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How much do you make self-publishing?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Muqtada, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

    Not like it all comes down to money or anything... but it does.

    I was just wondering, for any of you on here who have tried self-publishing, if there is a rough average for first-timers. I understand that the amount of sales probably has a lot to do with how you market it, your cover art, etc. and there are probably numerous other variables (pricing, demand on the market for your kind of book, if word passes through the grapevine) and for all of these reasons I'm not asking for any sort of dangerously specific numbers or breakdown. What I was wondering is if a self-published novel likely to make a total of $50 in the first year on the market? Would it be unexpected for it to break the $200-mark in a year?

    For sake of argument, let's say we're talking about the Amazon Kindle market
  2. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    I have two shorts on Amazon, published in January, at .99. I have made 1.35 with no effort to publicize. I suspect those few sales have come from other Mythic Scribes members.
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    It depends on a lot. Price, quality, promotion. $50-$200 in a year is more than reasonable, and you can probably do better, but it all depends on you and how much work you put into it. I'd also have to note, because these things tend to follow a sort of pattern, most of your sales would be back-ended. If you're on pace for making $50 in a year, you might go 8 months making the first $20 and then make the last $30 in the final four months of the year. That's just how it works with online marketing.

    The conventional wisdom, so to speak, is that it takes about a year to build an audience online. Whatever you're doing, if you do it for a year, the results you get are probably all you're going to get, unless you start to escalate your efforts. You can see that, for instance, with Mythic Scribes, which just had its one-year birthday. We're starting to see that escalation; in this case, Black Dragon is now starting to use the people in the community as a resource to build up the quality of the site. Before that, it looked to me like it had a breaking point late last year and was just starting to peak. But now, because the effort has increased, we should continue to see growth.

    It'll follow the same sort of pattern for your writing. After about a year, you should be posting your sequel. Or some other major expansion of content. But in that year, if you aren't putting in a 100% of what's needed, you might end up with under $10.
    Legendary Sidekick likes this.
  4. This roughly matches my experience. (Two shorts, published in January, and made a similar amount, with no real marketing effort.)
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

    The short answer is you get reap what you sow. I've made six-figures in self-publishing and sold more than 70,000 books. Some call that an outlier - but I'm no where near that. Is that what can be expected? No - not in the least. Does it show what is possible....yes. Some sell only a few books a month a large number of people I know sell 1,000+ a month - but they treat it like a business....have several books for sale, all with good covers, and all of high quality - and they market themselves.

    It all comes down to the quality of the product, and your ability to get people to know about it. As in any small business many make little to nothing, some scrape by, and others do spectacularly well. What doesn't work... Just throwing together a book and putting it out there and hoping people will flock to your door.
  6. The easiest way is to build your credentials with publishers in lyrics, poems and shorts and possibly collaborative works with established writers and publishers. Being an unknown writer the easiest way to establish credentials is to buy 'vanity publishing deals' . In this deal, you will pay for the registration of your published works yet, you will retain full royalty and ownership of your work. Adding to your list of credentials of work with reputable /established publishers you can then approach Publishers with your book/works and seek a more elaborate publishing deal where the publisher will pay you an upfront fee and retain an agreed amount of royalties. The more credentials you have established with publishers the better deal you may get since first-time publishing from unknown writers may be heavily squeezed for the risk factor, therefore causing you a small upfront fee and large percentage of royalty losses. It's the same game anywhere, you build your credentials first to get noticed as a professional in industry, and then you will be given more consideration as a professional with established/registered works and past dealings with publishers in industry. We offer credential building options at out publishing company to new writers but you'd have to private message so it's not to be considered spamming.
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    The easiest way is to be awesome. True story.

    I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. Your advice is sound enough. Start small, do well, work your way up. But you're confusing me a little. What do you mean by registration?
  8. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

    I've heard the "start with short stories" many times in the past. In fact my own agent wanted me to write some when she was shopping my larger works around to have credentials. While this sounds good in theory, for some (like me) it won't work in practice. I'm a MUCH better novel writer than I am short stories. It takes a certain talent to be able to pull off a short and if you don't come by that talent naturally you might be putting a square peg in a round hole.

