Self Publishing Survey Reveals Authors’ Low Book Incomes, High Hopes

Business author and speaker, Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA, has published results from the Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2018. The survey was conducted from July to November 2018 and anonymously surveyed 163 self published authors on a variety of issues including book income and forecasts, motivations, challenges and familiarity with traditional and self publishing models.

“What I found most fascinating is how close the results were for book incomes and forecasts for both the 2016 and 2018 surveys. This is actually a troubling trend since it signals that there is not much, if any, growth in self published authors’ incomes over time,” says Thorne. In both the 2016 and 2018 surveys, about 73 percent of surveyed self published authors who answered the income question, and had at least 1 book published, made less than $1,000 in annual book income.

“What was surprising in the 2018 survey was that expression motivators (creativity, love of writing) topped money motivation for pursuing self publishing. This is in contrast to 2016 when making money was the top motivation. This could be due to a more diverse mix of authors this year.” In contrast to the 2016 survey where women, business owners, nonfiction authors, and age 40 to 60+ were highly represented, the 2018 survey represented a more diverse group including more men, fiction writers, and younger authors.

Results and analysis of the survey will be discussed by Dr. Thorne on her podcast, The Heidi Thorne Show, beginning January 8, 2019 and continuing over several weekly episodes. The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube. Full results of the survey are available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon at

Self Publishing Survey 2018