How Much Do Authors Make on Amazon?
In this blog post we’ll explore how much writers make selling books on Amazon and Kindle.
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Can Authors Really Make Money Selling Books / eBooks on Amazon & Kindle?
Today we’re going to talk about amazon book and ebook sale data. Just how much money are authors making selling books in Amazon. In today’s tutorial we’re going to explore the answer to that question in more detail.
We’ve published this data over on our site at Scribble (see our Amazon book sale calculator). So head over to scribble to search through amazon book sales based on your avorite authors or genres of interest.
We’ve also put together a short video teaching you to how to use the book sale calculator.
How Much do Authors Making Selling Books on Amazon?
Now, Unfortunately, this is an area where statistics are not easy to come by since the data is not publicly available. So how can we find amazon book sale data then? Well we can use publicly available metrics to come up with best-guess book revenue numbers.
Now this is a hotly debated topic, but one of the best ways to find amazon book sale data is to simply use the number or book ratings as a benchmark to help us come up with sale data.
The truth is that most online activity can be boiled down to a conversion rate or at least a conversion rate range which is relatively narrow.
So we’ve looked through hundreds of articles and forum threads and spoke with an equal number of authors about their book sales to review ratios and we’ve found that most authors have strikingly similar sales to review or ratings ratios. This means that roughly the same number of readers leave feedback on books they read between authors. The review ratio varies greatly between product categories, but for books and ebooks it seems to sit between 1 – 5%.
Amazon Book Sale Data
So over on scribble, we’ve published this data (see it here). It looks something like this:
How the Amazon Book Sale Calculator Works
Essentially, the way this amazon book sale calculator works is by taking the review data from the top sellers from many different book genres and then running it through an equation which takes into account the likely rating to sale conversion rate and then it provides data such as total book sales, monthly book sales, total revenue generated, monthly revenue generated as well as revenue / page and revenue / word.
Notice up to the right of the data there is an important slider. This Amazon book sale calculator allows you to establish your own threshold for how conservative you want to be with Amazon book sale estimations.
Notice, if I slide the slider to the right, I’m being less conservative by increasing the sales to review conversion rate. The conversion rate % can be seen just above the slider.
Or for example, if we set this to 1%, this means that we assume that out of 100 book purchases, 1 reader will leave a rating. If we want to be less conservative, we can slide the slider over to the right. For example, if I place the slider here, it will now assume that 2% of book readers left feedback on the book (or 2 out of 100 readers).
Amazon Books Sales / Month
Also, because we store the book’s publishing date we can also figure out what the average number of book sales / month are. For example, if a book in this list was published 12 months ago, we would be able to take the total sales and divide that by the number of months the book has been on the market. Now of course, this is just an average and doesn’t take into consideration monthly sales volatility, but it allows us to benchmark monthly sales performance for books.
Similarly, because the book price and kindle price of these titles is also publicly available, we can use that data within our equation to find out the total sales of a title, as well as their likely total monthly sales. Keep in mind that these numbers change as you move the conversion rate slider. Again, being more conservative will make these numbers smaller, being less conservative will make the numbers bigger.
Average Amazon Revenue per Page or per Word
Lastly, because a book’s page count is also publicly available information, we can then take our total book sales data and divide that by the number of pages / book, to come up with some interesting vanity metrics. We can also get more granular with this by coming up with the amount of revenue generated / word. All of these stats can be seen just to the right of each book cover.
Amazon Book Sale Data by Genre
If you’re interested in exploring this data in more detail, you can sort the data by book genre. For example, here I’ll select sci-fi and now I’ll see sale performance results only for sci fi books.
Not Perfect… But it Gets You in the Ballpark
This amazon book sale calculator tool will likely get you in the ballpark in terms of estimating amazon book and eBook sales. That said, there will be some outliers in here that won’t really make any sense, so you need to use your own human judgment to sort through the data as well. For example, there are many factors that can screw this data either upwards or downwards.
For example, there could be classic books which have historically sold well, but don’t perform that well any longer. So you’ll see a lower book sales estimation in the results.
Also, many authors can be quite aggressive when it comes to improving their book’s metrics. They could give books away for free or at a steep discount to start collecting favorable reviews and ratings on their books. This type of behavior would skew their book’s sales data artificially upwards.
Similarly, authors with bigger friend and influencer networks would likely get more reviews and ratings, especially early on after their launch. Again, this would skew their numbers upwards.
Also, some authors sell more books off amazon, either through local retail outlets, their own websites or on other platforms.
Also, we’re just looking for total sales data here. This isn’t how much the authors make, but how much the books sell. This doesn’t take into consideration Amazon’s cut, the publishers cut or any advertising fees associated with promoting the book or book production costs.
There are other outlier cases as well, but you get the idea. For the most part, this calculator will help you see and compare a book’s sales data as it relates to other books being sold on Amazon. It’s not a perfect system, but no publicly available perfect system exists. We hope by allowing you to control how conservative you want to be with your book sales estimates that you’ll be able to find realistic book sales data.
And before signing off, I want to remind you, that if you’re an author, and you’re looking for writing software to help you keep your writing work organized, scribble provides tools that allow you to do just that.
So if this sounds interesting to you and you want to try it out, head over to scribble today to try it out.
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