Can You Make Money
With Your Book?

by Audrey Owen

If you are like most people who self publish, you will want to make money with your book.

When people talk to me about self publishing, they often tell me they expect to make more money by self publishing than they would by using a trade publisher. And some self publishers do make a great deal of money.

Whether you will make a bundle, break even, or lose your shirt depends on many factors. Here are some things for you to consider.

To Make Money With Your Book,
You Have To Know Your Costs

Most writers understand they will have production costs.
  • Paper
  • Artwork
  • Layout
  • Printing
  • Binding
Don't be vague about these. There is a huge range of services and prices vary significantly. Check all available to you.

How much time will you spend writing your book? Add that time into the cost. It may not come out of your pocket, but it comes out of your personal reserve. If you own your own business, writing time may be cutting into the time you would otherwise put into your business.

Few writers consider the price of editing when costing their books. Many don't realize that all trade books are edited, most several times. Writers who mistakenly believe that a spell and grammar checker can do as good a job as a skilled editor cut themselves short.

Many don't realize that they can get the input of an editor on a writing sample for a modest cost.

How will you distribute your book? How much will that distribution cost? Will you store and mail out the books yourself? Or will you use a distributor? Find out the cost of doing it yourself and using a distributor. When you consider the do-it-yourself route, remember to count your time as a cost item. If you weren't sending off books, you could be doing something else.

What is your marketing strategy? No matter how you produce your book, you are the best marketer. You can get advice from professionals. Get a written quote for their services. If you will make appearances, what will they cost you in time, travel, food, etc.?

Consider a Web site as part of your marketing plan.

What is the price retailers will charge you?

Most book stores work on the understanding that they can return any books they do not sell. What will you do about returns?

To Make Money With Your Book,
You Have To Set A Realistic Price

You want to make money from your book. If you add up all the costs, you will know what the book costs. That will figure into the retail price.

The price you set should be in line with similar books already in print. When you check the prices of other books, pay attention to the quality of the items listed above under production costs. If your book is priced either too high or too low, buyers will pass it by.

When Making Money From Your Book
Doesn't Matter

You could have motives other than wealth for creating your book.

If you have written your life story for the family, you may have no interest in earning something from your writing.

If you have written a book to support your business, the business the book brings you may be worth far more than any money you could make from selling the book.

In either case, good sense demands that you still figure out the costs. Knowing what to expect from the start will let you budget your money and your time.

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