The Average Income From the Sale of a Children's Book

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Children's books promote literacy by inspiring children to read.
Children's books promote literacy by inspiring children to read. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

To capture the hearts and minds of children, you must be a great storyteller. Authors of children's books come from a broad range of backgrounds; some are teachers or graduate students, while others are stay-at-home moms or people who do not hold a degree. Like every author, you must persevere in order to get your children's book published and realize income from the sale of your work. Theodore Seuss Geisel, popularly referred to as Dr. Seuss, for example, was rejected by 27 publishers before his first children's book, "Mulberry Street" was finally sold to a publisher.

Standard Publishing

A standard publishing contract would yield you a royalty rate between 5 and 15 percent on the sale of every book sold, as of 2011, according to SelfPublishing.com. If, for example, your book retailed for $20, you would earn between $1 and $3 in royalties for every book sold. You may also receive a down payment for your book in advance, depending upon your individual publishing contract, that could range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.

After you have established yourself as an author, you can negotiate for more money. (*See Resource 1*)
After you have established yourself as an author, you can negotiate for more money. (*See Resource 1*) (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Self-Publishing

Unlike a large publishing house which generally operates on an 18-month cycle, you can self-publish your book in a matter of weeks. You can have your book distributed though Amazon and Barnes and Noble just as Dell or Random House would. By self-publishing your book, you may potentially earn between 20 and 80 percent of the purchase price of every book sold, at the date of publication, according to SelfPublishing.com. For example, if you sold your book for $20 each, you may earn between $4 and $16 on the sale of every book.

Self-published authors must find a way to distribute their work.
Self-published authors must find a way to distribute their work. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Average Income of Authors

The average median salary for authors was $53,070, as of 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Half of all working writers earned between $38,150 and $75,060. Top writers earned more than $95,490, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,020.

Children's books should not be too complex.
Children's books should not be too complex. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Illustrators

The illustrator and the author of a children's book may be the same person. Many publishers match illustrators and writers to ensure a compatible match. Illustrators today work with computers, scanners and editing software to create digital illustrations. Children's book illustrations convey the story with visual imagery that is appropriate for child audiences. The average salary of an illustrator was $41,000, at the time of publication, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Illustrations tell the story without words.
Illustrations tell the story without words. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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