The Author’s Guild recently conducted another survey on author earnings, and the trend is alarming.
Basically, author earnings for full-time writers have dropped significantly from $25,000 a year (2009) to $17,500 annually in 2015.
That represents an annual income drop of over 30%.
When we compare the two surveys (2009 and 2015), part-time writers’ incomes drop even more, by 38% ($7250 down to $4500).
That downward trend of both full and part-time author earnings from 2009 is quite concerning and something all writers need to be aware of.
No, I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, but I do want you to know the problems in front of you so that you can figure out solutions that will help you to avoid situations like this.
Income Down, But Publishing Up
Even though the income trend is downward, the publishing trend, especially self-publishing, is upward. That means every single book is going to share that bookstore shelf with lots more competition.
Although there are multiple reasons why author earnings are dropping, increased competition is one of the major issues all published and self-published writers face. Today, the pie pieces are getting cut too small.
So what do you do to overcome these obstacles?
Book Marketing Increases Author Earnings
You can write the best book in the world with a gripping plot line, stellar characterization, and beautifully appropriate setting. BUT, if no one knows anything about your book, they simply are not going to buy it.
Think Pet Rock in 1975. What a dumb thing to sell! However, with superb marketing and great positioning, rocks with no value in your driveway became the hit in the toy store, selling more than 5 million in 6 months.
Gary Dahl invented that turkey, yet walked away with $15 million.
Think bottled water. Yes, plain old water in a plastic bottle. In 2007 alone, it made over $11 BILLION for the producers.
Every single company had their own slant on this product: Nestle has Pure Life while Fiji implies Yoga. Perrier still is perceived as classy, and so on. Each found an image they wished to support and all advertising was created around it.
Perception is a great deal of the success here, while the common water fountain slowly went into disuse.
Think IPhone. The phone that can do everything a desktop computer can. . .almost. Let’s include all smart phones here, for they all do basically the same things.
We need a phone to make calls and stay in contact. Texting is nice, and a phone camera even nicer.
BUT REALLY! Do we need to consult our email accounts and twitter on an hourly basis? Yet, when you stand in the mall and look at everyone passing, they all will be holding a phone and doing some kind of “important” task.
Look how we have been convinced of the value of some type of smart phone in our lives, yet we functioned well before it appeared in the marketplace. They convinced us we had to have it. Marketing at its best.
Author Earnings Grow with a Plan
No, as a writer, you probably are not going to have the success of a pet rock or bottled water or smart phone.
However, if you do nothing about marketing your book, I can almost guarantee that your book will be one of those horrid statistics that tell of books selling only 250 copies. If you don’t sing its praises, who will?
Create a smart, clever marketing plan and execute it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money marketing, but you will spend a lot of time marketing.
This is how you go to the top of the author earnings: you market, you sell your book. Do it with enthusiasm, and watch how your following will grow.
First thing to do, though, when you want to increase your author earnings is create your marketing plan.