Ah, it's a bit of a taboo question, isn't it? Asking anyone how much money they make equates to treading into murky waters. When it comes to authors, some are forthcoming with their earnings, while others prefer to keep mum about it. Someone asked me the other day, "If your book is 99 cents on Kindle, how much of that do you get?" And I thought other non-authors might wonder the same thing, so here are some numbers for you. **I am NOT going to get into specifics here. What follows is general info only:
For books self-published on Amazon that are under $2.99, the author will get 35% of that price for a royalty.
For books self-published on Amazon that are $2.99 and up, the author will get 70% of that price for a royalty.
Example: When Beacon of Love was on sale for 99 cents, I earned 35 cents for every book sold. When that price went up to $2.99, I now earn $2.09 for every book sold.
Note: most small presses offer somewhere from 35-40% royalties on the price of their books. When Beacon of Love was published previously, on a list price of $4.99, I received approximately $2.00 for every book sold. You can start to see why authors who feel comfortable going through the publishing process themselves prefer to put the $$ out up front for a possible 70% royalty for the rest of that book's life.
Now, although I currently have 7 books in print, 4 with Samhain and 3 as self-published titles, I don't sell particularly well. I will chalk this up to many things, including the fact that I don't spend enough time marketing, there was a period of almost 3 years when I didn't release a title at all, and my books fall somewhere in the PG-13 to R rated range, which is less popular among romance readers than the really hot stuff. I do, however, have all but 2 of these books also available as audio books as well.
I will say this: before I self-published any title, AND before most of my books were available in audio, my monthly royalty income fell anywhere from $10 to $50. Since releasing my 3 additional books as self-published titles, adding in the audio book royalties, my monthly royalty income falls somewhere between $75 and $200.
(I will also add that last month I made one of my titles free, The Promise of Paradise. I've had about 11,000 downloads of that title in the first month, and while its downloads have slowed to around 20-40 a day, that still means people are putting it on their Kindles. Also, I sold 50 copies of Beacon of Love in that same month (up from 20 copies the month before), which I will partly attribute to readers being introduced to the characters AND my putting the buy link for Beacon of Love into the back of The Promise of Paradise)
My sales are not stellar, by any stretch of the imagination. However, I put those numbers out there today for a few reasons: to show that the more titles you have, the more you will likely make; having multiple streams of income helps (go for audio books if you can); making a title free can drive readers to purchase your other titles; and if you're willing to put forth the effort and the money on your own, before the return, self-publishing CAN bring in more money than publishing with a traditional press.
And now...I'm off to write and add to that monthly check!