Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's do the numbers! (3rd edition)

Let's do the numbers... Again

The Numbers! I know, so many writers are freaked out and never talk about this stuff and each year I let it all out for you to see. Why? So you the writer, who wants to make a living can really see what you can do, make plans and write to the income you want, not cross your fingers and hope you hit it big.

Many of you know about my "Amway" speech, it goes something like this: Find your averages. That is what do you make per title per month. Notice that I didn't say per unit? That is because in the land of eBooks it is about your per month income NOT your per book or unit income. This is where a lot of authors get mixed up.

If you make 1K per title per month you have to write how many books to make the money you want? It is simple math and I HATE math, but this I can do. So, even if your averages are low you can still make a living, it just means you have to write more books. Now, don't you feel better knowing what you have to do? Do you feel more in control? Good, that is the point.

Now that I told you all that lets go over the last year, see what this may look like.

My average per book per month is around 4.1k. This means that on 5 books I will make 50K per year per book. These averages are good, not the best I've seen but not the worst. This means in the book world I would be a mid-lister, and most mid-listers don't make a lot of money based on 12-15% royalties. But me? I can make a good living selling what in the traditional publishing world would only grant me a 4K per year check.

Now, in case you are just as bad at math as I am, here is the end of the year total. 250K off 5 titles. Not bad for a home-schooled punk huh...

Now, what if I want to make more, build and grow this thing. What happens if I have 10 titles at the end of the year? That means I make 500K per year. Now lets keep going, 20 titles, will put me at one million a year based on these averages. But I don't count for the rollover that will happen by having that many titles out. I should hit a million a year with 12-15 titles as the chance for one hitting big goes up and the fallout from that gives me a boost.

So you see, anyone can make money as an author. The key is to get away from the big publishing model, and reach out on every platform you can. audio, E, print, bulk sales, book clubs etc... if you think publishing is just having a print and eBook you are missing out on a lot of money.

This is like Amway, the more books you write, the more you make and with eBooks it can keep going, nothing gets old, update your titles every three years and you have a new book to sell to new readers!

Any questions?

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say "anyone" can make money as an author. It's fabulous that YOU have, but let's face it: not all writers are created equal. Not all write WELL, and not all are as prolific as you are. Heck, it's taken me forever to just get ONE book ready to put out there.

    But I say, good for you!!!

    1. Well, you can if you want too, there are some good ways to up productivity and create a business plan. But it does take some "Sit your butt in a chair" time. =)

  2. What exactly do you mean by "update your titles"?

  3. When you say to update titles every three years, does that mean re-releasing with new covers?

    1. New covers, update things like pay phones and things in the story that may be outdated as things change. It all depends on the story.

  4. Thanks Aaron,

    Your blog is always uplifting for me, especially during times when all I hear is doom and gloom. I think when success doesn't come quickly enough for some, they're ready to stick a fork into self-publishing and anxious to pick up followers. Not me.

    I've been seriously working on my craft since the early 90's, when e-zines were all the rage and you spent a lot of money on postage sending queries to New York. At times it ground me down and made me wonder if I should quit. But I couldn't stop writing. It just wasn't going to happen.

    And now the world has changed. In the last couple years I have dared to dream again of becoming a writer full-time. I'm getting e-mails from readers and I'm meeting other writers from around the globe. And although I was recently notified that I'm going to be laid off from my corporate job of 15 years, I know I'm going to survive. I know I'll get another job to pay the bills, and I know I'll keep writing until I reach my dream.

    Dennis Yates

    1. Good for you Dennis, I like your fighting style. Keep at it.

  5. Aaron, I am so excited to meet you and learn your model. Your success is truly admirable! See you at the Author's Summit in Utah!!!