Only a few thousand fiction writers in the US make their entire income off of their writing. The rest, like me, have a day or night job. I have been doing the math and have come to the conclusion that I average only 50 cents per book sold through my publisher. In contrast to that, when I self-published Swords of the Six, I made a few dollars off each copy sold.
Digital books (such as Kindle) offer the opportunity for authors to make more money off each copy sold. I can make 70% on a Kindle book. So even if I sell it for only a few dollars I make good return. This is exciting!
So does this mean that I should throw out the traditional publishing market? After all, many authors are now talking about self-publishing their books instead of continuing with their traditional publishing houses. But these authors already have an established market; people know to look for their books because the traditional houses have already spread word to their markets.
My plan is to do both. I am going to continue writing for traditional publishing houses to grow my readership, and I'm going to self-publish other titles on the side. Hopefully between the two I can bring my writing income to where it needs to be, sooner rather than later.