How Do Authors Get Paid In Australia?

How Do Authors Get Paid In Australia?

How are you making money as an author in Australia?


For new authors, making money and understanding how authors get paid in Australia can feel like a bit of a mystery. I know when I first entered the world of self-publishing, the whole process was a complete mystery. I did understand that authors made a percentage of the sales price of their books, known as royalties, but how much they made was very much unknown.

In the following article, we’re going to answer the question of how do authors get paid in Australia, as well as break down some of the more common revenue streams that authors in Australia can tap into. We’ll be focusing on the following:

  • Advances
  • Royalties
  • Lending Rights
  • Public Speaking Events
  • Workshops
  • Freelance Writing & Ghostwriting

If you’re currently working on a book, check out this article on Common Self-Publishing Mistakes to Avoid!


Different Ways that Authors Get Paid In Australia


If you’re fortunate enough to land a deal with a traditional publisher, you will be paid an advance or lump sum upon signing the book contract. The advance is based on the number of books they expect to sell. As a general guide, the advance is typically half the estimated royalties the author would make on the 1st print run of their book.

Your advance isn’t a payment in addition to future royalties. Instead, your advance is an advance payment on the future royalties your book is expected to earn. If your book fails to sell enough copies to cover the advance, you’re not responsible for paying it back. However, if you have a deal to deliver a specific book to your publishers, it must meet the publisher’s requirements.

While the media commonly reports on large advances paid to famous authors, most authors receive advances that are much smaller.



Royalties are a percentage of the sale price which are paid to authors every time one of their books sells. Typically, in Australia, authors receive approximately 10% of the recommended retail price (RRP) of their books as a royalty. Below we’ll look at the royalties of the two biggest self-publishing platforms, Amazon KDP and IngramSpark.

Amazon KDP Royalty – Amazon offers authors a 60% royalty for all books sold on Amazon marketplaces. Your 60% royalty is based on the list price of your book minus printing costs, which include page count, ink type, and where the book was ordered from. Via their Expanded Distribution, the royalty is 40% of the book’s list price minus the printing costs. Learn more about Amazon KDP’s Royalties here.

IngramSpark Royalty – IngramSpark offers a 70% royalty for all their paperback or hardcover books. Your 70% royalty is based on the list price of the book minus printing and shipping costs. You can calculate your estimated royalties using IngramSpark’s Royalty Calculator here.


Book Type Platform % of Retail Price You Receive Printing/Delivery Costs
Paperback Amazon KDP


Varies ($3-5)
Paperback IngramSpark 70% Varies ($4-5)
Hardcover IngramSpark 70% Varies ($10-13)


As you can see, IngramSpark has a higher royalty percentage but also higher printing and shipping costs. Typically, on the same book, the final royalties I receive are higher from a sale on Amazon compared to a sale from IngramSpark.

Amazon KDP pays their royalties out every 60 days. So, for example, the royalties you earn in January would be paid out at the end of March. IngramSpark pays their royalties out every 90 days. So, for example, the royalties you earn in January are paid out at the end of April.


Lending Rights

Lending Rights is an Australian government-backed scheme that is administered by the Ministry for the Arts that compensates authors for the loss of royalties they would have earned when their books are borrowed from a library.

There are two versions of lending rights:

  • Public Lending Rights (PLR) – Books held in public libraries.
  • Educational Lending Rights (ELR) – Books held in libraries at schools, universities, and educational institutions.

Currently, lending rights are only available for physical books and are based on the number of books held, not the number of times the book is read. In addition, authors must register their books to take part in the lending rights scheme.


Public Speaking Events

If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to guest speak at events as an author, this could be another opportunity to not only promote your books but also make additional revenue.

Many public libraries have a budget for events, and author-speaking events are a good fit. However, unless you discuss payment first, always assume you’re speaking for free. Author events at libraries can be time-consuming to organize, but it’s also a great opportunity to promote your book or author platform for marketing purposes.

Some of the other author-speaking events include schools, writing festivals, book fairs, and public events.



As an author, especially a published author, workshops are a great way to teach other authors and writers the skills you have learned throughout your journey. We’re fortunate to be living in an age where digital media makes presenting workshops a lot easier regardless of where you live.

Popular workshop topics include writing, editing, marketing, social media, story creation, character development, self-publishing, and much more.


Freelance Writing & Ghostwritingfreelancer

Many authors start their careers as ghostwriters or freelance writers, writing content for clients. Articles, blogs, essays, resumes, fiction and non-fiction writing, self-help, and much more are all popular freelance writing niches.


There are a variety of popular freelancing platforms available online. However, be warned. Competition is fierce, and getting yourself established as a freelance writer is often tricky.


How Do Authors Get Paid In Australia? – Conclusion

There you go! Everything you ever wanted to learn about how do authors get paid in Australia! If you’re getting into writing or being an author simply to make money, then be prepared to make a long-term investment.

Most self-published authors will sell less than 250 copies of their books, regardless of how many they write. On the other hand, a lot of traditionally published books sell less than 3,000.

If you’re looking for help getting your book self-published in Australia, including editing, formatting for paperback or ebook, cover design, or illustrations for a children’s book, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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