Most people don’t realize that book authors who are traditionally published only make a tiny amount of money off each book sold. For example, my average “take home” from a book sale through traditional means is less than 50 cents per book sold (and about 50% of that is held out from my royalty payments as “Reserves against returns”). The majority of money from each book goes to the publisher, the bookseller, and any others in the manufacturing and supply chain.
That’s part of the reason why I’ve decided to venture into publishing my own books for a while. As a displaced homemaker (and now full-time Graduate student), I found I needed to try to increase the amount of return I received from book writing. To give you an idea of how much I make from royalties on my traditionally published books, my most recent royalty check (which covered six months of sales) was less than $300 (or $50 per month). And believe it or not, that included several book titles, not just one.
It’s true that there’s less prestige in a “self” published book than a traditionally published one, but I’ve come to understand why authors sometimes choose the self-publishing route, even authors who have traditional publishing connections like I do.
One of my traditional publishers told me they’ll gladly publish anything I write — which is awesome — but it’s a lot of work to write books and then only receive $300 every six months. Consequently, I opted out of having my latest book, A Twaddle-Free Education, go through the traditional publishing avenue sort of as an experiment. I won’t have the backing of a big PR department so I suspect my sales will be a lot less, but I’ll receive a bit more than 50 cents per book sold.
My main purpose in writing and publishing books is still what it’s always been — to get helpful information into the hands of people who can use it. One of my goals for Simple Pleasures Press is to keep the prices as low as possible. For example, similar paperback non-fiction books are selling for about $14 to $17, but so far I’ve been able to keep mine around $10 (and usually less). The most expensive book we offer right now is only $11.99, and all Kindle versions are just 99 cents (or if someone buys the paperback version from Amazon, they can get a Kindle copy of the title for free!).
Honestly, I’m not sure why I felt the desire to share this today. I guess I was growing a little weary of people assuming I was rolling in $$$ and then wondering why I was having difficulty making ends meet after I became a displaced homemaker and single mother of three after my husband’s health-related difficulties which threw our lives upside down 10+ years ago.
So — after all that full-disclosure business about what I’m up to these days — if you’re curious, here’s a link to the About Page of this new little (very little!) publishing venture, Simple Pleasures Press. 🙂
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