    I don't see how you can "buy credentials by vanity publishing. Most people in the know will tell you to not even mention any self-published works - unless you can boast substantial numbers of copies sold.
  9. ah, but since I run a major publisher with license through the largest professional society in USA and am on Board of Members, I have a little knowledge on the subject. If you doubt the posts I make, do it how you feel is best. :)
  10. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    Please provide us with evidence that your company is legitimate. If you do in fact "run a major publisher," you should be able to direct us to some of your publications as well as to a web site.

    If you are unable to do so, we will have to conclude that your company is suspicious, and will ask you to leave. We don't want predators soliciting our members.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
    kennyc, Ghost, Devor and 1 other person like this.

  11. I see, well you can go to ASCAP website and search their ACE/Repertory records and check under publishers for Lestat Publishing. I'm also on the Board of Members elected in 1999. I might have already revealed that in my introduction post to this site.

    and once you get the phone number off of the record, if you call it, I'm probably here right now :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2012
  12. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    Still rather suspicious. A web search on Lestat Publishing turns up little, and you have no link on your profile. Add to that the amateurish writing style and the seeming endorsement of buying 'vanity publishing deals' and you do not give a convincing first impression.
    danr62 likes this.
  13. What I mean by registration is , when a publisher publishes your works they register these works under their publishing company and credentials. So instead of being out there alone with your book you also have published works which you can build in credentials to show publishers. It's the same as if you were trying out for a movie and if you had already starred in 10 other movies as opposed to being a first time audition. Sometimes companies like the fact that you already have your sea-legs in working in the industry. For example, there could be an event of someone published for first time, and perhaps they weren't sure what it entailed, so they signed the contract, and then they go on a tirade complaining about the royalty they were given, they flame the company and their wealthy mother brings lawsuits against the company to no avail, only to find out it was part of the legal process and was in contract. Then they say "ohhh, alright, well I didnt know that". This isn't my personal experience but I know of many like it. Some of the process is knowing you're dealing with somebody that knows the ropes, knows the process and there isn't going to be any jack -in-the-box surprises and headaches. There are A LOT of people out there and it doesn't always work out well with all personality types. It might sound strange, but you'd be surprised how far and few between of people can handle themselves professionally and understand the processes ,set goals and achieve them with as little metal burs to grab as possible. Credential process allows companies to know who they're dealing with, equivalent of references. It might be assumed that everyone is capable , but wait until you have a guy in your office that thinks the aliens from mars are gonna be pissed off because his publication was to make more money and so they think you are holding them back and they're not afraid to zap you with quantum muon fermion classes. The more people you meet as a professional company, the more thankful you are for those few that you know are pretty damn sane.
  14. You went to ASCAP , the American Society of Composers , Authors and Publishers, that is home to 75% of all professionals in USA.
    You found my Publishing company registered and you're claiming its not enough, and I have an amateur writing style?

    wow, now I feel like I've been insulted and hurt feelings. :D
    I'm sorry , how might I be more professionally registered ?
    a link to a website would make me more valid? I currently don't run a website for my publishing company , but if you check any of the past 13 year publications of the ASCAP book of members, I will be in those. and at the ASCAP website.
    I'm sorry, but I cant get Santa Clause to endorse me at the moment. My writing style sucks? god, that sucks.
    Now I feel like my hairs messed up and my pants are down in the middle of the mall, and I suddenly came into awarenes that way, don't know how I got there. UGH.

    You said a web search turns up little.
    right, please goto ASCAP , they're pretty reputable as the largest society in USA.
    Ace/Repertory of records. Lestat Publishing

    my writing style is amateur? dammmmn

    soo... I'm distracting myself right now , thinking of all the good things I've done. I'm imagining attractive women and I've done pretty good in my career. (invasion thought "Your writing style is amateur!" ..ignore it, its probably not true, I hate oil lamps, I like pizza and catelope sized breasts I dont care if they're fake , they just look good. )

    Thanks. I'm feeling the love.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2012
  15. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror


    You've been hitting/posting in a lot of the writing forums recently, looking for writers. Nothing wrong with that, I guess.

    As there's not a website, what novels/books has Lestat published? What genres (I am guessing fantasy as you posted here) are you interested in? What formats do you publish (what rights do you normally negotiate for in your contracts), do you offer advances, etc.? Who distributes your authors' works? Are the works regularly stocked in bookstores, in what counties, or only available online? Do you accept unsolicited mansucripts or do you require established agents to submit them to your company? Are there any fees or payments from the author to the publisher? These are some of the things a writer seeking a publisher might hope to find at a website. That's one of the reasons why a publisher usually has a website. Also, a place for readers to go for more information if they've found an author they like.
  16. That's interesting TEErvin2, whats the name of your publishing company that you do all these things in such order?

