Make Money Self-Publishing

You can make more money self-publishing than you can through traditional mainstream publishing. This is because you keep a much higher percentage of profits self-publishing, compared to royalties you earn from a traditional publisher.

Generally speaking, you keep anywhere from 70 percent to 95 percent of profits self-publishing, in contrast to about 5 percent to 10 percent with traditional royalties. Now, you see how you can make money self-publishing.

Self-Publishing Costs

Preparing your book for publication will require an investment on your part. You also are likely to incur costs for marketing and distribution.

Self-publishing costs include the following:

  • editing
  • printing
  • distributing your book

Traditional Publishing Profits

At a traditional publisher, the publishing company pays for all of the costs of producing your book. It will generally give you, the author, a flat-fee advance on royalties — based on a percentage of sales.

However, once the book is published, your book must recover that advance through sales before you receive any royalties. For example, let’s say you receive a $5,000 advance, and your contract offers you a 10 percent royalty. If your book retails for $10, your royalty payment is $1 per book ($10/book x 10 percent).

Any additional royalty kicks in only after the advance has been paid off. So the publishing company will need to sell 5,000 copies ($1 royalty per book x 5,000 books = $5,000 advance), before it starts sending you royalty checks. After 5,000 books are sold, you have made $5,000 profit.

Self-Publishing Profits

With self-publishing, however, you pay your own publishing fees upfront and then keep all money generated from sales of your book. For example, self-publishing your book might cost an average of $15,000 for 5,000 copies, or $3 per book. If you sell those 5,000 copies at $10 each, you earn $7 for each book. As you can see, $7 per book self-publishing is a lot more than $1 per book with traditional publishers.

If you sell all 5,000 copies, that’s $50,000 gross — or a $35,000 profit. Again, that’s a lot more than the $5,000 advance you received from a traditional publisher for the same number of books.

Selling Your Book

Self-publishing costs are relatively low, so you can make money self-publishing. But keep in mind that in order to make those returns, you must sell the book.

If you are a speaker, performer or entrepreneur with a large following, you probably have a built-in audience for your book. You can also market via your website, at your events and through media appearances.

But if you don’t have those opportunities, you will need to find ways to reach audiences. You can do that through a website, building a database or using social media to attract a following.

Other Self-Publishing Options

You might also want to consider other versions of self-publishing, such as e-books or print-on-demand. Even if you choose one of these versions, you can always print the book later if sales increase. 

Related Resources

Read more about Self-Publishing Companies

Read more about The Cost of Hiring a Ghostwriter

Read more about The Book Writing Process

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