When most people hear that I’m an author, they immediately want to know who I’m published with and how much money I get paid. This does not offend me like it would most people. Somehow, being an author doesn’t count as a regular career where one wouldn’t dare ask what you made within seconds of meeting you. If you’re reading this and you are not an author, how many times has someone, upon meeting you and learning you’re a bank teller, say oh, what’s your salary?
Probably almost never.
I have always been the odd woman out. I will ask anything—my mama taught me if you want to know anything, you have to ask. I have boundaries, I’m not the guy above. But I definitely don’t mind the questions being thrown at me. I’ll tell you anything if you want to know, just ask.
So far, in my writing career, I’ve been very transparent with people about how things go. Why it’s difficult, how I’m constantly learning new things, how I do everything on my own that I am able—I have no graphic design skills, so I do not even attempt to make my own covers or book teasers. But I do my own formatting, social media management—I’ve had recent help with that—I book all of my own book tours, send out my newsletter, check my own data and insights. Book ads. I even manage my own website—I know more about plugins than I ever thought I would. Hell, in 2015 I didn’t even know what a plugin was!
Being a self-published author is not the best career out there that I could have chosen—hey, it chose me! —it’s a lot of work. Unless you get lucky, being it doesn’t happen overnight. The first two years of my writing career, I was lucky to sell one book a week. I was thrilled beyond words if I sold three books in one day. Sad, sad weeks would go by where I wouldn’t sell a single book. It made me sick. I was sure this was a futile attempt to become a real author.
I hated it. I hated that no matter what I seemed to do, I had to spend more money promoting the books than I ever saw a return on. Sometimes, this is still the case.
Sad, but true.
I’ve been writing for 5 years and I have not made a profit on my books yet. It’s tough. Thankfully, I’m in a financially solid position to keep testing new ideas, keep writing new books, without having to go and find “a real job.”
The one thing that the majority of people do not understand is that we as writers, do not get all the money from the books we sell. It’s called a royalty. I make so much per book I sell, and this depends on the price of the book. All platforms differ in what they give the author percentage-wise for a $0.99 book, but it’s generally between $0.35-$0.45 cents per $0.99 book.
If I price my book above the $2.99 threshold, I earn 70% royalty per book. A book that costs you the reader, $3.99, pays me $2.79.
Self-publishing is a hard job and even harder if you are new. Since the last quarter of 2018, I’ve been lucky enough to sell books every single day. Maybe there have been ten days between then and now where I haven’t sold any in one day.
I have no magic potion for this. What I think it is are numerous factors. I have a backlist now. That means I have more than one or two or even three books for sale. If someone buys my new release and enjoys it, they will want to read the other books I’ve written.
I believe that my writing ability has grown tremendously since I wrote my first book. So tremendously that I’ve taken down the first two books I’ve published because those books do not reflect my writing style anymore. Hell, I didn’t have a writing style after two books! Those books don’t reflect what I know now. Because they are part of a series, I have kept the box set listed, but that is the only way you can get the first two books. It was a business decision that I had to make and I’m happy I did it.
But you know what? Despite the financial losses, I am so grateful that I get to do this. I have stories in me that need to get out. A passion that drives me to satisfy readers quest to be fulfilled when reading romance. I am a crazy, day-dreaming romantic woman that believes in fate, soulmates, love and happy-endings. How could I not write? I have the best of both worlds—I can write when I want and where I want, whenever I want. I am in control. I am a female entrepreneur. One day, I’m going to have a whole lot of wins to balance out the losses. I am truly, writing like a boss!