How many books should you expect to sell if you publish a…
Self Published book?
Small Press book?
Another way of looking at it is that if you sell less than the average for your category, you will be considered a loser.
But you never know.
The numbers could be on your side.
1000 - The number of books in the first run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, half of which were sold to libraries.
$2,500 - advance for Stephan King's first novel
$105,000 - the US advance for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
1.3 million - number of copies sold on the release day of Breaking Dawn
15 million - number of copies sold on the release day of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
17 million - number of books sold for the entire Twilight series
400 million - number of books for the entire Harry Potter series
Yeah, yeah. We know. Mifty-gazillion books sold by I.M. Famous and thirty books sold through Publish America by Ikaint Ritegood. But what is a realistic expectation?
Medium Publisher or Mid-list book with a Big Publisher
So if you sell genre you probably need to sell at least 5000 to earn out your advance, and preferably more than 10,000 to prove you should be published again.
How much money should you expect to make per novel?
Average Advance for a Category Romance Novel
Average Advance for first Fantasy or Science Fiction Novel
Average Advance for Fantasy or Science Fiction Novel by a multi-published author
Ok, thanks Google, but that's not what I meant. I meant per novel sold.
As far as I can tell, the average is about $1 per book sold. With a big publisher, you might receive less. Big publishers offer between 5% and 15% royalties, with 10% being common. That means a book has to sell for at least $10.00 for you to make $1. If it is a mass market paperback, I assume the author either is receiving 15% or else only makes about .80 cents on each book.
Small publishers, at least the epublishers I am familiar with, charge the consumer less for your books and pay you more, usually about $1.20 per book, or between 30% and 40% royalties. Large publishers want to charge a lot for ebooks, and give authors only 25% royalties, though this may change as a result of the Wylie fiasco. Amazon is apparently offering self-publishers an awesome 70% in royalties, though remember, this has to cover the upfront costs invested by the author/publisher. That means an indie author can offer books for half the price of a paperback, $3.99, and still make more than $2 per book. So, though an indie author may sell less books, she or he only has to sell half as many books to make the same amount as an author with a big publisher. (Correct me if I am wrong, indie publishers).
Just something to consider.
Jump in if I've missed something!