Money

Making Money as a Writer

So here we go, a post on ‘Making Money as a Writer.’ A subject that seems to come up often, far more than I ever thought it would actually when I began this journey. Let me start by saying of course, when I started this I thought “Oh I’ll write books, make $$$, quit my day job and be a writer for the rest of my life, it will be easy living!” I think that every writer has that same little fantasy that this will come and come fast and easy. It’s normal. It’s also almost never like that.

Yes, it *can* happen. And so does getting struck by lightning, or winning the lottery, or even creating this really new hot viral app that makes you $$$ hand over fist. All of it’s POSSIBLE. But likely? No.  I have been asked more than once, by very smart and well meaning people why I don’t just write full time. Simple answer? Money.

See I think those same people think it’s easy to make money writing books.It’s not. Not even close really. In grand total for ALL of 2015, I made…. 211$ Whoohoo! off of writing. Yes, that little. Why so little you may ask?

  1. Lack of understanding on my part about marketing.
  2. Poor choices of categories
  3. Rushing books to market before they were ready.

All of those hurt me badly when it came to earning $$$, and I’m working heard to rectify those issues with my next book (coming soon!)

Then of course you read things.. things like http://bit.ly/1W64joy.

Basically the statement is to give it up, only 40 Amazon authors made “money”. But lets look at the definition of making money they used.. selling 1 million eBooks in 5 years. Excuse me? What??

Basic math here folks.

You sell a Million eBooks in 5 years, your averaging 200,000 a year. The most “common” eBook price (because the article is short on the details) is 2.99. Assuming your using the 70% royalty plan (and there’s no reason to think your not) you would be making 2.09 PER eBook sold. Which means your making 418,600$ a YEAR.

 

Yeah… That’s a fair amount more than “just being successful.” That’s being majorly AWESOMELY successful. It’s also a highly unrealistic number to use as “making money from self publishing.”

What do I want? My dream goal would be to pull anywhere from 70-90k a year from writing alone. That would be insanely awesome. Truly. My realistic goal, if I can get to 30k a year from writing, that would be great!! Would I quit my day job? Hell no. But if someone came up to you and said “Hey you want an extra 30k a year in passive income?” I think anyone and everyone would say yes please.

Why write then? If money is not so easy to make, why do it?

  1. I actually really enjoy writing
  2. I enjoy telling stories
  3. I get a kick out of creating something that is out there for others to enjoy.

You want to know what you can do to support or help an self publishing author?

  1. Buy their books
  2. REVIEW their books (seriously, telling someone you like their book is great, but writing a LEGIT review on Amazon is better, FAR better due to how Amazon does things.)
  3. Recommend their book to others.

That simple. 🙂

 

 

First Draft to Final Product

I hate this part.

I sort of hate it really. If you’ve ever written anything like a short story or novella or even an epic, the rush of finishing that first draft is a great one. “Yeah I’m awesome, got my first draft done, whoohoo go me, etc etc.” and of course a small part of you thinks, I’m such an awesome writer, a quick run through to correct some what will be totally minor grammar stuff and I’ll publish this baby out. The public will love it! My name will be on the posts of every Goodreads message board, the #amreading twitter hashtag will blow up with rave reviews!!

Yeah.. hold your horses there buddy.

You (and I mean me as well in that you) have a LONG LONG way to go.

  1. 1. You need to have a GROUP of others read it. Meaning, at least 4-5 others. Meaning feedback. Just because you think your ever so clever betrayal in the first 20 pages makes sense, doesn’t mean it will to anyone else. Your the author, you KNOW what motivates your characters already. If you don’t give the readers enough clues, they aren’t going to understand.
  2. 2. That feedback you got from those 4-5 people? USE it. Even if it means that something you thought was awesome needs to be cut of changed. If they all notice the same thing, there’s a problem.
  3. 3. You need an editor. Yes, really. And yes, it’s not cheap to hire one. And yes, waiting for the draft BACK from editing will suck. Accept it. If your lucky enough to get picked up by a publishing house you won’t need to hire one, otherwise, it’s your money. Or if your REALLY lucky you can work something out with an editor. Trade services or whatnot. But you need one. The fact is that there’s a good chance you will overlook issues. It’s your work, you have seen it 1000 times now. You need a critical eye. Not just a readers eye, but a harsh critical one. You will hate it. Accept it, and move on!
  4. 4. Covers. Book Covers. You can go the cheap route, Fiverr is a great choice for that end, but you DO get what you pay for. Finding a cover is also not always cheap sadly. Remember though, the first thing a prospective buyer is going to see is your cover. Good cover art is a must.

