Self Publishing Survey: 58.54% Say Making Money is Top Motivation

The Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2016 found that the top answer to what motivates authors to self publish is to make money from book and eBook sales and royalties (58.54% of respondents). What is ironic is that 51.25% of surveyed authors are making less than $100 from their self published books and only 6.25% are making more than $10,000 in book income in 2016.

“As I’ve noted elsewhere, the self published book income question may be a moot point. There was a large number of business owners in the survey population (59.30% of all survey participants). While they may want to make money from their books, as they would from anything they sell, the book may merely be a tool for them to make more of their regular income,” says Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA, who conducted the survey.

The other two top motivations for self publishing were offering motivation, encouragement and help to others (52.44% of respondents) and building an expert status (48.78% of respondents). “These other two top three motivations also could be expected of business owners, particularly those in consulting fields. Again, the book income may be merely a profit center and not the center of all profit-making activities,” Dr. Thorne continued.

The Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2016 was conducted from July to November 2016 and anonymously surveyed 86 self published authors on a variety of issues including book sales and forecasts, motivations, challenges and familiarity with traditional and self publishing models. There were 82 authors who shared their motivations in the survey. Women, business owners, nonfiction authors, and age 40 to 60+ were highly represented in the entire survey population. Authors were recruited through social media, social media advertising and email invitations.

For comparison and to monitor trends, the survey is planned to be repeated in 2018. Full results of the 2016 survey are available as a Kindle eBook on at