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How Many Copies Does The Average Author Sell On Amazon?

When it comes to modern platforms for authors to sell their works on, there probably isn’t a more popular place than Amazon.

How Many Copies Does The Average Author Sell On Amazon?

Whether it is through their Kindle or Audible subsidiaries, or from the site itself, Amazon hosts a vast amount of books from all kinds of genres that only get bigger every year.

It’s no surprise that so many authors, whether part of a publishing company or going down the self-published route, choose to have their books sold on Amazon, sometimes over physical retailers!

This might lead many authors to start wondering just how much there is to gain by selling their work through Amazon.

It’s a big platform, after all, which means that there is the potential to sell to a truly international market. So the returns on selling here must be impressive, right?

Well, that’s what we’re going to uncover here!

In this guide, we will show you just how much money authors, especially self-published authors, can expect to make on Amazon, as well as some of the pros and cons of selling on this massive online platform.

How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Make?

So, we should probably answer the main question that we presented at the beginning of this guide: How many copies do self-published authors tend to make on Amazon?

Well, generally speaking, this will likely vary from author to author. And authors who are published through traditional means that sell on Amazon are hard to find.

However, it is generally accepted that the average self-published work on Amazon will sell anywhere between 250 and 300 copies in a year, with the average amount of money of a self-published author, once royalties have been taken, anywhere from 875 dollars to 1,000 dollars.

And this is the average, keep in mind. A reported third of self-published authors make 500 dollars a year, with 90% of authors often selling less than 100 copies of their work.

There are a few reasons why the average numbers might not reflect the reality of many self-published authors, but a smaller percentage of more successful authors bringing up that average is likely to be a big factor.

These statistical anomalies bring up often inflate these numbers, so there’s a good chance that realistically, many people are earning less than this.

How Many Books Need To Be Sold On Amazon To Be Considered ‘Best-Sellers’?

A bestseller that is sold through Amazon will sell significantly more than the previous numbers that we established, selling anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 copies.

This range will vary, depending on the genre that the book is being sold in and what category it can be found in.

Ultimately speaking, if your book is performing relatively well in the genre it is being sold in, you’re more likely to be considered a good or bestseller.

Still, as we already established with the figures from before, this is a difficult number for most self-published authors to reach.

Advantages Of Selling On Amazon

Advantages Of Selling On Amazon

To help both explain why many authors choose to self-publish through Amazon as opposed to traditionally publishing, as well as explain where many run into issues, we should probably first look at some of the appealing advantages that this platform gives authors.

No Extra Fees

This is often the biggest appeal that leads to people choosing to self-publish.

Traditional publishers, while they provide many benefits to authors, do come at a pretty steep cost, as many aspects of making, finishing, and promoting a book often mean that authors don’t always get back as much money as they may like.

Graphic designers, editors, promotional managers, and all these other roles need to be fairly compensated, after all!

Self-publishing means that those extra costs ultimately go back to you, so you can decide how you want that money to be spent.

Creative Freedom

Signing up with a publisher often means that they are considering many different factors of the book, from marketing to a target audience.

This, coupled with the fact that traditional publishing often comes with editors that can help better focus or streamline a book, means that there can sometimes be a heavy influence from your editor and the wider publishing company on what they think your book should and shouldn’t include if it wants to sell well.

All of this often comes from a good place, but it can leave authors with a feeling that it is no longer their work being published, or that they don’t have as much control as they might like.

With self-publishing, this is not an issue. Amazon won’t try and force any executive changes down onto your book baby, leaving you with near-total creative freedom.

Wide-Reaching Platform

As we mentioned in the introduction, Amazon is one of the biggest platforms in the world to sell pretty much anything, and this applies to books as much as it does luxury items.

When you publish your work through Amazon, you have a potential market of millions who might just buy your book.

Great Royalty Opportunities 

Selling your book through Amazon means that they will be taking a portion of your profits for allowing you to publish on their platform.

However, self-published authors tend to get a larger amount back through their royalties, up to 70% in some cases!

Easy Corrections

Spotting and changing grammatical mistakes is incredibly easy through Amazon. Certainly more so than traditional publishers!

Disadvantages Of Selling On Amazon

All these pros sound great, even amazing on paper. So why do so many self-published authors on Amazon fail to sell all that well in the first place?

This is where the idyllic attractions of self-publishing meet the reality of not having a publishing company supporting your work.

One-Man Job

Unlike with a publisher, you won’t get an editor or a marketer to help you make your work as presentable as possible.

That does mean that you get more of the money back from your profits, but you’re not going to have that expertise in the industry that they will.

No Other Platforms

While Amazon is a massive platform, you are also often limited to just selling on Amazon as a self-published author.

Not only does Amazon own exclusive rights to publishing your book for a 90-day waiting period, but you will be unable to sell your book anywhere else – not even on your own author’s page!

Strict Standards

Remember how we mentioned that you won’t get an editor for helpful writing or formatting decisions? Well, what if you didn’t have all of those things, but you still had to somehow make your book fit standards or targets that you didn’t wholly agree with?

Amazon’s book marketplace still abides by strict standards when it comes to formatting and layouts. So there’s a decent chance that you’re still going to be restricted in some way or form.

Final Thoughts

So, with everything that we have covered so far in this piece, would we still recommend publishing to Amazon if you are a self-published Author?

Well, while there are certain difficulties to publishing through this platform for yourself, this doesn’t make becoming a success here impossible.

It will just take a lot more consideration on the other aspects of publishing that you may not have previously accounted for on your end.

You’ll have to come up with your marketing strategy, find your editor, and find your way of getting your name out there.

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