How Much Money Did Jane Austen Make in Her Lifetime

Jane Austen’s monetary earnings during her lifetime were modest compared to modern authors. She received approximately £600 from the sales of her four major novels: “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Mansfield Park,” and “Emma,” with “Pride and Prejudice” being her most lucrative work. Her income from these sales was supplemented by a small annuity from her father and occasional gifts from family members. Austen’s financial situation was not particularly comfortable, as she lived frugally and supported her family. However, she was able to secure a level of financial independence that was unusual for women of her time.

Royalties and Earnings

Jane Austen, the renowned English novelist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, lived and wrote during a time when authors’ earnings were significantly different from what they are today.

Royalties and Income

  • Percentage Royalties: Austen did not receive royalties in the modern sense, but rather a percentage of the profits from the sale of her books.
  • First Editions: The author received a set percentage of the profits from the first editions of her novels, typically ranging from 10% to 12.5%.
  • Second Editions: Austen negotiated higher royalties for subsequent editions of her works, receiving up to 15% for later editions.

Earnings from Novels

Novel Earnings
Sense and Sensibility (1811) £140
Pride and Prejudice (1813) £250
Mansfield Park (1814) £310
Emma (1815) £150
Persuasion (1817) £150

In total, Austen earned approximately £1,000 from her novel writing during her lifetime. This sum, while significant for the time, was considerably less than what authors earn today.

Jane Austen’s Literary Earnings

Jane Austen, the beloved author of classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, lived during a time when female writers faced significant financial challenges. Despite her literary success, her earnings were modest by today’s standards.

Publishing Contracts

Austen’s novels were published in the early 1800s, a period when authors typically received a one-time payment for the copyright to their work. She negotiated directly with publishers, and her contracts varied from book to book.

Here are the amounts Austen received for her novels:

  • Sense and Sensibility (1811): £150
  • Pride and Prejudice (1813): £110
  • Mansfield Park (1814): £315
  • Emma (1815): £315
  • Northanger Abbey (1817): £175 (published posthumously)
  • Persuasion (1817): £230 (published posthumously)

These payments may seem small, but it is important to consider the value of money in the 19th century. One pound in 1813 would be equivalent to approximately £65 today.

Other Sources of Income

In addition to her publishing contracts, Austen also earned money from other sources:

  • Needlework and crafts: Austen was skilled in needlework and made pincushions, reticules, and other items for sale.
  • Royal patronage: In 1816, Austen received £50 from the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after he read Emma.


Although Jane Austen’s literary earnings were modest, her impact on the literary world has been immeasurable. Her novels continue to be beloved by readers around the world, and her legacy as one of the greatest female authors of all time is secure.

Jane Austen’s Novel Earnings
Novel Payment
Sense and Sensibility £150
Pride and Prejudice £110
Mansfield Park £315
Emma £315
Northanger Abbey £175
Persuasion £230

Income from Other Sources

Jane Austen’s income from other sources, such as savings, investments, and inheritances:

  • Savings: Austen’s father left her a small inheritance of £700, which she managed with prudence and grew over time.
  • Investments: Austen made investments in various government funds and companies, which provided her with regular dividends.
  • Inheritances: Austen received inheritances from her brother Edward and her sister-in-law Anne, which supplemented her income
  • Sales: Her popular novels, such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma," sold well and provided her with some income.

Well folks, there you have it! Jane Austen’s literary journey and financial fortunes laid bare. While she may not have been raking in millions in her lifetime, her legacy lives on today, inspiring and entertaining readers worldwide. Thanks for joining me on this literary adventure. Be sure to swing by again soon for more intriguing stories and insights into the lives of your favorite authors. Until next time, happy reading, and don’t forget to appreciate the priceless treasures hidden between the pages of a good book!