 

So after ALL of that, then you can publish.. yay!

But wait, what formats? eBook only? eBook and Paperback? What about audiobooks? Then you have marketing.. book trailers, postcards, bookmarks, etc.

I hate that part. But as others have said, the first draft? That’s the damn easy section. Getting from the first draft to the final product isn’t easy. Do your self a favor though, don’t skimp or cut corners on it. It’s just as important as the first part.

I’m alive!

booktilesSo I’ve been a slacker once more. I haven’t really posted on here, and I’ve been non-busy on twitter as well. But I have my reasons..

  1. I started a new day job. – It’s given me more time to write, and it’s far less stressful.
  2. The new book is turning into a monster.. in length. It’s flowing well, I know where and how I’m taking everyone and everything, but it’s a long write.
  3. This time of year with kids going back to school, birthdays, anniversaries, etc, can be a real pain to get some stuff done.

 

But I’ll be the first to say I have slacked when it comes to the social media aspects of being a part time writer. I’m not big on self-promotion, which is something I need to work on. I”ll say this, I’m going to try again to make a blog post at least once a week, and to push myself to finish the book by the end of November. At least the first draft. That gives me all of December to edit, and rewrite, get feedback, etc.

The new book, for those who don’t know, is a YA Sci Fi novel. Looks like it will be clocking in around 50-60K words depending. Writing believable and authentic sci-fi has been a fun and interesting challenge. Oddly enough recent sensational news stories are reflecting a part of my main storyline, which I find vastly amusing. But I’m back, I’m alive, and I haven’t given up on writing.

CANITUS

CANITUS – is now live 🙂

Book Blurb:

James Blackwoad loves order, systems, and figuring problems out. His only real problem is dealing with office politics and a Director at his work that seems to have it in for him. But when computer systems start to become infected with a new virus, he is quickly thrown into a world of cyber crime, government agencies, and far more danger than he realizes. What is CANITUS? Who created it? And who is willing to destroy him to protect it?

——————

Who wouldn’t want to read that?

This book was harder to write in many ways. Mostly because of real life issues getting in the way. Work took a whole bunch of extra time this spring, which pushed me back a lot. Also I decided early on that my protag, was in fact a boring git. So I stopped and rewrote him. The good news is I have a new job, not nearly as stressful! And pays better as well. I’m doing some marketing for CANITUS, and then I’ll get busy with the next book, The Rune.

Then I plan on coming back to James Blackwoad, for Blackwoad Book 2. Title to be determined.

You can get CANITUS via my ‘eBooks I’ve written‘ page, just click the picture of the book cover (works for all the books) and it will take you to the Amazon page for it. Happy reading all.

Book Title, Cover Change

So of course the big “news” at the moment in my newly minted writing world, is that I’ve changed the first books title and cover. There were a few good reasons for the changes, all boiling down mostly to the fact that the old title and cover, well.. needed work. The cover idea I had, just didn’t look very good honestly. And the title didn’t work well for the rest of the arc, I needed a better one to fit the arc, and the story better. So in my typical bullet list style…

 

  • The old cover, looked like crap.
  • The old title, was kinda nonsensical, and hard to remember.
  • I had gotten feedback from multiple people telling me the same things.

 

So, I changed them. And honestly, I’m really glad I did. I’m a lot , LOT happier with the new title and cover. You can see it here:

 

Oversee of One? Yes, MUCH better than GHIB-T47.

Cover? Brown and boring vs. a bit more dramatic, more.. moody.

So yeah.. I’m happy with the change.

Reviews for eBooks, how to get them?

One of the more interesting things I’ve run across with this little start to writing and (self) publishing, is I don’t think I truly understood the power of a review. I’ll be honest, I never really left reviews myself, and didn’t ever think about not leaving them, until now. With from what I understand at least, Amazon really counting reviews a lot towards marketing. This gets you better visibility, and hopefully, better visibility leads to better sales. Which hopefully leads to more reviews, which leads to better visibility, etc etc.

