Let me just be honest with you. This post is going to REALLY get into self-publishing your own book. Like really really. There are so many misconceptions about how difficult publishing is in general, let alone self-publishing.
But before we get started, let me just say that it irks me beyond almost anything else when I see online marketers, experts, and infopreneurs say they can teach you how to make $20K per month online in 3 months or less, or that they’ll tell you how to bring in $100K off of one course. Results will vary, skeazy marketers. P.S. Skeazy means you’re both sketchy and sleazy, bruh. It’s not a good look. Don’t promise people the same results you’ve achieved (or worse . . . only seen someone else achieve).
So, in this post I want to show you a bit of how I’ve set up publishing printed books for a full-time income, and how I honestly think that you, with a solid non-fiction book idea, can earn truly decent income from printed books in a relatively short time.
Why self-publish? Because it’s a legit business model. Let’s explore.
Traditional publishing looks super glamorous. Book tours. National TV appearances. Lovely and large royalty advances. A publisher going crazy over you and catering to your every whim. Nothing to do but turn in a manuscript and all the layout, design, promotion, and sales will be taken care of for you. Ballin’. Money rollin’ on in.
Reality? New authors get small advances, have to do a lot of their own promotion, and won’t likely get tours and crazy publicity opportunities set up for them. Also. The ballin’? Please let me break down advances, royalties, etc. for us.
The realness of profits in self-publishing vs. traditional.
As a new author, if you get a $5,000 royalty advance, you’re doing well. And that’s a beautiful thing, getting $5,000 dollars all at once for your hard work of writing a book. Yay. Money in the bank.
But. That $5,000 is a royalty advance. Meaning you won’t make another cent off of your book until you earn that $5,000 back in your royalties (which are a percentage of the book’s price or your publishing company’s profits).
Let’s take for example a soft cover book that sells for $20. If your publishing company gives you the standard 7.5% royalty (and let’s say they give it to you off of the list price of your book, which some company’s will only give you 7.5% of their profits off of each individual book), then you make approximately $1.50 per book. Though this royalty percentage is somewhat common knowledge in traditional publishing, you can check out this post by one of my favorite bloggers (former literary agent and current author, Nathan Bransford) for this statistic as well as a few other interesting tidbits.
You’ll have to sell 3,333 copies of your book to pay your publishing company back your advance.
This means you’ll never see another dollar of profit (after your original advance) until your book has sold over 3,000 copies.
So, selling 3,333 copies of your book, earns you $5,000 in the traditional publishing model.
Do you know how much you would have made on those same 3,333 copies of your book through the self-publishing model I teach in Zero to Self-Published Book (the class formerly known as Book Ninja)? Assuming you charged the same $20 per copy and had ~170 pages in your book?
Because you’ll be making over $9 with each sale.
So, selling 3,000 copies can either get you $5,000 or $30,000–which is enough for me to live off for a year.
That’s why I present self-publishing as a business model. If you want the fame and reach that traditional publishing can possibly get you, that’s completely understandable. But this post is for those of you who want to use self-published printed books (pBooks instead of eBooks) as a business model and way for you to make part or all of your living.