Self Publishing Survey: 29.63% of Authors Say Time, Money Issues are Top Challenges

The Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2016 found that the top challenges self published authors face are in a three-way tie: no time, not making enough money from books, and don’t know where or how to market books (29.63% of survey respondents for each).

“Given that there was a large segment of business owning authors in the survey population (59.30% of all survey participants), simultaneous challenges of time and money could be expected,” says Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA, who conducted the survey.

Other than the three issues in the number one spot, challenges of being overwhelmed by the self publishing process (23.46% of respondents), afraid of book not being good enough and causing embarrassment, and not being able to organize thoughts (22.22% of respondents, tied for third place). “Overwhelm and thought disorganization can also be time issues. So it is not surprising that these were also popular answers,” Dr. Thorne continued.

Skill challenges for writing or publishing ability ranked at the bottom for surveyed authors, except for the fear of not being good enough which tied in the top three challenges overall. “When viewed against surveyed authors’ second top self publishing motivation of building an expert status, one can easily understand why this fear and potential embarrassment ranked high. These authors’ reputations are riding on the quality of the books they self publish,” Dr. Thorne explains.

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 81 authors who shared their challenges 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