Is There Money in Self Publishing?

By: Linda A Lavid

Theoretically, a self published writer can make as much money as a commercially published one. In some cases, possibly more. There are several reasons why.

First, most commercial fiction writers do not make a lot of money. Let's assume there's an advance of three thousand dollars with royalties of 6% to follow. Now if the book has a very respectable run of 20,000 (copies) at $5.99 (paperback retail for category) and sells out, that nets the writer of $7188, the advance monies of which are included. On the other hand, if a self published writer makes a $5.00 profit on each book sold, he needs to sell around 1550 books to make a similar amount. This includes deducting the cost of publishing. Here are the numbers: 1550 (books) x $5 = $7750 - $500 (cost of publishing with subsidy publisher) for a $7250 net profit. Granted, this is a huge number of books to sell.

Second, the marketing window for a commercially published book is time limited. Publishing houses promote books aggressively for a month or so, then move on to other titles. Self published books can be marketed over a longer period in many creative ways. Granted, most self published authors don't spend the necessary time or energy in marketing.

Third, the shelf life of a commercially published book can be as short as a month. POD books are never out of print. Granted, most self published writers lose interest in moving books after the initial flurry of sales.

Lastly, commercially published authors are only given royalties and can't sell the book for their own personal profit. Self published books can be sold by authors to whomever they choose and for whatever price they choose. Granted, most self published writers often rely on royalty sales rather than sell books in venues that would increase their profit margin.

As suggested, the difference between making and not making money from a self published book lies less with the nature of book selling than with a self publishing author's reluctance to market and stay the course.

Linda's Website

Linda is the author of Composition: A Fiction Writer's Guide for the 21st Century? Download for $3.75

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