“According to the survey, literary authors suffered the largest decline in income (down 15% over the last four years) they received from book publishing, followed by authors of general nonfiction, whose income from books declined by 8%. Roughly 25% of all published authors surveyed earned no money at all from book publishing in 2017; while 18% of full-time book authors also received zero income from book publishing during this period.”
First, AG limits its membership to traditionally published authors and indie authors who’ve demonstrated the minimum required dollar amount in book sales. Right away, this is a self-selecting group of people. Also, while indie authors have been earning more and more over the past few years, there’s still a discrepancy; however, reports that self-published authors as a whole earn 58% less than traditionally published authors aren’t exactly transparent. There are countless traditionally published authors who aren’t earning anywhere close to what the James Pattersons, Stephen Kings, and JK Rowlings of the industry are earning, and lumping those authors into one enormous category is overlooking that fact.
Still, this information is worth noting. Are authors losing sales because consumers simply aren’t reading? Or more encouragingly, are they losing sales because there are so many great books to choose from? When authors–more aptly, publishers–controlled the pond, it may have been more lucrative to be a big fish or even a medium-sized mid-list fish. With an online bookseller the size of the Amazon (River) at our fingertips, of course that wealth stands to be spread farther and among more and more authors.