Chris A. Baird | September 9, 2020
How Many Books Does The Average Self Published Author Sell?

If you are curious about the number of books being sold by the average self-publishers, then you are at the right place. Find out how many books does the average self published author sell as well as some tips to help you on your self-publishing journey.

I Have Little Expectations At First

Today's question has three answers and the third answer is a secret you're going to want to stick around for. Because I'm going to tell you that the number of books other people are selling should not motivate you nor discourage you.

So, let's get into it. The question that was sent in today was, how many books does the average self published author sell?

Now, this is a very important question that many self-published authors or people who are considering self-publishing want to be able to get down to the correct answer here.

Because maybe if you find out that they don't sell any books, that might motivate you to not waste any time with this whole self-publishing thing. But then again, maybe if they're selling millions of books, then it would be like "wow, I could just do this, create a few books and that should be plenty".

If everybody is selling tons of books but there is obviously a range here that we are going to want to explore in today's answers. We are going to look at and see what exactly you can expect?

What the average look like? Also, what impact this is going to have on you? What choices you make and how it can impact your motivation if you aren't careful.

But before we get into the answers, check out my free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist and get started on your journey. If you are already a self-publisher, you're still going to want to check it out because you're probably missing steps.

I go through the tools I use. I go through all sorts of stuff that may be useful to you in your self-publishing journey. So, go ahead and check it out.

How many books does the average self published author sell? Well, I'll get in a little bit into my own story. When I first got started, I had some ideas I wanted to share with the world.

I'd heard about this whole Kindle revolution and the gold rush. It was very exciting. I must say I had very little expectations.

I didn't expect to sell many books at all, maybe I'd sell a couple. Just put some of my ideas out there and the book would probably die after some time. Nobody would be very interested in it.

If anybody bought it at all, initially, you maybe have some friends or family who buy the books though. I told my friends and family I didn't really want them to feel any need to buy them because I wasn't really targeting them anyways.

I don't know who is interested in the subjects I was doing. I was wanting people to download and buy those specific books. But I was a bit surprised.

When I first did come out with my book, I was so excited when I saw the first sale coming in. It was on a book on Achieving Your Goals which was my very first book. It took me forever to get the thing fully out.

Check out this related article: How Much Can You Make Self Publishing On Amazon?

I was trying to make things right and perfect even though all sorts of problems were found within this book. So I would be seeing a sale here and a sale there, one week and then maybe a couple of days with nothing. Then I'd see another sale and it would be a little bit exciting.

But it is nothing that would be particularly all that many sales. I wasn't making that much money, but per sale, since I didn't know anything about the secrets of pricing and such things.

So I was just trying the best that I could to get those sales. Now, I was not at all frustrated but a year later when I started getting towards the end of 2015 to 2016, then suddenly I was like "look, I don't know if this is going to work because the money coming in is so little".

Number Is Not So Relevant

Maybe I should try a different area. That was when I started taking some courses and started learning that there are a lot of tricks to the self-publishing game that can get the books selling.

Whether we're dealing with advertisements or optimizing the books, all of this stuff was not mentioned when I was first starting. The people I was listening to were making things too simple.

They were not actually discussing the strategies that I would wish to pick up and use at a later point. Until I discovered that yes when implementing the correct strategies then we can see thousands and tens of thousands of sales coming through on the books.

That is if you do the correct things which I'm going to discuss in a moment. So, how many books does the average self published author sell? Well, the answer is 250 copies on average.

So when a self-published author comes out for the entire lifespan of that book, 250 copies is a number that has been thrown around a bit. How exactly precise is this? You know, is it plus or minus?

I can't answer that but I can say that 250 is really not what most people would be thinking about. Because of the effort that you use to produce the book means you need to sell more than 250 copies if you are going to want to get your money back.

Especially if you paid money for the cover and other things like that. It takes a little bit of time to get that money back. 250 copies can be very demotivating but this isn't the worst part of the story because this number isn't exactly right, it's the average.

So we could be dealing with people who sell millions of copies of their self-published books. They are averaged in as well. So the actual, from like a normal person out on the street who's putting a book out there, it could be 2 to 10 copies of your book in total.

Check out this related article: How Many Books Are Self Published Annually?

