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(The New York Observer)   Most people make less than $500/year if they self-publish on Amazon. Which makes sense when you realize they name their murder mysteries titles like "The Celibate Mouse"   (observer.com) divider line 91
    More: Obvious, Amazon, Your Life, A. D. L, Centrifugal Force, David Eckstein, artificial gravity, Your Money, digital library  
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1834 clicks; posted to Geek » on 28 May 2012 at 3:56 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-28 04:06:15 PM
 
2012-05-28 04:08:01 PM
In other news, most garage bands don't manage to sell platinum records and most backyard football players don't land big, fat NFL contracts.
 
2012-05-28 04:09:06 PM
That's because it's populated by people, a half dozen or so whom I know personally, who have decided they'll just write crappy vampire stories for a living instead of actually having to work.
 
2012-05-28 04:09:52 PM
as soon as it was open to anyone with Word and an internet connection I knew this would happen.

Fan fiction, crap "get rich quick" and "self help" books, and so much other junk is just flooding the self-published market.

it now takes one person doing the work of two teams to get their mediocre works recognized and to make money, let alone just to get someone to buy it.

/also, anyone who prices their "good" book at 99¢ deserves to not make any money. pricing is all about perception; price it at $7.99 and more people will buy it because in their mind it is actually worth something
 
2012-05-28 04:11:34 PM

spidermann: as soon as it was open to anyone with Word and an internet connection I knew this would happen.

Fan fiction, crap "get rich quick" and "self help" books, and so much other junk is just flooding the self-published market.

it now takes one person doing the work of two teams to get their mediocre works recognized and to make money, let alone just to get someone to buy it.

/also, anyone who prices their "good" book at 99¢ deserves to not make any money. pricing is all about perception; price it at $7.99 and more people will buy it because in their mind it is actually worth something


This is why I harp at my boss to stop doing stuff for free hoping to make further business.
 
2012-05-28 04:13:06 PM
"Loving Yourself Thin" by Patricia Becall

I'm sorry, but if this was possible there would be a lot fewer fat teenagers.
 
2012-05-28 04:13:38 PM
I'm pretty sure you can opt out of the lending system. I actually have an idea for a short ebook I might put out there and I will never let it go naked into the system.

But I wouldn't put it out there without a marketing campaign to make it work. It will be a $7.99 item because the psychologists have taught us that price denotes worth. It will be findable on all platforms for the same price. It will have a SEO website and a modest adwords campaign.

If I put a few hundred dollars into marketing and I don't get more than that in returns I can cut losses and just let royalties trickle in over the years. But I wont be a part of the pollution of duplicated books that makes the 90% of the market the author bemoans.
 
2012-05-28 04:14:07 PM
The fact that a good portion of Amazon self-published material is batshiat crazy schizotypal ranting may also be a contributing factor.
 
2012-05-28 04:15:04 PM
Ghost In A Jar: The E-Bay Phenomenon was an amazing read.
 
2012-05-28 04:16:09 PM

MadSkillz: This is why I harp at my boss to stop doing stuff for free hoping to make further business.


depending upon the industry, there are times to do a "freebie" to get further business. I've done them when consulting and they have led to some really nice contracts with great monetary reward. But they need to be the exception, not the rule.


And when I self-publish my two mediocre novels and my slightly-above-mediocre non-fiction piece, I will price them appropriately and they will be nowhere near 99¢. They're worth more than that but also not $20 either. I know the value of my works and the price perception game.
 
2012-05-28 04:22:07 PM

spidermann: MadSkillz: This is why I harp at my boss to stop doing stuff for free hoping to make further business.

depending upon the industry, there are times to do a "freebie" to get further business. I've done them when consulting and they have led to some really nice contracts with great monetary reward. But they need to be the exception, not the rule.


And when I self-publish my two mediocre novels and my slightly-above-mediocre non-fiction piece, I will price them appropriately and they will be nowhere near 99¢. They're worth more than that but also not $20 either. I know the value of my works and the price perception game.


It's a nice notion, but from experience I can tell you that if you don't have a publicist and advertising budget, nobody will touch your ebooks if they're over $4 and they won't touch your paperbacks if they're over $8. People rarely take chances on new writers whose name they haven't seen on TV, a billboard, a list or somewhere else.

And the headline is about right. I'm not rolling in dough. I have a day job.
 
2012-05-28 04:22:42 PM
My X-Men erotic fanfic is weeks away from taking off, just wait and see.
 
2012-05-28 04:24:47 PM
I've been self-publishing for about three months now, and I'm already on track to make above that. As a first time unknown, it's a lot hard for me to get traction, so a lot of what I'm doing is as a loss leader to increase my sales. I've written two science fiction novels (as well as a few short stories) that appeal to a specific demographic, so that's why I'm doing better than the average person so far. A lot of self-publishing depends on what you do with your stuff, and with a bit of luck, you can make a living at it. There are plenty of authors who are doing just that today.

However, I will say that as a side business, I've started helping formatting novels for people who are self-publishing and the vast majority of the things I've formatted are poorly written, badly edited instruction novels which make up the vast majority of the sample size in this study. That's why the study says most people aren't making any money off of their self-published novels. They aren't putting any real work into them.

