17 Author Success Stories & How Much They Make [2023]

Updated: December 8th, 2023
Become An Author

17 Author Success Stories & How Much They Make [2023]

Becoming an author is an exciting journey that involves creating and publishing written works, such as books, novels, or articles that reflect one’s ideas, stories, or expertise.

Authors can establish themselves through traditional publishing routes or self-publishing, utilizing their literary skills to connect with readers and potentially earn revenue from book sales.

Traditional publishing involves submitting a manuscript to a publishing house or literary agent who will review and decide if it is suitable for publication.

On the other hand, self-publishing gives authors complete control over the publishing process, allowing them to publish their work independently and market it on their own.

You can generate income through book sales, royalties, and opportunities such as speaking engagements or workshops.

Here are some real life author and writer success stories:

1. Conundrum Publishing ($240K/year)

Nick Thacker stumbled into full-time writing after realizing he was making more from writing novels than from his 9-5 job. He started by self-publishing his books and honing his craft, eventually building a full-service book production firm and earning around $10,000 to $20,000 per month in royalties from his thriller and action-adventure novels.

How much they make: $240K/year
Current team size: 2

article

How I Generate $10K/Month As An Indie Writer

This case study follows full-time thriller and action-adventure author Nick Thacker who earns between $10k to $20k per month from writing, predominantly through Amazon Kindle Unlimited sales, and goes in-depth into his self-publishing strategy which maximizes sales and minimizes costs, such as developing a mailing list and utilizing print-on-demand services.

About
Nick started Conundrum Publishing almost 7 years ago
Revenue
Nick grew the business to $20K/month

2. Front Line Publishing Inc ($228K/year)

James Rosone, a former military interrogator, turned to writing as a form of PTSD therapy. After realizing a gap in the market for authentic military thrillers, he and his wife co-wrote and self-published their own books. Since their debut in 2015, they have published eighteen books and earned an impressive $47,365 in a single month.

How much they make: $228K/year
Current team size: 2

article

How I Turned PTSD Therapy Into A Six Figure Income

Military veteran turned author builds a six-figure self-publishing business through rapid release and effective marketing strategies, with a current monthly average revenue of $19,000.

About
James started Front Line Publishing Inc almost 8 years ago
Revenue
James grew the business to $19K/month

So... can you actually make money with a author?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. DragonTree Publishing ($2.4K/year)

This British founder's idea for a business came about when she realized the potential market for a guidebook to the astronomical observatory on the Spanish island of La Palma. Through personal connections and targeted marketing, the founder has sold thousands of copies of her guidebook, and plans to continue expanding her book collection and guiding services. The combination of tour guiding and self-publishing has allowed her to have a good quality of life on the island.

How much they make: $2.4K/year
Current team size: 0

article

How To Write A Travel Guidebook And Sell Thousands Of Copies

Learn how a writer and tour guide turned her niche knowledge of the Spanish island of La Palma into a successful book business, earning β…“ of her modest income through sales of her self-published guide book to the island's astronomical observatory and other publications, often selling directly to observatory visitors and other outlets, and how the books promote her income-earning work.

About
Sheila started DragonTree Publishing over 11 years ago
Revenue
Sheila grew the business to $200/month

4. How to Start a Successful Creative Agency ($6K/year)

Andy Strote came up with the idea for his book, "How to Start a Successful Creative Agency," after realizing that many creative services companies struggle with the business side of things. As someone who built successful creative agencies himself, he decided to share his knowledge and expertise through a book filled with proven business tips and techniques. Since its launch, Andy has focused on growing his social media presence, building his email list, and writing blog posts to attract and retain customers.

How much they make: $6K/year
How much did it cost to start: $2K
Current team size: 0

article

How I Self-Published A Book And Earned $500 So Far

Andy Strote's book, How to Start a Successful Creative Agency, offers proven business tips for freelancers, employees, students, and side hustlers in the creative industry who want to take their business to the next level, with over 23 chapters covering client relationships, billing, and working with employees, with around $500 in sales since its launch.

About
Andy started How to Start a Successful Creative Agency over 4 years ago
Revenue
Andy grew the business to $500/month
Costs
It cost Andy $2000 to start the business

So... can you actually make money with a author?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo ($3.3K/year)

Katie, also known as The Girl with the Tree Tattoo, started her business as a simple blog to share her experiences as a ballroom dancer. After realizing there was a gap in the training of adult ballroom dance students, she wrote two books and developed a solo practice guide, which she launched through a paid beta group that quickly sold out.

