“Oh, you’re an author? Are you rich yet?”
I have been asked this question–in jest, of course. I don’t think anyone actually expects me to make millions of dollars off of my writing endeavors. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be happy to do so, but I am saying that it’s not likely.
You see, for a vast majority of authors, writing is a terrible business plan. It’s a trap–a losing proposition. Writing is most often a money sink and you will spend more money on your efforts than you will probably ever make.
But don’t despair! If you know this going in, you won’t be so surprised! Yeah, I know that’s not a lot of reassurance, but you’ve got to know that the Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowlings of the world are few and far between. Plenty of other authors make money off their writing, but they’re not in the same category.
Writing, in and of itself, is free. Pen and paper or word processor or whatever–most people have the supplies needed to write. Ideas are free. Imagination is free. Gumption is free! I’m still not sure what that is, but it’s free! If you have the skills and knowledge to make your own cover, you’re golden! If not…
Fork in the road! But let’s forget the book cover for now.
Go left: Spend no money and spam your message on social media. Show up to free author events with no fancy displays, business cards, or handouts except for your shiny personality. Very doable, but very, very rough.
Go right: Oh what a rabbit hole this is. There are all kinds of independent social media marketers out there, or you can pay Facebook and Twitter to advertise for you. Book stands, table covers, and other display items are good for personal appearances. Business cards and bookmarks are handy, too. Also, most events cost money to reserve a table.
And you’ll want to purchase author copies (if available) of your book to sell at events.
Oh, and before you publish, HIRE AN EDITOR! This isn’t cheap, but it’s absolutely necessary!!! Don’t skimp here, guys.
And how about that book cover? Can’t create one of your own? You’re going to need to hire someone to make you a snazzy cover. No, seriously, you will. Don’t half-ass this
Supplemental artwork like maps or characters? Those cost money.
How much will you make off each book? That’s all subjective, but we’ll say anywhere from $2 to $10. It’s a lot of work to sell books, and you HAVE to be prepared to sink some money into it, not knowing if you’ll ever make it back.
And, let’s say you make that money back.
When’s your next book coming out?