My Self-Publishing Journey – Lesson #4: You’re Not Going To Make Any Money

Welcome to post four of my five-post series! Last week I talked about the third thing I learned on my journey to publishing my novel – research, research, research. You can read the previous posts in the series here.

Self-publishing has pros and cons like anything. Self-publishing costs, however, can add up.

Pros = you get 100% complete creative control, and you probably stand to make more from each sale than you would with a press – after all, no-one else is taking a cut of your direct sales!

Cons = you have to do everything yourself, and that includes an awful lot of homework, too. You also have to outsource, if you want your book to stand out and have a chance of doing well.

Worldwide Best Seller Dreams

I know the writer’s dream is to become a best-seller and earn millions. It’s a pipe dream.

Still more of us dream of simply writing books full-time, paying the mortgage through royalties, maybe even getting picked up by one of the big five publishers.

The truth is less rosy. It’s pretty unlikely to happen. That’s not to say you can’t be successful (you ABSOLUTELY can!), and everyone has a different measure of what success is.

For me, I wanted to break even.

A breakdown of my self-publishing costs so far:

£300    Cover Design
£150    10 x ISBNs
£550    Printing
£80      Domain purchase and website hosting
£470    Concept Artwork

£1550 Running Total

That’s not even looking at the Facebook and Twitter Ad campaigns I’ve run, and will run in the future.

Self-Publishing Is NOT Cheap

It can be, certainly. You don’t need to spend a penny if you stick with an eBook (so waive the ISBN and print costs), design the cover yourself, don’t have a website, don’t have any other extras, and don’t put any money at all into marketing.

I could also have saved money if I used a POD service like CreateSpace or Ingram Spark. I was lucky enough to have free editing, so you can easily add another several hundred pounds to that.

This is not to mention doing ALL of the work yourself. From ISBNs to formatting (an additional cost, if you outsource it), all the research, all the social posts and content, all the promoting… the list is endless.

You’re Investing In Yourself

But I wanted to give it a good go. I wanted someone to pick up my book and not be able to tell whether it was self-published or traditionally published. I just wanted people to enjoy a good book.

So self-publishing costs were just something I had to accept.

With Amazon’s 70% royalty payments on eBooks, I earn a little over £2 per eBook sold. If people purchase a paperback through my website and PayPal me directly, I earn about £3.50 per book sold.

(Of course that’s not the end of the story – I have to pay tax on all profits.) So I earn a very, very pitiful amount and all of a sudden my goal of breaking even seems a tiny speck in the distance.

Of course with subsequent books, I won’t need to buy ISBNs again, I probably won’t need any concept artwork, I might get a discount on my next cover design, domain purchase and website hosting costs are covered… so that will help.

But printing another run of 150 copies? That £500+ is a sizeable chunk that I may not be able to / wish to pay. So POD for books two onwards is something to research (see previous lessons learned!), and Ingram Spark seems to be the best platforms for UK authors.

At the end of the day, I’m investing in myself as a professional writer. You can’t really put a price on that, can you?

Lesson: How serious are you? How much are you willing to invest in time and money?

Read the other lessons here: onetwo, threefive.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this blog post (and are enjoying the series)! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to get in touch below, or through Garage Fiction’s social media. You can also email me direct! lauren@llmcneil.com.

P. P. S. If you’re interested in grabbing yourself a copy of my novel (adventure fantasy!) then you’re in luck!

You can buy Moroda in paperback directly through my website.

You can buy Moroda as an eBook through Amazon.

Read the book? Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

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