Author Royalty Earnings in Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing

Arree Chung

Are you curious about how much money you can earn as an author or author illustrator of children’s books? Do you already have a plan for whether you’ll self-publish your stories or sell them to a traditional publisher? Would you like to see some real numbers?

In the following video, Arree Chung shares real publishing numbers, his own earnings from his traditionally published books, and how you can project what kind of money a self-published book is earning on Amazon

After you watch the video, I’ll highlight some of Arree’s takeaways for you.

Takeaway #1: Make a Great Book

Invest in your craft and everything you need for a quality book. The writing and illustration both need to be professional and appealing.

Takeaway #2: Ask Why You’re Choosing Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing

You’re going to make a smaller profit per book through traditional publishing, but a traditional publishing company takes all of the risk up front. They pay you for your story. If you’re an author, they find and pay the illustrator. They take care of the editing, design, some marketing, and distribution. 


On the other hand, you can make more per book through self-publishing. But do you want to take on the marketing and production expenses of making your book? If you’re hiring an illustrator for a self-published book, a hardcover book will probably cost you $30,000. You can cut your costs nearly in half if you illustrate and do a lot of the work yourself. Print-on-demand can save you even more money. But you will still need to put time and money into marketing if you want your book to sell.


Our hope is that seeing real numbers will help you choose the best strategy for you. If you want to learn more about building an author business, Arree offers classes on the subject through Storyteller Academy.


Thanks for reading! If you have insights you'd like to share, please comment below.

Picture of Myrna Foster
Myrna Foster

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems.

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