How much they make: $3.3K/year
Current team size: 0

article

How Writing About My Passion Turned Into A Successful Business

A ballroom dancer turned author created a successful business by starting a blog, writing books, and launching a signature offer, The Solo Practice Guide, which helps ballroom dance students build an effective routine for practicing on their own that fits their life.

About
Katie started The Girl with the Tree Tattoo over 8 years ago
Revenue
Katie grew the business to $275/month

6. Scribe Media ($15.6M/year)

Tucker Max, a successful author himself, came up with the idea for Scribe Media when a fellow entrepreneur challenged him to find a solution for busy individuals who wanted to write a book but lacked the time or patience to go through the traditional publishing process. He realized that by using interview-based conversations and transcriptions, he could capture their ideas and words, allowing them to "talk" their book into existence. Since its launch in 2014, Scribe Media has worked with over 1,500 authors and generated over $1.3 million in monthly revenue.

How much they make: $15.6M/year
Current team size: 51

article

How We Started A $1.3M/Month Book Writing, Publishing And Marketing Service

4x New York Times Bestselling Author Tucker Max co-founded Scribe Media in 2014, a book writing, publishing, and marketing service that has worked with over 1,500 authors and generates over $1.3 million a month, with a range of services priced between $10k-$100k+.

About
Tucker started Scribe Media over 9 years ago
Revenue
Tucker grew the business to $1.3M/month

So... can you actually make money with a author?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

7. Angelella Editorial ($54K/year)

Kate Angelella, the founder of Angelella Editorial, came up with the idea for her freelance editorial business after leaving her job at Simon & Schuster Children's Books. Not knowing what to do for work in a new city, she decided to dip her toe into freelance editing and found success through networking on Twitter and working with clients on projects. With the support of a co-founder and a team of editors, Angelella Editorial now offers various services to authors and has become a thriving business.

How much they make: $54K/year
Current team size: 1

article

How I Started A $4.5K/Month Freelance Editorial Business

How a freelance editorial business generating $4.5K per month was transformed from a sole proprietorship to a fully-staffed independent contractor business providing author coaching, manuscript critiques, and book doctoring.

About
Kate started Angelella Editorial over 9 years ago
Revenue
Kate grew the business to $4.5K/month

8. Dean Bokhari ($1.44M/year)

Dean Bokhari, founder of DeanBokhari.com, was working as a marketer for a tobacco company until he had an emotional breakdown and decided to pursue meaningful work. After years of personal development and taking action, he started sharing what he had learned through writing, podcasting, and speaking, which eventually led him to start his membership platform. Now, with over half a million readers and monthly revenues exceeding $100,000, Dean is helping others improve their lives and achieve their goals.

How much they make: $1.44M/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
Current team size: 17

article

How I Started A $100K/Month Membership Platform Focused On Self-Improvement

Founder Dean Bokhari shares how he launched a membership platform focused on self-improvement, generating over $100,000 per month in revenue, attracting customers via high-quality content, guest blogging and Facebook ads, with plans to grow to $1,000,000 per month over the next 3-5 years.

About
Dean started Dean Bokhari almost 3 years ago
Revenue
Dean grew the business to $120K/month
Costs
It cost Dean $5000 to start the business

9. Advantage Media ($18M/year)

Adam Witty, the Founder & CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks, came up with the idea for his business while working at a publishing company during his high school summer internship. Inspired by the creation, marketing, and sales of books, he later partnered with his boss to start a publishing company for entrepreneurs. He realized the power of a book as a marketing tool and developed Advantage into one of the largest business book publishers in America, offering a range of publishing and marketing services to help authors grow their businesses.

How much they make: $18M/year
Current team size: 81

article

How I Started A $1.5M/Month Publishing And Marketing Company

Adam Witty started Advantage|ForbesBooks, one of America's largest business book publishers with sales over $1.5 million per month, which offers pain-free book creation and specializes in Authority Marketingβ„’ for entrepreneurs and business leaders, achieving seven out of the past eight years in the Inc. 5000 list of America's most rapidly growing private companies, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, amongst others, growing his business through customer referrals, speaking, and advertising both online and offline.

About
Adam started Advantage Media over 18 years ago
Revenue
Adam grew the business to $1.5M/month

10. The Language Delegate ($36K/year)

Pat, the founder of The Language Delegate, fell in love with language at a young age while living in France. With a background in teaching, Pat combined her love for writing and marketing to start her own business as an editor and writer, serving a diverse range of clients. After joining a business coaching program, Pat realized her true calling and began offering her editing services to colleagues.

