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Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Challenge of Making a Living as a Writer

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.


Jake said...

This post reminds me of Wayne Thomas Batson's post on the subject. And it's true: he is self-publishing some of his books.

For newer/unknown writers, I think it's best to go into traditional publishing, at least at first. (That, considering that fact that you might not even be able to publish traditionally.) That way, the writer builds a readership. And then they could do what Sir Batson is doing.

Anonymous said...

I think that sounds like a good idea Scott. Dabbling everywhere instead of one niche is always smart. J.A Konrath still has a few traditionally published books, but he self publishes the ones rejected by traditional publishers, so he isn't starving between paychecks.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.