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How Much Do Children’s Book Authors Make: USA Rates

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  • September 11, 2023
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  • 6 min read


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How Much Money Do Children’s Book Authors Make?

The average hourly pay for children’s book authors ranges from $20 to $30 per hour in the USA. Additionally, some companies offer payment on a per-word basis, such as $5 for every 100 words.

Children’s literature has an enduring charm, captivating young readers and shaping their imaginations. Behind every cherished children’s book is an author who brings these tales to life. But what about the financial aspect of being a children’s book author? In this guide, you explore the earnings of children’s book authors, providing a comprehensive view backed by historical context and statistical data.

Understanding the Children’s Book Industry

Before we delve into the earnings of children’s book authors, it is essential to grasp the intricacies of the children’s book industry. This industry encompasses a wide array of genres and age groups, each with its unique dynamics that impact an author’s income.

The children’s book industry is like a treasure chest filled with giggles, wisdom, and endless imagination. It’s a place where whimsical characters, talking animals, and mischievous adventures reign supreme, and where bedtime stories become magical quests. Behind the scenes, book publishing services and authors are on a quest of their own, seeking the perfect blend of storytelling charm and educational value, all while trying to remember how to think like a kid (which can be as challenging as untying a double-knotted shoelace!). So, whether it’s a friendly dragon sharing life lessons or a clever pig outwitting a wolf, the children’s book industry never fails to keep us entertained, enlightened, and just a little bit puzzled about why there aren’t more talking animals in our own lives.

Salaries of Children’s Book Authors in Various Cities USA

City Annual Monthly Weekly Hourly
Chicago, IL $52,580 $4,382 $1,010 $25.25
Austin, TX $49,870 $4,156 $960 $24.00
Columbus, OH $47,260 $3,938 $908 $22.70
Dallas, TX $51,130 $4,261 $983 $24.58
Denver, CO $54,680 $4,557 $1,052 $26.30
Houston, TX $50,290 $4,191 $966 $24.15
Los Angeles, CA $57,920 $4,827 $1,113 $27.83
New York, NY $60,480 $5,040 $1,162 $29.05
Philadelphia, PA $53,740 $4,478 $1,033 $25.83
Phoenix, AZ $48,920 $4,077 $940 $23.50
San Antonio, TX $49,430 $4,119 $950 $23.75
Charlotte, NC $51,870 $4,322 $997 $24.92
Fort Worth, TX $49,680 $4,140 $956 $23.90
Indianapolis, IN $48,120 $4,010 $925 $23.12
Jacksonville, FL $48,580 $4,048 $933 $23.32
San Diego, CA $57,260 $4,772 $1,100 $27.50
San Jose, CA $60,350 $5,029 $1,160 $29.01
Seattle, WA $58,598 $4,883 $1,126 $28.17

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Factors Impacting Children’s Book Author Earnings

Experience and Reputation: Established authors like Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, and Roald Dahl often enjoy higher earnings due to their track record of successful books.

Genre and Target Audience

The choice of genre and the intended age group of the book significantly influence an author’s earnings. For instance, picture or zoo books may offer lower advances and royalties compared to middle-grade or young-adult novels.

Publishing Route

Authors have options: traditional publishing or self-publishing. Traditional publishers typically provide advances and royalties, while self-published authors retain a larger share of earnings but bear upfront costs.

Book Sales Volume

The number of copies sold directly impacts an author’s earnings. Bestsellers can generate substantial income, while niche books may have more modest sales figures.

Children’s Book Author Earnings: Facts and Figures

Now, let’s add a splash of excitement and dive headfirst into the thrilling world of children’s book author earnings! We’ve already explored the nitty-gritty details of the industry and the factors that shape author income. But now, we’re going to add a whopping 20% more fun to the mix as we unveil the financial secrets behind the magic of children’s literature. In the world of digital book discussions, discord spoiler tag keeps readers excited while avoiding story spoilers. From advances and royalties to the exhilarating potential of becoming a bestseller and discovering unique income avenues, get ready for an adventure that’s as entertaining as the stories we cherish. Buckle up, because this is where facts and figures meet a generous dose of fun!


Traditional publishers generally offer authors an advance against future royalties, which can range from a few thousand dollars to six-figure sums for renowned authors. Picture book advances often fall in the $5,000 to $15,000 range, while middle-grade and young adult advances can reach $10,000 to $50,000 or more for well-known authors.


Once an author earns back their advance through book sales, they start receiving royalty payments. On average, authors receive royalties ranging from 5% to 10% of the book’s cover price. For instance, if a children’s book is priced at $15, and the author receives a 10% royalty, they would earn $1.50 for each copy sold.


Self-published children’s book authors retain a more substantial share of each sale but must manage ebook editing, design, and marketing costs. Earnings can vary widely, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per book, depending on sales volume and pricing strategies.


Exceptional authors have created children’s book series that have become cultural phenomena. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, for instance, has sold over 500 million copies worldwide, making her one of the wealthiest authors in history, with an estimated net worth exceeding $1 billion.

Additional Income Streams

Successful children’s book authors can explore various revenue streams beyond book sales. These include speaking engagements, merchandise sales, and adaptations of their books into movies or television series, like Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

Exploring Publishing Opportunities

In addition to traditional publishing and self-publishing, authors can leverage digital platforms to publish their children’s books and earn money. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a prominent platform that allows authors to publish and distribute eBooks and book printing online. Authors can earn royalties of up to 70% on Kindle eBooks.

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Other platforms for publishing children’s books include:

Apple Books: Authors can publish their books on the Apple Books platform, reaching a global audience of Apple device users.

Book Writing Bureau: This platform enables authors to publish and distribute eBooks and book printing online to a wide readership.

Amercian Author House: AmercianAuthorHouse offers eBook distribution to multiple retailers, making it a convenient choice for authors looking to reach various eBook markets.

Urban Book Publishers: UrbanBookPublishers offers self-book publishing services for both eBooks and print books, empowering authors to have full control over their publishing process. This makes it one of the leading self-book publishing companies in the industry.

Book Writing Founders: BookWritingFounders is an excellent platform for authors to sell textbooks, especially if they have unique, handmade, or personalized editions.

Historical Perspective

Throughout history, children’s literature has been enriched by notable authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, whose tales like “The Little Mermaid” and “The Ugly Duckling” continue to inspire generations. Andersen’s work, although celebrated for its literary merit, did not yield substantial financial rewards during his lifetime.


Children’s book authors play a vital role in shaping young minds and fostering a love for reading. While earnings in this profession can vary widely, authors continue to find motivation in the joy of sharing stories with young readers. Aspiring children’s book authors should research the industry, consider their target audience, evaluate publishing options, and explore digital platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing to make informed decisions about their career path. Ultimately, the impact of their words on young readers’ lives is often the most rewarding aspect of their work.

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