Of course the kicker is how to *start* that process. Your a nobody with an idea and a recently published eBook. You think it’s pretty good, maybe you’ve gotten a family member to read it, they think it’s pretty good. And you  hope they just aren’t saying that.

You can beg, annoy, cajole everyone you know to both get the book and review it. And say, put it up for free for 5 days. And out of over 100 downloads, you end up with 4 reviews. 🙁 Great reviews to be sure, but 4…:(

Then you “submit” your eBook to services that are supposedly there to help promote the book, but your not even sure they do anything.

I once thought writing was the hard part, and it is sometimes. But just as hard, and in ways I never expected, was the marketing aspect of an eBook.

I’m going to redo the cover, I changed the categories the book is under, and tightening up the way I tweet about the book. Trying to find the right hash tag for it.

Marketing an eBook, is in some ways, it’s own special challenge. Getting reviews for eBooks, can just be plain hard.

Free eBook for Kindle coming to an end, was it worth it?

So as part of the Amazon select promotion, I put my first book (Shameless plug ) out for free for 5 days. So far..

 

The Good

1) I’ve had nearly 100 downloads.. that’s pretty good I think considering I’m brand freaking new to the world of ebook self publishing.

2) I’ve netted two additional reviews, both 5 stars! Also pretty good.

3) I’ve used the free time test and track using an affiliate link for the book access.. working well! So that’s good.

 

The bad

1) I had a hella lot of downloads the first day, then tapered off  a lot. I don’t know if that’s normal or not. But it does worry me.. anyone know?

2) While I didn’t get into this first off to make money, I like most “starting out” authors do on occasion daydream about making a living doing this.. I look at all the free downloads and think.. “Man, that would look good as a check.” Course I’m at 0.99 cents, so it’s not that much money, but still.. LOL

3) I sometimes have felt like I’m forcing the book down peoples throats to try and get eyes on the product. I’m not big on that. I never was a big sales guy.

 

So.. was the free eBook for kindle worth it?? I don’t know yet. We will see how things go next week when it’s back on the 0.99 cents plan.. If I can get another review of two today, that might help. 😉

 

Josh

 

Amazon Affiliate Links

So, I learned something new today, though in retrospect I really should have known about it before. Not only can you make money off the sale of you book(s) but you can also make money off of being an affiliate for your OWN books.

*smacks head*

Basically, you sign up to be an affiliate, linking to your own products. Then if someone uses your link to buy your book, not only do you get the royalty from the book sale, you can get a kickback via the affiliate link. Which is awesome! Just wish I’d known it before the free week I’m doing now. I’m only using the affiliate link now for my tweets and the like, but man, that would have been useful last week. It’s very easy to sign up to be an affiliate, so that’s good. The plan is once the free week is over with this weekend, do some more twitter marketing and Facebook stuff. I’ve also really got to figure out goodreads, and how to use it without breaking the rules on Amazon Select. That’s really confusing me so far in the game.

So, if your going to be selling eBooks via Amazon, do it with an affiliate link, and get a bit of extra cash!

eBook Marketing 101

To my past self:

 

So you want to start being a part time to full time writer eh?

 

Ok..so here’s what you gotta do.

1) Write the damn book. Far easier said than done.. but you can do it.

2) Get it published. Ok, we can do this.. Fiverr is your friend. Covers, kindle formatting, etc. Fiverr if your on a shoestring budget is  your go to place.

3) Marketing.

 

What’s that? You think you don’t need to do number 3? Ah.. foolish foolish boy.

You will have to market the hell out of both yourself and the book. No one knows you, no one knows the story, and no one even will pay it any attention in the 80 thousand other books out there. You will have to submit the ebook to everywhere you can find, post every and anywhere you can proclaiming the book, and beg for real honest reviews. Now don’t be a dishonest guy, and pay for reviews, but submitting the eBook to websites that put the book and it’s cover out there? Yes please.  Yes, I’m aware we don’t like promoting ourselves, but you want this? You gotta work for it man. Put it out there, be larger than life as the saying goes.

The only person keeping it from you.. is you.