self-published.  

As to priorities, the highest priority of all authors is to start a career as an author and then satisfying life goals is next. Money was fairly well down in the priority list. When asked about income, self-published authors report about $7,600, traditionally published $27k, and hybrid authors about $38k. Least important priority for all authors is the prestige of getting published by a major publisher.

68% of self published authors want to publish their next book with traditional publisher and 92% of traditional authors want this. For most authors, the most important thing that publishers do is marketing. In most cases, traditionally published authors seem to feel pretty positive about publishing houses, but hybrid authors feel publishers move too slowly, don’t understand digital publishing, and don’t offer enough money. Hybrid authors, in other questions, have the least good feelings of all author types about traditional publishers. Hybrid authors also ask for the largest advances and highest royalties. All authors agree that online book selling has been a positive move for most. Hybrid authors are more likely to choose self-publishing in their next books and tend to make more money than traditional published authors.

Paul Biba (129 Posts)

is a retired corporate international lawyer who has worked in 53 countries. Since he is a very fast reader he came to ebooks out of self-defense in order to avoid carrying a suitcase of books on his travels around the world. An early ebook adopter, he has read on Palms, Pocket PCs and practically every device that has been out there. After being a frequent contributor to, the oldest ebook/epublishing blog on the net, Paul became TeleRead's Editor-in-Chief, a position he recently resigned. Send Paul an email to