How Much Money Can You Make From a Nonfiction Book?
In today's article, I want to share how much money you can make from writing a nonfiction book. I'm writing this for you specifically if you've been meaning to write a book or have a message, a story, or expertise to share with the world.
Over the past 5 years, I've worked on over 20 books. One generated $15,000+ in book sales in the first year. Another brought the author consulting clients, a book tour, and speaking engagements. Two other books were used in colleges—both for teaching and professional development.
Without further ado, let's dive into how much you can make from a nonfiction book.
Table of Contents
The 3 Ways to Make Money from a Book
First, realize that there are 3 ways to monetize a nonfiction book:
- Book royalties
- Speaking engagements
- Selling related products/services
1. Book Royalties
Book royalties = the money you personally collect from selling copies of your book. Here you have two possible scenarios. Either you self-publish through a platform like Amazon or you seek a traditional publishing deal.
If you publish through Amazon, you'll retain 35% to 70% of the profits from your book. For example, I have a book on Amazon that sells for $24.99 and earns me $21.30 in royalties. I have another one priced at $6.99, which earns me $4.30 in royalties.
Let's say for now that you price your book somewhere in between $6.99 and $24.99 and you earn $15 in royalties per copy:
- 100 copies = $1,500
- 500 copies = $7,500
- 1,500 copies = $22,500
With a growing audience and a good marketing system, you can bring these numbers yearly, if not monthly. And once the book is published, this income is almost completely passive.
Now, this example relies on selling your book through Amazon. If you make your own book funnel, you can make higher royalties and make significantly more than the numbers above. You can also use the book to gain:
- email subscribers
- potential buyers
- new customers
The other option is to pursue a traditional book deal, which is more difficult but will save you publishing costs. In this scenario, you can expect to make about $1 per copy (sometimes less). However, if you have a large audience and your book sells well, this $1 per copy could turn out to be a lot of money.
While this isn't the norm by any means, best-selling authors sometimes sell as many as 20,000 copies per week. That amounts to a whopping $80,000 per month. (Note that this comes with book tours and talks).
2. Speaking Engagements
Once you have a book under your belt, not only is it easier to land speaking engagements, but you can also command higher fees. According to Foundr Magazine, here are the baseline fee ranges based on experience:
- Fewer than three talks: $500 – $2,500 per talk
- 3 – 8 talks/proven expert/first-time author: $5,000 – $10,000 per talk
- 8 – 12 talks/micro-influencer (5K-100K followers)/multiple books: $10,000-$20,000 per talk
- 12+ talks/social media influencer (100K+ followers)/bestselling author – $20,000 – $35,000 per talk
As an expert/first-time author, you can make as much as $10,000 per talk. Do this several times a year, and you can add $20,000 to $50,000 to your yearly revenues.
While you may not be interested in doing public speaking, what matters here is the optionality you gain from the book. If organizations are willing to pay you up to $10,000 per talk, what else can you do to generate more revenue?
The short answer: a lot.
3. Selling Related Products/Services
This one is where the real money is, and a lot of people here on LinkedIn know that. If you have a product/service, such as a coaching or consulting offer, you can start making a LOT of money on the back of the book.
Once you're selling books, people are getting to know you. Maybe you're booking speaking engagements at this point, but maybe you're not. Regardless, your readers now know, like, and trust you. You're gaining social media followers.
These new people are potential buyers.
If your offer is $1,500 or less, and especially if it has a low profit margin, selling related products/services may not be extremely profitable. However, if your offer is $2,000-$3,000 or more, you could see a dramatic increase in your bank account.
With the right system, this means you could easily bring in an extra $10,000 per month in income.
Fitting It All Together
So, how do you bring this all together?
If you add up all three different revenue streams, you can be looking at anywhere between $25,000 and $150,000 in additional yearly income. Of course, how much you'll make exactly depends on you, your book, your audience, your marketing system, and the rest of your activities.
But first, ask yourself the following questions:
- How big is my audience? And how can I grow it?
- What is the story/message/expertise that I want to share?
- Which angle has the most potential for book sales and talks?
- Which channels and platforms can I leverage to sell my book?
- What do I currently sell? Or what can I sell on the back of the book?
Based on how you answer these questions, you can write a dangerously impactful book that brings significant additional revenues. And while outcomes inevitably vary, the reality is that the right author with the right message and the right system is bound to profit greatly from a book.
If you would like to learn more about what the right book, the right publishing path, and the right strategy would be for you, book a free book planning session, and I will personally dive into what you have to offer and how to monetize it through a book.
The call is free of charge, and my commitment to you is to make you see opportunities you may have missed as well as to be transparent.
This call is for you if you...
... have been thinking about writing a book.
... sell high-margin products/services (or plan to do so).
... have the desire to scale your message, story, or expertise.
Article by Leandre Larouche
Leandre Larouche is a writer, coach, and the founder of Trivium Writing.