How much do self-publishers make?
How much money can I make writing eBooks?
Does self-publishing pay?
Do self-published authors really make any money?
4 Truths Every Independent Publisher Should Know about Sales
If you're interested in writing and self-publishing an eBook, you've probably Googled some or all of the above phrases to try to gain insight on what's possible in the way of earnings. As an author who's gone the indie publishing route from day one (since 2002) - and with almost 100 eBooks under my belt - following are some truths about what you can expect in the way of earnings.
1. There is No One-Size-Fits-All Answer: I know, I know. It sounds like a cop out and I wish I could give you something more definitive to hang your hat on, but it's true. There are so many variables that go into it, that it's impossible to say, "If you do x, then you will earn y."
HOWEVER, there are some tangibles that you can mitigate (ie, use to increase your chances of meeting your income goals), which brings me to my next point.
2. Variables That Matter: Following are some of the intangibles that really matter: genre you write in; eBook cover (this matters a lot more than you might think); story telling ability; and professional presentation (eg, copy editing, proofreading); etc. There's also formatting, release date, competition within your genre (although there's ALWAYS room for a good story); and your marketing skills as an author, to name a few more.
FYI, one of the most profitable genres is romance. It outsells all other genres, making up about 40% of all fiction sold in North America. And guess what? eBooks are now the top-selling format according to Romance Writers of America research. The breakdown is as follows:
**Mass-market paperback: 32%
**Trade paperback: 18%
So choose your genre carefully, and you're more than half way there in my experience.
3. Good Writing Shines: I've written over 50 non-fiction, how-to eBooks, and close to 30 romance novels. I've made some killer mistakes, eg, getting slammed in reviews for grammar gaffes. Ouch! I've also been on the other side of the coin --- getting praise when the writing is good.
The bottom line is ... readers will buy a good story / a well-written book. You don't have to be a literary giant a la Toni Morrison or John Steinbeck, but you must learn how to craft a good story. Or in the case of non-fiction, write clear, concise copy that delivers on the title, eg, How to Make Money Writing Romance.
4. The More You Write, the More You Can Earn: Many new self-publishers make the mistake of writing one book, then stopping. That is NOT the way to make money as an independent publisher. Sure, you could get lucky and pen the next 50 Shades of Grey, but for 99.9% of us, that kind of success is just not gonna come from one book.
You need a catalog of books to start earning a decent living. I once read on a blog somewhere something to the effect of, "Your best marketing tool as a writer is your next book." I think it was JA Konrath's blog; he's a pretty well-known self-pubbed author.
This is soooo true in my experience. Don't get so hung up on or enamored with one book. Write it, publish it and then get started on your next one; then your next one; and the one after that.
The more you write, the more you have a chance of new readers discovering you. And who knows, one day, you could have a hit on your hands. One of the things I love about making money self-publishing is that it only takes one "hit" to make you decent money beyond your wildest dreams.
I've made very good money off of just one eBook -- like $1,500 from one title in one month. And this is chump change compared to the biggies (chump change I'll take mind you!). But, just three or four books performing like this in one month - and you can see how lucrative independent publishing can be.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been in the publishing industry since 1987. She heads Inkwell Editorial Publishing, an independent publishing firm that specializes in novellas (short novels) - romance, erotic romance and crime. She also publishes InkwellEditorial.com, one of the leading sites on the web for how to start a successful freelance writing career. Ms. Black is the developer/teacher of a seminar for aspiring self-published authors: How to Self-Publish an eBook for $0. Details can be found here.
Connect with the Author: Learn more about Yuwanda. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
Keywords relevant to this article: make money self-publishing, self-publishing tips, how to make money self-publishing an ebook, make money writing ebooks, make money selling ebooks