Become a member


May 29, 2024

Indie author survey results released

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has released this year’s The Big Indie Author Data Drop report, highlighting key trends in self-publishing over the past year. The findings paint a positive picture about the current state of self-publishing including higher earnings, greater success for authors from marginalised backgrounds, and improved perceptions of self-publishing.

The report used survey data gathered from over 2,000 self-published authors from around the world, and was collated with assistance from industry organisations across the U.S., U.K., and Australia. 

Some of the most interesting findings include:

  • Authors who self-publish are out-earning authors in traditional publishing. Self-publishing authors report that their median wage was US$12,759, which is a 53% increase since 2022. The mean wage for self-publishing authors is also reported to be higher, coming in at US$82,600 which is a 34% increase from 2022. Meanwhile, the median wage for authors who are traditionally published in the UK, US and Canada sits between US$5,000 – US$8,000 and appears to be in decline. In Australia, the Macquarie University Author Income survey puts Australian authors at a mean earning of AU$18,200 which is roughly equivalent to US$12,000 and includes both traditionally and self-published authors. 


  • Self-publishing authors from marginalised communities earn more than their counterparts. Men earn 41% more than women in traditional publishing, however, the opposite rings true in indie publishing, with women earning 40.9% more than men. Self-publishing authors within the LGBTQI+ community also report receiving a higher earning than they would in traditional publishing, earning 19% more than their heterosexual counterparts. 


  • Gen Z are choosing print books over digital versions (Gen Z are defined as people born between 1997 – 2012).  Almost 40% of Gen Z read daily or a few days each week, with 55% reading at least once a week. Nielsen Book Data highlights that, despite Gen Z frequently turning to online reading materials, they still prefer print books, accounting for 80% of print book purchases for that cohort from November 2021-2022. Furthermore, in the UK libraries report an increase of Gen Z users utilising their public spaces and services. 


  • Perception of self-publishing is improving. In a study conducted by Kingston University, 800 authors were surveyed to gather more information about their perception of self-publishing. 93% of authors responded that they had a somewhat or extremely positive perception about self-publishing. 86% percent of self-published authors selected ‘yes’ when asked if they would recommend self-publishing to others, and just over half of those surveyed did not approach an agent or publisher before choosing to self-publish, indicating that more authors are choosing self-publishing from the onset as their preferred publishing model. 


  • The reach of Kindle Unlimited’s subscription programme is improving but remuneration to authors is not keeping up. Self-published authors account for over 50% of Kindle’s Top 400 books for 2023. In 2023, Kindle Unlimited grew by 18%. Despite the growth, Amazon’s page-read royalty payments only grew by 12% which resulted in indie author’s pay rate for page-reads dropping by 5.5%, seeing a lower return. 


  • Self-publishing authors are aware of AI but are hesitant to use it in the writing process. Written Word Media, a U.S. book promotion service, asked indie authors in their annual survey how they would engage with AI. 86% of authors said ‘no’ when asked if they would ever use AI to write text in a book, and 70.8% said ‘no’ when asked if they would use AI to help write a book (i.e. seeking assistance from AI in other areas of book creation outside of generating text). However, when asked if they would use AI to create marketing assets, the responses were more evenly distributed with 46.6% saying ‘yes’, 31.7% saying ‘no’, and 21.7% saying ‘not sure’. The results demonstrate a strong scepticism about AI’s usefulness in the writing process.