How much they make: $36K/year
Current team size: 1

article

On Leaving A Full Time Job To Become An Independent Editor And Writer

Language editing and coaching business that grew to $4,000/month in just over three years, serving a range of clients including entrepreneurs, small publishing houses, doctoral candidates, and French authors seeking English translations.

About
Pat started The Language Delegate about 10 years ago
Revenue
Pat grew the business to $3K/month

11. Platypus Publishing ($3.84M/year)

Matt Rudnitsky, founder of Platypus Publishing, came up with the idea for his business after self-publishing his own book and realizing the potential in helping others do the same. He began by offering editing and coaching services, and eventually expanded to offer a done-for-you book service and an online course. Through organic growth and personalized outreach, Matt has built his business without the need for a formal launch or large budgets.

How much they make: $3.84M/year
How much did it cost to start: $0
Current team size: 3

article

How I Started A $5.5K/Month Business Helping People Write Books

Platypus Publishing offers done-for-you and online course options for people looking to self-publish a book, with a focus on validation and quality, and has generated over $15k in profits over five years, with founder Matt Rudnitsky aiming for $100k in profits this year and beyond.

About
Matt started Platypus Publishing over 9 years ago
Revenue
Matt grew the business to $320K/month

12. Mouse Book Club ($120K/year)

David Dewane, the co-founder and president of the Mouse Book Club, came up with the idea while sitting on a bus and noticing everyone on their phones. He realized that people are constantly reading on their phones, but often don't remember what they read. This led him to create phone-sized physical books as an alternative, mailing over 40,000 books to 60+ countries and generating $170,000 in sales in the first two years.

How much they make: $120K/year
Current team size: 0

article

How We Launched A Book Subscription Service And Sold 40K Books

The Mouse Book Club is a start-up that mails physical, pocket-sized books to help readers disconnect from their digital devices, with over $170k in sales and 40,000 books sent to 60+ countries in the first two years.

About
David started Mouse Book Club over 6 years ago
Revenue
David grew the business to $10K/month

13. Finn and Remy, LLC ($24K/year)

Jane, a lawyer and engineer with an artsy streak, rediscovered her love for art while decorating her children's nurseries. After launching a watercolor greeting card design featuring a hedgehog, she received positive feedback and decided to create more animal-based doodles. With a baby strapped to her waist, she ran test prints, launched a presale, and eventually expanded to art prints and books. Now, she and her husband travel the world while writing and illustrating children's books that spark curiosity and appreciation for storytelling.

How much they make: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1.2K
Current team size: 0

article

Pausing The American Dream To Travel The World Writing Children's Books

This case study follows Jane, an artist and author, who left the American Dream to travel the world while writing and illustrating her books, with her latest book, "Finn + Remy Present: Einstein’s Trampoline," aimed at introducing fundamental concepts of physics to children aged 4-10, available on Amazon for just $4.99.

About
Jane started Finn and Remy, LLC over 6 years ago
Revenue
Jane grew the business to $2K/month
Costs
It cost Jane $1200 to start the business

14. Little Soap Company ($7.2M/year)

How much they make: $7.2M/year
Current team size: 11

article

100% natural – The story of The Little Soap Company

This case study is about a founder who started making organic soaps from her kitchen table, which are now sold in major supermarkets and retail stores with four collections, and she has a strong following on LinkedIn with 5.9k followers.

About
They started Little Soap Company almost 16 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $600K/month

15. The Bootstrapped Founder ($6K/year)

How much they make: $6K/year
Current team size:

article

Balancing the Grind With Arvid Kahl

Learn from The Bootstrapped Founder's blogger who made $500/mo and grew his newsletter to 2500 subscribers, while promoting his website to 79.7K Twitter followers.

About
Arvid started The Bootstrapped Founder almost 5 years ago
Revenue
Arvid grew the business to $500/month

16. Merrative ($24K/year)

Harshala Chavan, the founder of Merrative, came up with the idea for her business after noticing a lack of dedicated spaces for people to discuss literature. After attending a book club meetup, where she had a great discussion with others who had read the same book, she wondered if she could bring this experience online at scale. She validated her concept through participating in BPlans and growing her Instagram page, which eventually led to the launch of Merrative as a community-led marketplace for publishing talent.

How much they make: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100
Current team size: 0

article

How I Bootstrapped A $2K/Month Online Community To Discuss Literature

Merrative, a community-driven marketplace for publishing talent, generates an average of $1,500 per month in marketplace transactions from their 5,000+ strong community of readers, writers, journalists, and scholars.

