An oversimplified way to describe self-publishing is that you upload finished files to certain websites and they in turn download money into your bank account. Everything is done digitally and there’s hardly any overhead. With e-books and POD, there is no warehousing or product fulfillment.
Just files and royalties.
One of the major ways you succeed in the modern age of content distribution is through disintermediation—taking out the middleman. By having the ability to go right to the customer via a distribution network like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I not only keep more control over my products, but also pocket more profit.
Truth is there is no ceiling on how much you can make. You are only limited by your potential.
How cool would it be to make enough to pay for a family vacation? Or make your car payment every month? Ask any writer. There is no sweeter money than a royalty check for your book sales.
Before we go too far down this yellow brick road, let’s be clear with one thing when it comes to self-publishing. You need to know it will be a labor of love at first.
The hardest thing in the world is going from zero to one mile per hour. Making regular money doing anything creative requires a certain amount of momentum. If you are starting from scratch, i.e., you have never published a book, or anything else, and you have never created anything for the internet and don’t currently have a following or audience, you really do have your work cut out for you for sure.
You can’t go into this with the expectation that you are going to publish your first book to the Kindle and the money will start pouring in. It takes time and effort to build a successful publishing platform.
Let’s set some expectations. What are your lofty goals? If you want to make a living, you have to start somewhere.
How about selling 100 copies of your book to begin with?
That would be a “win” in indie publishing. What else would be a win? Remember victories are relative.
- A win is any time you can look at a positive outcome from your efforts that in some way moves the needle, no matter what that needle is.
- A win is releasing your first book
- A win is selling the first copy of your first book.
- A win is hitting any bestseller chart for the first time
- A win is hitting #1 on any bestseller chart anywhere.
You want to make money doing this, right? Remember, a few books a day adds up. If you can put yourself in a position where each book sale will net you 2 bucks in profit, then what happens if you sell 5 copies a day, every day for a whole month?
What if you could sell 5 on Amazon. 1 on BN, 2 in the iBookstore, 1 on Kobo… all of a sudden, that’s 9 or 10 books a day…
$20 a day, 30 days = $600
You can build on that momentum and hopefully turn 5 copies a day into 7 and then 10 and then 20, 30, 50 and more. That’s how you make money self-publishing. You may not recoup your investment in a book for a while. It may take months or longer, but once you can go into the black, it’s all profit from there.
Just from uploading some files. That’s the beauty of self-publishing.
March 2013 marks the 8th anniversary of the launch of my indie publishing imprint, Glenneyre Press, an indie publishing imprint I started in 2005 with zero experience and lots of preconceived notions… which were wrong. Since 2011, it has been my full time gig.