Back in 2009, I posted a summary of the breakdown of the royalties we paid on our titles. Susannah, our managing editor, has been suggesting for a while that I should update it. I was surprised by what I found.
These pie charts show the percentage of titles that earn royalties in a particular range. (Click on a chart to see a large version.)
Below $10k, the numbers are about the same. That's not surprising—mostly they reflect the vanity titles that were around in 2009. But above the $10k mark, things are a little different.
In 2009, 70% of titles made more than $25k. By 2013, that number has grown to 74%.
In 2009, 41% of titles made over $50k. By 2013, it's 46%.
And while roughly the same percentage of titles made between $75k and $100k (12% in 2009, 13% now), there's a big increase in the $100–$200k wedge, up from 4% to 12%. The only drop at the top is the >$400k wedge, and that simply reflects that we haven't had a title as big as the Rails and Ruby books recently, while the overall number of titles has grown.
These numbers were pleasantly surprising. I know that as a business we are insulated from the plummeting fortunes of more conventional publishers. But I hadn't realized that were were even more attractive to authors now than back in 2009.
Maybe it's time for you to consider writing a book…