If talking about money freaks you out, then avert your eyes. However, I'd like to encourage you to read on anyway.
Let me make a statement first:
I DO NOT WRITE TO MAKE MONEY.
I WORK MY <bleep> OFF TO MAKE MONEY.
I've been writing since I was seven - back when I thought a penny was the most valuable of coins because it was the same color as my hair. So, please, don't waste your time thinking I'm writing just to make some bank. No, I write because my over-active imagination needs an outlet.
Okay, let's get back to the today's topic: money, moolah, coin, bank, cash, the almighty dollar.
Self-publishing can be very lucrative.
I'm closing in on 20,000 sales overall, mainly spread across four books because I usually have two or three of my seven products free at any given time.
I'm on track to clear six figures this year.
Last year, I made under $5,000. This year I'm going to make over $100,000.
I've never made that much in any job. Granted, all of my jobs have been in the arts (bookstores, museums, libraries, teaching flute lessons, a stint at Hellmark, I mean, Hallmark).
Why bring this up? Am I trying to make you jealous? Ha, not close. Most of that money goes to business expenses, paying for my kids' education, and our house is aging which means every appliance is dying. If it weren't for this income, we'd be struggling a lot.
I wanted to share this because you need to know that money can be made in self-publishing. "They" say that less than 10% of all self-pubs make more than $10,000 a year. Either I just happen to hang out with uber-successful indie authors, or the findings are skewed.
Many of my self-pub friends are pulling down double or triple or quadruple my sales, which leads me to believe their incomes are far exceeding mine.
When I wanted to get traditionally published, I expected, I hoped, I'd land a $5,000 or $10,000 advance - knowing full well I'd probably never earn it out. I'm not against traditional publishing. Self-publishing is not for everyone and I have no clue what my future will bring, so keeping all doors open is very exciting.
What I do want to stress are these points:
- Writing and publishing are two different jobs. Don't write for money, write for love of writing. But if you're going to publish, treat it as a business.
- Publishing is a business. Wait, I just said that! I cannot emphasize it enough. If you're going to self-publish, you are becoming a business owner. You must think like a businessperson.
- Network, network, network. Self-publishing is the biggest misnomer. Other than writing the first draft, there is NOTHING I do by myself. In fact, I could call myself a self-author and then say I run a small publishing business. That's more accurate (though self-author sounds really dumb - lol).
- Never give up. Last year at this time, I was selling just a few copies of my books here and there. Never in a million, billion, gazillion years did I ever think I'd make more than $500 a month. Seriously. My first goal was to make $100 self-pubbing. Then it was to make $550 a month to pay for my kids' tuition. Now, well, now I just hope it keeps up.
- Don't rest on your pile 'o' cash. Publishing is a fickle business. Last year's bestseller could be this year's dud. You never know what your income will be. It's impossible to predict when your sole income is based off the whims of the buying public. I grew up on a farm. Some years were better than others. Some years we barely made it. I use this mentality toward my publishing career. I'm saving money like crazy because I have no idea if it will be there tomorrow. I sit down at the keyboard every day and work around the clock.