Do biographies make money?(17 surprising facts!)

Do biographies make money?

It is painful to you and I that after putting a lot of time, efforts and resources, our end result generates no penny at all. That is the reason people always ask the question “do biographies make money?”

In this article, we are going to explain why and how biographies make money and the various sources you can use.

Do Biographies make money?

Biographies generate money through several factors that help in improving the life of the writer, publisher, the subject, and that of his family.

We categorise this income into various sources, which include royalties, sales, adaptation into movies, bulk patronage, establishing a blog or podcasting about the book and several other methods that we will discuss in this article.

How do biographies make money?

  1. Selling individual copies.
  2. Selling to publishers.
  3. Establishing a blog about it.
  4. Creating lottery, quizzes and competition.
  5. Renting out the books.
  6. Damages when copyright are violated.
  7. Royalties.
  8. Awards.
  9. Guest speaking.
  10. Podcasting about it.
  11. Adaptation into movies.
  12. Fund raising or donations.
  13. Government or corporate bulk patronage.
  14. Foundation patronage.
  15. Using it to promote affiliate.
  16. Waiver.
  17. Through penalties in several libraries.

1. Selling individual copies.

Biographies generate money through the sales of individual copies to members of the public.

When a biography is published, individuals like you and I that are interested in the biography will pay in other to own a copy.

Through this individual sales, biography generates money, especially if the number of buyers is very high.

2. Selling to publishers.

An author of a biography is likely to generate money by selling the rights of the biography to publishing companies.

Publishing companies have several ways of marketing and sales that will enable them to generate lots of revenue that will cover all expenses and return profit.

As a writer of a biography, therefore, you can negotiate with a well-recognised publishing company to purchase the biography from you, which will give them the publishing right to publish and sale of the biography.

Many writers use this method, which gives them a lot of money at one time while transferring ownership to the publishing companies.

3. Establishing a blog about it.

Blogs are a source of passive income to the owners.

If as a writer you established a blog about a particular biography that you wrote, people that are interested in the biography and wants to interact by asking questions, sharing their opinions and meeting other people, you will generate revenue from it.

Blogs have several ways of generating income to you through applying with advertising agencies such as mediavine, adsthrive, ezoic and google adsence.

Most blogs have utilised this method which is giving them several thousand dollars a month on display ads alone.

4. Creating lottery quizzes and competition.

Another source of generating income to a biography is using competitions and quizzes that require some action to be taken by the reader before he or she can be qualified.

This requirement depends on what you mentioned as the terms and conditions of competition.

It can be buying two or more copies, paying a small amount of money for registration among others which, in the end, the winners stand a chance of getting specific prizes.

However, if you fail to follow a laid down rules, you may encounter a lot of issues.

5. Renting out the books.

Renting out biographies is another source of making money for you as a writer of the biography.

However, this requires a significant amount of time, organisation, and patience.

People that are interested in reading biography but they have no means of buying or are not interested in buying can be able to borrow it while paying a small amount of money in exchange.

Libraries have a well-established method of checking out books that, if not returned on a stated date, the penalties will be payment of a small amount of money.

As a biography writer, you can adopt a similar method or get other book writers to come together and adopt a similar strategy.

You will generate money from this method if the biography generates publicity.

Violations of copyright laws come with some penalties that are charged on the violator.

These penalties may come in different ways based on what the law says.

Therefore, biographies can generate money when the court penalised a person, entity or group of people for violations.

7. Royalties.

Royalty payments are one of the biggest sources of income to you as a biography writer.

Even after several years of publishing the biography, you will still generate income from time to time as royalties from different sources.

8. Awards.

Some awards come with a specific monetary benefit attached to it.

If, as a biography writer, you can win those types of awards, you will generate revenue through it.

However, this type of awards is very competitive and the requirements for participation are always high, therefore it is difficult to get them.

9. Guest speaking.

Publishing a successful biography will give you a chance of getting invitation to several occasions in other to speak as a guest.

This guest speaking opportunity comes with some allowances attached to it.

We can do guest speaking in a school, a literary event, an occasion involving the subject of the biography or his or her family, higher institutions, among several other activities.

10. Podcasting about it.

When you write a biography, you have a perfect chance of establishing a podcast of the biography, especially if that biography is very popular.

By establishing a podcast channel on the biography, the readers and other people interested in learning more and keeping themselves updated on activities will subscribe to the podcasting channel which will inturn generate some revenues to you.

11. Adaptation into movies.

Another source of revenue is when you are paid by the movie industry to have a chance of adapting your biography into a movie.

Several biographies have been adapted into movies after paying the writer for access to use the biography and turn it into a movie.

Those movies, especially of a popular biography, have a huge chance of success among the intended audience.

12. Fund raising or donations.

Biography generates money through donations, fundraiser and launching.

You can get a lot of revenue if people decide to donate to you for the good job that you have done or in launching the biography.

Indeed, we view donations of small amount of money as nothing important, but when thousands of people do it, one dollar donations each by thirty thousand people will go a long way in helping you as a writer to do more.

13. Government or corporate bulk patronage.

Corporate bodies buy books in large quantities for the usage of the organisation and their members.

You will generate income from your biography when government or corporate organisation patronises your biography and purchase it in large quantity.

14. Foundation patronage.

Subject of biographies most times have foundations that are dedicated to preserving their legacy and performing nonprofit based activities to the public.

Therefore, when your biography is about the same individual, the foundation will most a time patronise and buy from you generating for you as a source of revenue.

By writing a biography about their founder, they will feel happy to promote your biography, which will create more publicity that will create more sales for you.

15. Using it to promote affiliate.

Affiliate programs are one of the biggest source of income to a writer.

As a writer, you can decide to promote affiliate marketing programs that will generate some revenue for you when another person uses it to purchase an item.

There are many affiliate programs you can market on the biography.

Choose a good one relevant to your biography and get paid for doing so.

16. Waiver.

You can make money with your biography through getting a waiver approval from government or relevant agencies in other to promote the biography.

However, this waiver can be granted if the subject of your biography is a national hero.

How can you make money through the waiver is when the taxes that you are supposed to pay for the biography is taken care of because of tax exemption.

17. Through penalties in several libraries.

You can make money with biography because of penalties and fines from libraries on defaulters.

If you enter into an agreement with a library by supplying them with your biography free while collecting a certain percentage when there is a late return of the biography or damage.

How much money will an author make in a biography?

How much money you can make as a biography author depends on several factors, however most biography authors make a small amount of money than expected.

They make a meager amount through biographies which cannot be able to cover their day-to-day expenses.

Biography writers do not rely on one source of income, as they diversify into other jobs can allow them to live a comfortable life.

However, ghostwriters earn a higher amount of money than their counterparts because they contracted them to do it and their fees are negotiable.


From our discussion above, it is now clear to you that biographies make money through various ways which includes,

  • Selling individual copies.
  • Selling to publishers.
  • Establishing a blog about it.
  • Creating lottery, quizzes and competition.
  • Renting out the books.
  • Damages when your copyright laws are violated.
  • Guest speaking.
  • Podcasting about it.
  • Adaptation into movies.
  • Fund raising or donations.
  • Government or corporate bulk patronage.
  • Foundation patronage.
  • Using it to promote affiliate.
  • Waiver.
  • Through penalties in several libraries.
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