Welcome to the third article in my series about My streams of income. The series started Monday, yesterday I wrote about how to make money as a writer. Today it is time that I explain to you why I want to turn writing and publishing into a new income river. Streams are great, but when it’s time to get serious, you really need a river! 🙂
Right now, I have already developed a small river of income through my writing and publishing activities. Essentially, I have achieved my goal of making writing & publishing the biggest source of income in my arsenal. But, as the old saying goes, you gotta strike while the iron is hot. For me, at the moment that means that my writing and publishing business is hot, and that means that I need to capitalize on it and increase the income as much as possible.
I have been a writer for many years. I started writing professionally back in 1991 when I started writing books on the topic of Amateur Radio. I had a publisher, the world’s largest publisher in my niche. I was pretty successful at what I did. The amount of money I made, though, was good but not super. I mean, I made enough to live on, but we all think that people who have published books that you can find in the bookstore are all super right, right? Sorry, Joe, it ain’t so! Fact is, back in the old days when there were publishers, bookstores, even agents and such, the amount of money that the average author made was tiny. If you made 10 to 15% of the retail price of the book you were doing really good.
Depending on the title, back in those days, I usually made between 10% and 15% of the cover price of the books that I wrote. Frankly, the bookstore, the publisher and just about everybody involved made more money than I did for each copy sold. This is typical for all authors, except for the really famous ones. They get a better deal, and they make a lot more money than the small guy like me. But, as I noted in my last article, the game has changed.
Back in the days when I had a publisher, I would sell tens of thousands of copies of my books each year. But, figure it out… let’s say that a book sells for $10 retail. You get $1.50 per copy sold. There are costs for your tools of the trade – a computer, your office, your furniture, etc. Pens, paper, maybe a secretary. Whatever, it all adds up. Let’s say that you sell 75,000 copies of your book in a year, which is a lot for the average writer. Most writers sell only a fraction of that number. But, there were years when I sold 75,000 copies of my books. $10 cover price, I get $1.50. Sell 75,000, that means that my gross income was $112,500. Take off all of those expenses, and you might get $50,000 out of that. There was one year that I got sued over one of my books, and that took a ton of money to defend. I didn’t make anything that year, in fact, I lost.
So, why would I want to pursue writing?
It’s simple, and I keep repeating this… the game has changed. Self-publishing, baby. Self-selling. Self-everything. That is where the money is.
Become an expert on the right topic and you can sell a book for a LOT more than $10. In fact, I have individual books that sell for as much as $49 per copy. These are electronic books, so the cost of producing the book is basically zero once it is written. Basically, every penny of the price on the cover is profit. Back in the days when I wrote paper books, though, I made a gross profit of only 15% of the cover price, and after my expenses, I made far less than that.
I have written a total of 74 electronic books in my current niche. Some are very successful, others are not as successful. I have some books that I wrote like 5 years ago and have sold only 10 copies or so in those 5 years. That’s not much of a success, but that’s OK. Overall, it has been a very successful business for me. I have one book that in the past 5 years I have sold over 4,000 copies of. That is my best seller. That book sells for $39 currently, but for many years it sold for $49. From time to time I offer special deals where it sells for less, but not too often. So, over 4,000 copies sold, priced at $39 to $49 per copy. You do the math. It’s a nice piece of business. When I was writing paper-based books, I could sell 75,000 copies in a good year, and make only a fraction of what I am making now selling only a few thousand copies of a title.
Know what else is great? Not only do I write the books myself and publish the books myself, but I also sell the books myself through my own website. So, all of those middlemen that got cuts from my word back in the old days are now gone, and my work basically supports only me and my family now. I like that!
eBooks are only a small part of my writing
I have been basically writing about the income from writing eBooks. Truth is, though, eBooks are only a small part of my income that I make from writing. I make more money from the free writing I do on my various blogs on the Internet. In fact, not only does that free writing on the net make its own money through advertising and other opportunities that present themselves, but it is that free writing that promotes my books and shows people that I have the knowledge that they are looking for and thus helps them decide to buy the books.
So, why did I want to turn writing and publishing into an income river (instead of a stream)? Well, quite simply because I really enjoy writing, I feel that I am good at it, and it makes nice money. The main thing, though, is that I enjoy it a lot!
I hope to see you again tomorrow when I will talk about the results I have achieved in my book writing/publishing/selling.