My Book Was A Bestseller On Amazon, And I Made…$12,000

frustrated at computer

Photo: Flickr Sybren Stüvel

Successful authors don’t make nearly the amount of money you might think they do, we learn from Patrick Wensink.Wensink’s novel “Broken Piano for President” had spent a week at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, outselling “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.”

He and his family were obviously thrilled, but then they saw the royalty check it was a jarring surprise.


As Wensink explains, “it’s not because [writers] have chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.”

So why don’t more working writers talk about the less-than-desirable pay for their work? Wensink proposes that it’s simply “because it’s embarrassing.”

This isn’t a problem originating with Amazon, the bookstores, or even the authors themselves. This is nothing more than a symptom of the publishing industry doing what it needs to stay operational. It seems reasonable to posit that an author would rather see his book published than unpublished. And since the publishing companies are holding all the cards, they can arrange deals to be as beneficial as they like.

Head over to Salon to read Wensink’s entire article >

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