Should You Think of Making Money When Self-Publishing?
This may seem like something that comes with a simple answer, but really it is the very question that people seem to think not so hard about. Writers have their reasons to self-publish their books, it might be because they have a family history to complete, or it might be because they have something that they want to share. For many it’s a labour of love.
Writers will spent a lot of time writing and then fine tuning their work and then writing a query letter and learning how to market their newly published book this can include for some, get a literary agent or best of all a traditional publisher. There is a fine line between writing and not editing and writing and editing and getting a positive response to your queries. A rejection letter can also be seen a positive response to a query, especially if the agent in question took the time to personalize it.
Remember not all negative responses to a query letter are alike, and you might find that by simply doing a bit of re-editing, your work would have the “yes” every writer dreams of. Either way, you can decide that self-publishing is right for you. Your niche market might be too small for a traditional publisher to take a chance on you.
This does mean that you will have to do some work to do, but it also means that you will need to budget and decide how much money you need to spend. Once that is done, what will it take to get that money back from book sales, and then make some money. (let us for the sake of and example say make $200 profit.)
I used CreateSpace and IUniverse as two examples. (One is a vanity press, the other a self-publishing/ distributor.)
Now according to CreateSpace, you can buy some books and your book sells for $12.00 and Create Space will charge you $2.50 for 100 books, how many books will you need to sell to make that return of investment, is about 20 or so books to others, of course this means you will have about 80 books left. These 80 books can become passive income should you be able to sell them all in a reasonable timeframe. I would also advise getting some marketing done to make sure that people know about your book. What about another example? This one is IUniverse, a vanity press at best, a black hole for money at worst.
IUniverse has packages, and offers “free books” with select packages, so for sake of this example, we will go with the select package which is $600, or more- at this time. This particular package offers no editorial or anything else, roughly the same as CreateSpace- except CreateSpace is by far less expensive for what it offers. With this package, you will get 5 books for this price of $600 (the company says these are “free books.”) Based on some quick math, you then will need to sell all of them and then buy some more books and then sell these at full price, to make some money, and since IUniverse does not offer Amazon listing at this price and I doubt your would make your money. The company also sets the price, and it is generally about $20, which is a harder sell for most new authors.
So, should you think of making money when self-publishing? Yes you should.
Michelle Davidson Argyle
Great post! I just self-published a novella and it has done pretty well so far for a self-published book. I did a detailed post about what I've spent and made. You can find the post here: http://literarylab.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-going-indie-will-cost-you-part-3.html