When it comes to writing, many people worry that they are not going to make enough to live on. This is especially true when it comes to self-publishing your book. Now while it is the easier option, there are some things that need to be considered when it comes to self-publishing, and how to make a living while doing it.
Many people swear by traditional publishing, while others claim that self-publishing is better, which path is the best one to take, and what are the pros and cons of each?
Traditional Vs. Self-publishing
The thing about traditional publishing is that it is not all that it is cracked up to be, but neither is self-publishing. With traditional publishing, you are likely to get a few thousand dollars as an upfront payment, and then royalties are not paid out until a year has passed. That is if you are even accepted and if they even offer an upfront payment.
Traditional publishing royalties barely get higher than 10% per book; the publisher gets the other 90%. And even with this, you still have to advertise the book by yourself. However, it does give you book a sense of notoriety. But what about self-publishing?
There are many online self-published books providers, such as on Amazon, or Lulu. While you have full control over your book, this also means that you have to do most of the work, as well. Depending on where you go, you can get 50-90% of the value of the book.
So, knowing this, how much can you get when you self-publish a book?
How much can you Earn as a self-published author?
Self-published books are famous for making very little. While you may have heard of someone’s friend or some random person online who claims to have made millions selling their book online, in reality, you are rarely going to get anything from your book. Less than 2% of self-published writers make $100,000 in a year.
In fact, the average income for a self-published writer is less than $5,000 a year, with at least 20% claiming that they have not earned anything at all. Of course, this depends on what you publish, how often you publish, and how actively and well you market.
One of the things that affect earnings is the genre. With hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers trying to have earnings, there is a lot of competition out there. This is especially true for genres such as fantasy, young adult, and erotica. If you can find a niche, you are more likely to be able to make more money, but as are no guarantees.
For instance, some people can earn a lot, while others do not earn anything at all. But you do need to understand that even though a website says that you may get up to 90% of the royalties, with taxes and vats, etc., you are most likely going to get far less. At least one author has shown that the real numbers for the “70%” that you get from Kindle Direct Publishing are actually more like 41% in profits.
How to make ends meet as a self-publisher?
Now that we know how little that the average self-published author makes, how do we go about making a living as a writer? $5,000 to $8,000 a year is not really going to pay all the bills. So we are going to work on the side to help supplement our book writing endeavors.
This is one thing that a lot of authors do not want to do, as there is a kind of pride in getting all of your money from royalties. Since when writing the book, you also have to focus on many other aspects, such as making a cover and editing it. In fact, if you hire someone else to do this for you, this also lowers the amount of money you have overall, even though it is best to have a book be a more shared process.
Being an author is more like a job in and of itself, as you can easily spend hundreds of hours on writing. Then hundreds more on advertising, editing, book cover creation, etc., etc. Being an author really is hard work. You have to make sure that what you write does not have any plot holes, and appeals to the reader. Otherwise, you may just have a dud on your hands rather than a book that will earn you some extra Galleons.
Most self-published authors have a day job or have some other form of income that helps to pay the bills. Most consider self-publishing as something that they do on the side in order to make some supplemental income. It is considered bad advice by many in the publishing industry to quit your day job and just self-publish full time.
One thing that many writers do on the side is freelance writing. With sites like Fiverr and Upwork and plenty of work to find in places like Problogger, freelancing is becoming far more accessible to the average writer. This is a great way for many authors to be able to continue doing what they love while also making enough to pay the bills and earn a living.
Not all books make the same amount, and although royalties are passive income, some writer will earn a lot more than other writers. So trying to find out how many books you are going to have to write in order to earn a decent living is going to be hard. Although writing books, even self-publishing, can be a great way to earn a side income if you are diligent enough.