Dana Weinberg was an expert industry blogger for Digital Book World from 2013-2015. She worked with Digital Book World and Writers’ Digest on their 2014 and 2015 Author Surveys and presented the results in a series of essays, reports, and presentations. At the time, this survey was one of the few sources of data about sales and income in the publishing industry. Thousands of authors responded to the surveys, and while the survey samples were voluntary rather than scientific, the results provided important insights into the experiences of authors as digital technologies and platforms disrupted the book industry. When first presented, the findings were also very controversial and heavily disputed–although they have stood the test of time.
The key finding from this work was that most authors–whether traditionally or indie- published–were not making very much money. This insight, although widely accepted now, was very unpopular among indie authors, who were striving to legitimize their decisions to self-publish. Nor did traditional publishers happily embrace the findings that authors fared little better overall when they partnered with publishers, despite publishers’ claims to better marketing and distribution, than when they set out on their own.
Digital Book World has moved away from its news and media emphasis to focus on its annual conference, and it has taken down the blogs and articles. She is pleased to have restored my archived blogs here for readers and scholars.