About
Harshala started Merrative over 3 years ago
Revenue
Harshala grew the business to $2K/month
Costs
It cost Harshala $100 to start the business

17. Cary Jack - The Happy Hustle ($300K/year)

Cary Jack, founder of The Happy Hustle, experienced burnout while working 100+ hour weeks for his tech startup. After rejecting a 7-figure funding deal and taking time off in Thailand, he developed a way to find happiness within the hustle and created The Happy Hustleβ„’ to help entrepreneurs achieve work-life balance. Through various revenue streams, such as podcasting, books, and mastermind adventures, Cary has built a successful business that focuses on serving his tribe and creating positive impact.

How much they make: $300K/year
Current team size: 4

article

How Experiencing Burnout Led Me To Start One Of The Most Popular Podcasts In The World

Cary Jack started The Happy Hustle to help fellow purpose-driven entrepreneurs avoid burnout and achieve blissful balance in their personal and professional life while putting the Happy in their everyday Hustle, offering multiple revenue streams including a mastermind, book, and course.

Revenue
Cary grew the business to $25K/month

18. Mister Words ($18K/year)

Brian Rouff came up with the idea for his writing business, Mister Words, after writing his first novel, Dice Angel, and receiving positive reviews. Through word of mouth and referrals, he began ghostwriting books for clients and providing writing consultation services. The business has been successful, with revenues averaging $1,500/month, and Rouff plans to transition to running it full-time in the next year.

How much they make: $18K/year
How much did it cost to start: $500
Current team size: 0

article

This Year I'm Going Full Time On My Ghostwriting Side Hustle

Mister Words, a writing business, has brought in $1,500/month after 15 years of operation, and is now being turned into a main gig with screenwriting services and the potential for $10,000+ profits per project.

About
Brian started Mister Words over 16 years ago
Revenue
Brian grew the business to $1.5K/month
Costs
It cost Brian $500 to start the business

19. Graham Cochrane ($1.92M/year)

How much they make: $1.92M/year
Current team size:

article

β€˜I work just 5 hours a week’: This 39-year-old makes $160,000 a month in passive incomeβ€”a look at his typical day

This case study showcases a young entrepreneur who went from losing his nine-to-five job to earning $120,000 per month in passive income in just six months by teaching people how to generate money from their hobbies through online courses and coaching programs.

About
Graham started Graham Cochrane almost 6 years ago
Revenue
Graham grew the business to $160K/month

20. The Birth of a Brand ($111M/year)

How much they make: $111M/year
Current team size: 1

article

The Upside of Adversity with Brian Smith: The Birth of a Brand

Learn how Brian Smith, founder of the UGG brand, identified a market gap and eventually built the company into a global icon by gaining endorsements from the surf community and navigating growth challenges through perseverance and authenticity.

About
Brian started The Birth of a Brand over 10 years ago
Revenue
Brian grew the business to $9.26M/month

21. Marketing Savage ($10M/year)

How much they make: $10M/year
Current team size:

article

The 5 keys to Unlocking the Kingdom with John Highley

Founder of Marketing Savage, John Highley, has built a business with 10,000 clients globally in creating tailored websites and sales funnels, with an added bonus of setting up CRMs to control the sales process. Additionally, Highley runs five other successful businesses while also becoming an internationally renowned author after publishing his best-selling book in 2021.

About
John started Marketing Savage almost 24 years ago
Revenue
John grew the business to $833K/month

22. QWANTIFY ($7.2M/year)

Keith Lynch, the Founder and CEO of Qwantify, came up with the idea for his digital development and marketing agency after receiving requests from colleagues, family, and friends to develop profitable websites for them. With his knowledge, experience, and skills in digital marketing, he launched Qwantify in 2016 and offered a unique selling proposition of a revenue guarantee, which set him apart from the competition. Today, Qwantify is a multi-million dollar per year agency that attracts hundreds of new partner inquiries every month.

How much they make: $7.2M/year
How much did it cost to start: $1K
Current team size: 22

article

How I Started A $600K/Month Ecommerce Development Agency That Offers A Guaranteed $10K/Month Revenue

Qwantify is a digital development and marketing agency that operates a Partner Program guaranteeing websites earn a minimum of $10,000 per month, and since 2016, they have grown to become a multi-million dollar per year digital development agency.

About
Keith started QWANTIFY over 7 years ago
Revenue
Keith grew the business to $600K/month
Costs
It cost Keith $1000 to start the business