How Much do Authors Make? An Honest Look

Many people believe being an author is a low-paying job; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many different factors come into play such as the type of content produced, networking skills, and the internet.

In this article, we are going to discuss how much authors make. We will also look at some ways to increase your earnings as an author.

What Is An Author

An author is somebody who writes books for a living. However, every author has their own unique voice and way of writing. When we break it down, there are two main categories that authors tend to stick to – fiction and non-fiction.

Within these two categories, there are sub-categories such as…

  • Romance
  • Self Improvement
  • Biographies
  • Action
  • History
  • Horror

Different Types Of Authors


Fiction books are based on things that aren’t true to life.

For example, if you were to write a children’s book about aliens, it would be considered fiction.

The great thing about fiction books is they allow you to disconnect and experience a new reality. You can fully submerge yourself in the author’s writing, taking a break from the everyday stresses of life.

With that being said, people who read fiction books have been shown to sleep better, have a better memory, and maintain better relationships.


Another popular type of book is nonfiction. The purpose of this type of writing can be to tell a true story or provide knowledge on a certain subject.

Let’s take the self-improvement industry for example…

You can walk into any bookstore throughout the US and see shelf after shelf swarmed with self-improvement books. All these books are designed to help the reader achieve a specific outcome.

On the flip side, you can also find tons of autobiographies in bookstores. They are another type of non-fiction book that allows the reader to experience life through a different lens.

Most Highly Paid Authors

J.K Rowling ($1 Billion)

When we think of authors, the first person that comes to mind is J.K Rowling. She is most famous for writing the sequence of Harry Potter books between 1997 and 2007. It’s estimated that she sold over 500 million copies worldwide, with 180 million of those sales being in the US.

So how much does J.K Rowling earn?

On average, J.K. Rowling makes around $60 million each year. Although, she has a combined net worth of around $1 billion, according to various sources on the internet.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for J.K. Rowling though…

The first Harry Potter book she published (Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone) was rejected by more than a dozen publishers. It wasn’t until a small publishing agency in London gave her a chance.

And what a great decision they made…

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone went on to become a best-seller.

Stephen King

Stephen King grew up in a single-mother household. Although he lived with his mother, he didn’t see her much because she worked and tried to support the family.

He had always been a fan of horror books; however, it wasn’t until he attended the University of Maine Orono that he began honing his writing skills.

Using nothing but a typewriter.

Stephen King ended up publishing his first thriller/horror novel in 1974. As you may know, it was called Carrie and went on to sell millions of copies.

And the rest is history!

So just how much does Stephen King make?

According to Statista, Stephen King earned $17 million from June 2018-June 2019.

Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is the complete opposite of Stephen King. While they’re both great writers, Nora has a softer touch and writes romance novels, rather than horror.

She was born on the 10th of October 1950 and began writing at age 29. One day, there was a blizzard outside and she decided to try out writing for the first time.

Fast forward to today and she has written over 225 romance novels. Some of her most popular books are The Vision In White, Sea Swept, and Dance Upon The Air.

With so many novels sold, you’re probably wondering how much she makes, right!?

While there’s no way to be sure, some sources suggest she makes $20 million per year. With that being said, she’s also the 5th most highly paid author in the world.

How Can You Get Paid More As A Writer…

As you probably know, writers aren’t known for having the highest paying salaries in the world. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be well-paid; you just need to take advantage of the tools you have at your disposal.

Utilize The Internet

If you’re an author, the internet is a great way to get your name out there and start making some sales. Whether you’re going to start your own website or use Amazon to publish your book, utilizing the internet allows you to reach more people faster.

Start A Blog

Many people believe blogging is dead without any clear evidence. However, that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Starting a blog is a great way to get yourself in front of thousands and millions of people, in some cases.

Once you’ve started a blog in your chosen industry, all that’s left to do is create, edit, and publish your Ebook.

Because you’ve built up credibility in a niche, you can also charge higher prices than if you were trying to sell physical copies. What’s more, if you’d rather offer your book in physical form, you can also do that too.

Write For Other People

When people start writing, there’s normally a period whereby they don’t earn enough money to survive. Luckily, there is a way to prevent this from happening.

While you’re beginning your journey as an author, we recommend looking around online for writing gigs to supplement your already low income.

That way, you can still use your writing skills to pay the bills while publishing your first book.

Before We Part

With the internet being such a big part of everybody’s life, publishing a book has never been easier. You can use platforms such as Amazon or a personal blog to get your name out there and sell your book.

In turn, this means you can charge higher prices and make more money.