Here, I want to delve a little bit more into how much independent publishers like me earn so you can see — not only do they need the services discussed in the aforementioned article, they can well afford to pay for them too.
Also, from what I read on the internet, there’s a lot of misinformation about this.
Some of it I think is that publishers having a vested interest in keeping writers married to the idea that you need to be traditionally published to make “real” money (you most definitely do not, as JA Konrath discusses on an almost daily basis, with real numbers to back it up). FYI, he’s been traditionally published and self-published, so he knows both worlds — intimately.
Another reason I think is that there is so much confusion about how much self-publishers earn is that there is no one definition of what “real money” is. Let’s tackle this right now.
What Does It Mean to Earn “Real Money” as a Self-Published Author?
In my opinion, real money is defined as enough to replace a job if you had to. This varies for each person, of course, but the definition can stand because when you read about how much self-publishers earn, you can decide for yourself if that’s real money — for you.
Always keep the source in mind when you’re reading stories about how much self-published authors earn, ie, is the piece written by a publisher, a literary agent (who are usually employed by publishing houses), or a self-published author?
My Earnings as a Self-Publisher
Since 2010, over half my annual income has come from information products I wrote and self-published (ie, ebooks and e-classes). As of this year, it’s over 75%, because this is where I’ve been concentrating the bulk of my efforts the last few years.
I could totally live off my self-publishing income. Some months would be tight, but if I never landed another freelance writing client (fingers crossed that THAT doesn’t happen!), then I’d be ok. I earn in the mid-four figures each month — enough to pay my bills and save for retirement (not as much as I’d like — yet!).
Within the next year or two, I totally foresee outpacing what I’ve ever earned as a freelance writer working on client projects per month. Why? Because I’m writing more fiction these days, which outsells my non-fiction titles by a wide margin. Also, my non-fiction titles have been selling more on Amazon since I started publishing fiction; a nice, unexpected side benefit.
Self-Publishers Keeping Their Earnings Under Wraps
While many self-published authors freely share how much they earn, I think many more don’t — either because they’re too busy writing, or because they don’t to be sucked into a fruitless discussion where people rip you apart saying you’re not a “real writer” if you not traditionally published.
Why preach to non-believers, especially when your four or five figure payout hits your bank account from Amazon at the end of each month. I know this is my feeling. Much like getting into a discussion about how much freelance writers should charge, it’s fruitless. If what you’re doing is working for you, then you silently smile as you collect your earnings … and keep writing.
To bring this post full-circle — ie, back to the topic of today’s post — many self-published authors can more than afford well-priced services. And boy do we need reliable providers.
Writing a book is the easy part; there’s ton to be done after, eg, copy editing, proofreading, formatting and cover art.
Then there’s marketing — which is ongoing. That means press releases, blog posts, newsletters, social media interaction, etc. These are all services a freelance writer (eg, a freelance writing company catering to self-published authors) could offer. Could that provider be you?