Eight Ways to Make Money Self-Publishing a Book

I will be the first to admit that self-publishing isn’t for everyone.  It’s a hard road to travel when there are other commitments in my life.  The question I am asked about what I do usually involves the concept of money.

I won’t be the first author to say that I made some dumb choices when it came to self-publishing.  It has a learning curve I never thought would be as steep as it was.  I can say that I have learned a lot of things I can use for my next book.

I can say that had I known a few more facts, I would have probably never gone and tried what I did.  I did not fail, but I also did not know what was the right way to go.

I find now that I am working on two more books, the writing is easier.  The publishing is a lot harder.  The biggest challenge now is time commitments.  I am working with others to write and edit some of my books, and this means that these books need to make money or it will be harder over time to write another one.  What are some of the ways I can make money self-publishing a book?

Have a website or blog up:

This is a must for any author who wants to connect with a larger readership.  It’s fine if you have some connections in your own community, but to make money with your book, you’ll need a website.

Do The Research:

It’s not enough to jump in and hope that your book will be well received.  Doing research goes beyond research for facts and additional information for your book, it goes into why you need to earn X amount of money.

Deciding on a figure is impossible, because there are other factors at play in a writer’s life, but it needs to be done.

Set a budget:

You could go to a vanity press and purchase the largest package you might want to buy, but are you ready to earn that money back before you make a profit? Think of how many book you’ll need to publish before you begin to earn a profit. If the royalty of a paperback book is $2.50 and you spent $2,500 for your publishing package, you will need to sell 1,000 books before you can even consider this book a success.

Find a good editor, and graphic designer:

Yes, you can edit your own work.  With some companies, yes you can even do the cover art or interior design yourself.  That is well within your rights as a self-publisher to do this, but if this is your first book, you will need to consider a reputable professional.

They will cost you some money, but it is worth it when you get good book reviews about your writing.

Develop a marketing plan:

Not everyone is going to purchase a book.  Not everyone is going to want to buy your book, so you will need to find out who will be the best audience for your writing.  A marketing plan works best when you figure out your networking rings.  Once you know the most specific market, you can begin by focusing on them, and go from there.

Consider social networking on Facebook and Twitter and others and how to properly promote there:

There is such a thing as too much when it comes to social media.  Most people don’t want to hear about your book every Facebook status or every tweet.  There are time when people will stop following you because you over promote your book.  Your book is only one part of you as a writer.  It’s best if you promote yourself and build a few relationships with your followers.  Ask them questions and respond to them.

Laws of Averages are something you need to know:

Did you know on average most self-publishers only sell 41 books to someone who is not a family or friend?  Did you know on average it takes about 3 months to 2 years to write and self-publish a book? Did you know on average Amazon sells most of your self-published books outside of your family and friends?  The law of average is something you need to consider when it comes to publishing and expectations.

Don’t Just Plan. Set Goals:

You can plan to sell 41 books by using your Facebook author page and your website, but do you have a goal based on how you will go about this?  If your goal is to sell 41 books in three months, you have a better chance of getting there.  It’s a good goal, and it’s doable.

By setting a goal you will learn very quickly what works for your audience.  With a goal in mind you can focus on being a writer, and being an accessible author to your readers, who will be more likely to buy a book from you.  A goal is the best way to make money self-publishing.


  • Amy

    I think the most important point is "set goals." If you are writing another book, which is the most important goal for you?

  • Joylene Nowell Butler

    This is my story, and it's amazing that you knew. LOL. Seriously, self-publishing jump-started my career. Wouldn't be here if I hadn't taken the blunge. But, having said that, I don't think–heck I know I couldn't do it again. Especially in Canada. Too too many hurtles. Excellent post. Thanks for visiting IWSG's site.

  • Rebecca A Emrich

    Joylene– really? I must be a mind reader. I quite enjoyed the experience, and for niche market writing I would self-publish again, but for fiction, no I'll head the traditional route.