    I'm a professional publisher and I know nobody gets a full publishing with advancement and royalty as an unknown writer unless you know somebody. I offer credential building that writers can advance their careers on which not many other do. You've checked the ASCAP society for my publishing credentials then?

    It seems some speak here about the big golden ring publishing deal as many musicians are conditioned to talk about the one big record deal signing. I run a record company as well.

    The big hop-skip-jump to the big deal is the popular talk , but the reality is credential building.
    In my professional experience here's what I learned, your career is not a destination, it's not a record deal or a big publishing deal. In reality it will turn out to be the money you will make along the way and the credentials will be what closes those deals for you. I understand your concern , but I run a publishing company and the credentials are verified at the proper sources.

    The big record deal and the big publishing deal never happen, your career is based on your ability to make money as a career while working towards that big deal. I am skeptical on people that have masses of people led along towards the big deal, thinking if their book or music is good enough they will hit that big deal. I'm here and on other sites giving reality.

    Im a publisher. Lestat Publishing

    I was rated #1 in USA five times, I have 12 commercial radio awards. I was rated #1 at Capitol Radio ( the highest rated rock show) I used to believe in the big record deal. But instead I got to my accomplishments on my own. There never was a big record deal or publishing deal. I ended up gaining all of my own credentials. So now looking back at those who are being led along to the one big deal , disgusts me. I offer realistic startegies.

    There are many that prey on the creative. I'm the only one here that can say I've been through it and have ALL credentials to show.

    REALISTIC careers.. not text-book tongue in cheek regurgitated cliche's about how to get the big deal. I help writers, musicians and artists in the reality of the world , not the sitting waiting pondering the big deal. With credentials , writers can approach businesses and everyone in the world to say one thing = "I write, I'm published, and here are my credentials" . When a business sees that they are published, they have high status credentials , they're more likely to go with them as opposed to the other guy/girl.

    WHILE they work towards the 'big deal'

    I'm a professional and elected member of the biggest society in USA for publishers, I know real -world situations and real world law on these aspects. Build your credentials, make a living off your writing, while approaching the big end all deal. Just in case it never comes or takes awhile.

    It's a simple question of if writers want to make money now or wait until the big deal comes, and if you have ANY professional experience you will have known that most of those big deals come from working with people long enough until one day somebody has some deal for you on larger scale. That's how deals come. I don't run a forum , I run a publishing company and deals dont come to great writers, they come to great writers that have over the years worked their way around to where that deal lands. If you have more professional real-word advice I'd like to know it, and I'd like to know your credentials, your publishing license number, the people you have worked with and credentials of anyone you have made #1 in USA.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2012
  17. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator


    Once again, I am requesting that you provide us with the names of some of the books that you've published. If you are indeed a "major publisher," you should be able to do so.

    If you are unable to provide this information, I am forced to conclude that you are not legitimate, and will ask you to leave.
  18. When someone shows up claiming to be a publisher, and everyone else immediately becomes suspicious, and then the "publisher" gets really defensive about it, I think we know everything we need to know.
    Legendary Sidekick and kennyc like this.
  19. ASCAP.com

    for the third time.

    If you go to ASCAP.com
    and search ACE/Repertory of record for Lestat Publishing.
    There you will find it.

    ASCAP is the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers with 75% of all professionals in US. Im on Board of Members at ASCAP as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2012
  20. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    Why do you keep bringing up ASCAP? They are a performance arts publishing organization. Perhaps you have forgotten, but this is a writing community. Not lyrics: prose fiction. Any 'major publisher' would know that they are very different worlds and experience in one is most certainly not transferable to the other.

    Additionally, you are a 'major publisher' without so much as a website. Doubtful.

    To continue, you are a 'major publisher' who refuses to name even one actual publication. Highly irregular.

    To elaborate, ASCAP is a very easy association to join, requiring only a small fee and a single credit with extremely loose requirements. I could join it tomorrow if I so wished.

    And to conclude: Yes, your writing style sucks. Any 'major' publisher would have somebody at the helm (or at least in charge of PR) capable of presenting their company in a professional manner. You come across as a roughly high-school level trickster with poor grammar, spelling, and formatting.

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