Eating, Writing, and Happy. Warning: this is a commercial. joannlordahl.com
This Blog is about money. Specifically money paid to an author as a result of the sales of their books.
Since best-selling author’s make a lot of money, this is not about them. But concerns those of us who would 1) like to be best-selling authors and 2) consider themselves on a road to solvency and would like all the help they can get. (Authors write from different motivations; I’ll share some of mine later.)
For now, many people think a book sale is a book sale is a book sale. And that therefore all book sales are equal; the author is guaranteed a certain amount of money for their efforts in writing their book. For authors who don’t get advances (most) this is writing time and effort without pay. Writing a book takes me a year; some, like Princess Ruth require four years of working without any income for my work.
Now (me) the author has a completed manuscript. If they have an agent, the agent sells it for them—taking a small commission and making the best deal they can with a publisher including an advance. (The author must pay off this advance before earning any royalties.)
If the author doesn’t have an agent (I don’t now, despite sporadic but intense efforts to find one) the author a) sends emails and query letters to every pertinent publisher they can find asking to have their manuscript read, and then, hopefully, accepted for publication. Or b) finding this process too time consuming and futile, the author decides on “print-on-demand” or other forms of “self-publishing.”
In the past self-publishing was frequently viewed as vanity publishing; the author pays a lot of money to get a book in print which nobody buys. Print-on-demand, a new choice for authors to get their books before the public contains blessings and warnings. Some companies work for the author; many work for themselves and let the author beware.
So, back to how a self-publishing author (like me) gets paid (royalties), or for selling previous books of theirs published with mainstream publishers.
First: Amazon & Kindle have hoops to jump through but will publish your books online for free. As will Create Space. Let me be concrete: I choose Create Space for “print-on-demand’ because of their excellent work and they also put Princess Ruth up on their web site: createspace.com and they paid me over nine dollars for every Princess Ruth bought through them. Amazon.com paid close to six dollars and the ebook on Kindle pays considerably less. The really good thing is these three amounts, including Create Space, are collected by Amazon and each month they go directly into a designated bank account. The rather nasty happening for me as an author is that rogue companies on the Internet are offering free downloads of some of my books. For which, of course, I earn nothing but must take consolation that my writing reaches a larger public.
A second way to sell Princess Ruth is my direct peddling. On the small lovely island of Kaua’i I enjoyed the personal contact of taking Princess Ruth to Kaua’i Museum, the Garden Shop at National Tropical Botanical Garden, Aloha-in-Paradise, Small Town Coffee and Talk Story in Hanapepe which was the major book store on the island and where I did frequent Friday night book signings. I add my cost and a percentage of profit and “sell” Princess Ruth to the outlet for my book, which they then resell. Also I assure the outlet that I will buy back the unsold books. Fortunately for me, sales continued to increase and the question of buy back never arose. I did, and do, craft fairs, book signings, and give talks whenever possible in addition to I used to appear fairly consistently at Talk Story on Friday nights.
Thirdly, I also made a personal commitment to sell Princess Ruth directly person to person for $15.00. And I’ve given away tons of Princess Ruth books—to friends, to people who helped with information, editing, and people who keep my spirits up. I also give copies to people who’ll write reviews joannlordahl.com, and to those who help in the various ways in which a writer requires support.
So far, how an author gets paid is royalties, direct peddling to the public and to friends. A fourth way the author could earn money for writing and publishing their book is why I’m writing this long Blog. I’ve a great plan that, so far, I’ve not been able to make work—that is to bring people to my Web Site joannlordahl.com and have them buy my books directly from me. Cheaper for the buyers and more income for me. If only this lovely plan would work!
I used to say about my writing that all told I’ve probably earned in my writing career—over 20 published books on my web site—about a nickel an hour! A couple of my books have sold over 5,000 each and a romance sold over 100,000—not to be sneezed at.
I hold onto my two goals for writing and my motivation: goals: learn to write and secondly, make money, that is, a living at this career. My motivation: write true books, tested on myself, that will be useful and/or entertain people while I learn and educate myself.
HOW CAN YOU HELP ME: (I am assuming of course that you want to!)
1) Word of Mouth is the best sales tool there is: spread the word if you really like a book. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, whatever.
2) Buy from my web site. Currently: joannlordahl.com (books and eBooks for sale and some books are eBooks only). If you purchase eBooks from this web site, currently, except for a small commission to PayPal, all revenue comes to the author (me). In theory this arrangement is fabulous for the author. In practice not so hot because sales from my web sites are very few and quite for in between. I will be placing some effort into finding why this is so and attempting to increase sales. If you have suggestions I’d love to hear them.
3) Take advantage of my BUY 5, Get One Free and gift your friends and relatives!