I recently sent a book proposal for one of my books, a Christian fantasy, to a publisher named SUNBURY PRESS, and I was wondering if they take me on. How much can I reasonably expect to earn off my first book? I have did some research about author earnings but most of the articles I've found is about those who decide to self-publish their books. If anybody has any experience with traditional publishing, please respond. Thanks.


4 Answers 4


They answer that in their own website...http://sunburypress.com/faq/

We pay royalties four times a year. The amount you receive can vary greatly depending on the price of your book, the number of units sold, and the channels they were sold in. The average published book sells about 250 copies in its lifetime, grossing around $3000. At Sunbury Press, we are motivated to sell books and expect all of our releases to perform above the industry average.

Following those numbers, if you get published, and if you get say 5% in royalties that would mean $150 ...

I know that's really disappointing based on all the effort that went to the writing, but my understanding is that most self-published books fare even worse and don't earn anything

I have no quote, so consider this as opinion and not fact... I seem to remember that in more standard publishing, a relatively successful author of a novel may get a $3000-$5000 book advance, though that can widely vary, but they rarely sell enough to cover that and earn more royalties later on (partly due to creative accounting and inane costs tagged on by the publisher, their business model is parasitic and they will fleece you however they can)

A few authors manage to earn more, but only if the book is a success, has been republished a few times, has been translated in other languages...

Above that are the bestsellers, where the sky is the limit, but those are unicorns

  • I read the FAQ and I think they were referring to author's earning in general, or maybe what ever they got their source from. Selling 250 copies in its lifetime is really low.
    – user42900
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 13:16

my first book published about 5 years ago, it was non-fiction and I Got $1000 up front (which is unusual) and 10% royalties based on sales after the initial payment was earned back. To date I've received around $250 so basically you’re not going to retire on the proceeds, or even give up your day job, but it'll buy a nice meal at a decent restaurant. Eventually.


The vast majority of books never outearn their advances, so it depends what they offer you. Assume no more than that, and then be happy and grateful if you end up getting some royalties too :) but expect many years before that happens


I don't know what Sunbury Press pays, but according to an article by the Authors Guild of the United States, median author income for full-time authors from their books was $10,000 in 2022, and their total median earnings from their book and other author-related income combined was $20,000.

The median book income for all authors (including those who write part-time) was $2,000 for 2022, and the median total writing-related income was $5,000.

But those are published authors. Only around 1-2% of submitted manuscripts are ever published.

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