The Principle of Digital Abundance – thoughts on author earnings

Your required reading of the day. Damien Walter’s analysis of Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings report (which you will want to read as well).
There are certainly reasons to be optimistic about self-publishing, but will it last?

Damien Walter

Hugh Howey has caused a brand new stir in the writing and publishing world with the Author Earnings report. If you don’t know, Howey is one of the most significant breakout “indie authors” of recent years. Now he’s disrupting the industry in a much more direct way with Author Earnings. Both Amazon and the Big 5 publishers are obscure about ebook sales. Author Earnings jumps through a few hoops (which no doubt data analysts will pick apart) to arrive at some…interesting ebook sales figures for the Kindle platform.

Traditional authors being screwed by their publishers.

First let’s be clear. This data is pretty shonky. There’s no real way to tell how accurate it is. But, in the absence of transparency from the industry itself (either Amazon of the Big 5) it’s the best data we writers have access to. And the story it tells is shocking. Many people who…

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2 thoughts on “The Principle of Digital Abundance – thoughts on author earnings”

  1. While I commend Howey’s intentions to show that self-publishing is a viable option for writers (I’m a huge fan of his work), I’m not sure his numbers support that claim. The fact is he only used the top 7000 sellers. There’s like, what, 800,000 per year self-published? Or something absurd like that.

    The numbers he presents (cobbled together at best, we won’t go into that) only show such a small fraction of the self-publishing picture. Seems to me that’s like trying to say Bill Gates’ earnings are representative of every Americans’ earnings.


    1. True.

      The other side of that, however, is how big a share of those bestsellers are self-published. From the graphs he shows, there is little incentive to publish traditionally (apart from, perhaps, the advances).


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