It could be really bad and that would be quite depressing. So one of the things that I try to focus on is not what the average person is doing. It is what can you do to make sure your book is going to do not the average but way better than average.

That is what I have discovered of the 170 books that I have put on the market. Since then we've been able to get a lot better results than this, 2 to 5 copies or even 250 copies.

Let me get into the secret answers of the day. The reason you shouldn't pay attention to those numbers is that these people do not know how to optimize their book. They may be wonderful at writing books and coming up with some clever ideas and putting a book into the world.

But they have no idea how to sell their book. The hard truth when it comes to sales of anything is that marketing is more important than the product itself. That's a tough one for a lot of people to understand.

So you would be thinking the reason, a story if it's a good story, well then it should sell. That is simply not how this game goes. So let me get into some of the strategies.

There are 3 big problems that result in lousy sales. The average self-published author making a thousand dollars a year on Amazon which is also lousy. I'm going to tell you first, their marketing is completely wrong and what the wrong market is.

The reason we have the wrong market for those people is that they didn't bother to look at the keywords that people were already buying books on. Then make sure that they were going to put it into one of those markets that already exist.

Those markets that have a lot of books selling where there aren't that many books. So either you're choosing a market where nobody's buying anything or you're choosing an oversaturated market where the readers have too many books to choose from.

That means that you're going to sell fewer copies if you get the market right. Almost everything else can be forgiven but the bad market. I don't know how you're going to survive it.

Different Formats And Locations

You could be the very first author to write a new genre of book or answering new questions. Sometimes, if you get a book out during let's say like right now, we are in a period of crisis on some of these topics. You just shoot one out there in that subject.

Before, there's that many books and even the demand. You can do it but generally, it's like timing the market. It's incredibly difficult, it is better to choose an existing market.

Seat when the spike starts to go up and then jump into that market for books when you're going to choose what you're going to write on. You can also have your ghostwriters write on.

The second one is your books are not optimized. So that is to say your covers are lousy and the titles are not things people are searching for. You need to make sure that your covers are matching what other people's covers in the same genre look like.

We're not trying to be doing rocket science here. Your descriptions are terrible, they're not focusing on telling everybody what the book is all about or maybe even what happens in the book.

As opposed to writing it in a way that will create an open loop that your reader wants to come into. So that's a big one. The keywords you're choosing are not working very well, the ones you have registered on your account.

Maybe the category you chose was off and then the formatting of the book and the table of contents are off. Notice I didn't even mention the contents of the book. As long as the contents are okay, you're going to be able to sell copies of the book.

If the book is lousy, you're going to get one started on it. But generally, this isn't the reason books don't sell. It's because they are simply not in the wrong market and they didn't optimize.

Check out this related article: What Are The Steps To Self Publish A Book?

The final thing is you have people who create a book and say, "okay I'm going to put it in Kindle, and then that's it". When in reality they don't understand you need to publish it in as many formats as possible.

So, you are going to have an audiobook, a hardback, and maybe a paperback in different locations. Also, you are going to have your Kindle eBook, maybe other EPUB versions of this book, and maybe even PDF.

You are going to have it as many formats as possible because there are so many people in the world who love to read in different formats. Then the other thing we are going to want to keep in mind is that you're going to want to distribute it through as many distributors as possible.

I'll be using ACX to get the audiobook distributed. I'll be using Amazon to get my Kindle and my paperback done. I would use Ingram Spark for additional wider distribution.

I would be using Smashwords for the EPUB version and getting it into libraries and such for the digital version of the book. And finally Lulu for the hardback. Those are just a couple of things and places that I would be doing.

All of the formattings would go through a tool called Jutoh. I use it to make sure that the book looks fantastic in terms of quality. If the book is well-edited, then it hits the market and we start to see some sales in the book.

That is when the excitement begins and that will result in you getting not 250 copies but maybe 1,000 copies or even 10,000 copies. It's unbelievable the number of sales that can be made if your book is sold the right way.

Within terms of the marketing and the way that you have it all set up. You're in the right market, enough distribution, and you will be blown away by what is possible.

So, how many books does the average self published author sell? What have you found? Have you been able to meet that average?

Have you beaten it or maybe you have done less than that? I would love to know below in the comments. I respond to 100% of the comments that I get.

I can maybe help you out if you have any questions on how to go about doing this. Check out my other blogs and videos to find more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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