It's true that there's a much higher signal-to-noise ratio when it comes to self-published stuff, but the quality of those novels that are succeeding as self-published works are much better (in my opinion) than most stuff that's come out of the big six over the last few years. It just takes work, dedication and a few decently edited novels to build an audience and fan base that you can make money off of.
 
2012-05-28 04:27:56 PM

ZeroCorpse: spidermann: MadSkillz: This is why I harp at my boss to stop doing stuff for free hoping to make further business.

depending upon the industry, there are times to do a "freebie" to get further business. I've done them when consulting and they have led to some really nice contracts with great monetary reward. But they need to be the exception, not the rule.


And when I self-publish my two mediocre novels and my slightly-above-mediocre non-fiction piece, I will price them appropriately and they will be nowhere near 99¢. They're worth more than that but also not $20 either. I know the value of my works and the price perception game.

It's a nice notion, but from experience I can tell you that if you don't have a publicist and advertising budget, nobody will touch your ebooks if they're over $4 and they won't touch your paperbacks if they're over $8. People rarely take chances on new writers whose name they haven't seen on TV, a billboard, a list or somewhere else.

And the headline is about right. I'm not rolling in dough. I have a day job.


I have enough of an audience on my own to at least make my investment back with a little extra, and that's all I care about. As much as money does play into it, I'm more interested in just getting them out there and having accomplished it. Yeah, it seems a bit "art for art's sake" argument, but I really don't care about the money itself. If I end up getting pocket change/can pay some debts/buy a trinket then I'll be happy, but I don't expect it. :)

Trust me; I have no delusions of fame, money and whores. But I do know what my audience is willing to pay because I've asked and they've told. (and they've read enough excerpts to know what they're getting into)
 
2012-05-28 04:28:22 PM
farm9.staticflickr.com

Something Amazon does to it's Marketplace dealers that pisses me off. STOP TELLING PEOPLE TO LOWER THEIR PRICES. Your system isn't smart enough to notice trolls who HAVE NO INVENTORY BUT PRICE THINGS AT A PENNY.

I don't compete with the farking cheapest item. I compete by having the best value.
 
2012-05-28 04:28:57 PM
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/undead-situation-eloise-j-knapp/110018 4299

Self Published, Ebook version is .99 cents.
Book way really enjoyable, Think Dexter + early to mid zombie outbreak.
at .99 cents I bought 5 copies for friends with E-Readers.
 
2012-05-28 04:29:29 PM
you guys are talking about furry porn in space aren't you???
 
2012-05-28 04:35:05 PM
The article misses a couple of points:

1) Although the majority of self-published authors don't make much on Amazon, those authors wouldn't be making anything without Amazon. I make about $100 a month, and while it's not a fortune, it's considerably more than zero dollars a month.

2) Contrary to what the article says, authors do make money from those who borrow through Amazon Prime. Amazon allocates a portion of the Amazon Prime fees to the authors. It's less than I make for a sale, but it's still income.

3) And now for some shamelss self-promotion.

"When Jack Wilson came to Hollywood, he didn't plan on farking beautiful, large-breasted women for a living. It just happened."

Link
 
2012-05-28 04:37:58 PM

TheNewJesus: you guys are talking about furry porn in space aren't you???


You mean this book?
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13515236-wesley-crusher

Wesley Crusher: Teenage fark Machine.
Wesley Crusher and Meow Solo go on a sexy and violent adventure through space!

Im not even kidding.
 
2012-05-28 04:39:41 PM
If you've written something that is good enough to be accepted by a publisher, but self-publish it, you'll probably do quite well.
Most of the self-published ebooks I've read were fairly dire, and it was obvious they were self-published because no publishing house would take them.

As someone who is currently working on her first novel, I'm watching the ebook scene with great interest.
 
2012-05-28 04:46:02 PM
What happens if I'm doing it to be rich.

What happens if I'm doing it just because...and to share.

Sometimes the idea itself, is the point.

Did Issac Newton do it, to become famous?
Nah, there was a point...and he wanted to share it.
Others made it famous for him...and he enjoyed the other stuff afterwards.

Will much be crap? Definitely, but sooner or later, something won't be crap.

So, it shouldn't be...write or not to write,
but to enjoy your stuff and hopefully someone else will too.
 
2012-05-28 04:47:39 PM
You mean the author of "Werewolf Gangbang 2" isn't making a killing?
 
2012-05-28 04:50:04 PM

SavageWombat: You mean the author of "Werewolf Gangbang 2" isn't making a killing?


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13480501-teenage-werewolf-gangbang

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641372-caught-in-a-werewolf-gang b ang
 
2012-05-28 04:58:07 PM

SavageWombat: You mean the author of "Werewolf Gangbang 2" isn't making a killing?

 
2012-05-28 04:59:07 PM

Mawson of the Antarctic: SavageWombat: You mean the author of "Werewolf Gangbang 2" isn't making a killing?


imhereforthewerewolfgangbang.jpg

/ftfm
 
2012-05-28 05:10:32 PM
I put a novel on Amazon back in September and have made about that much so far. I have a couple more books coming out later this year, and at some point I'll get around to doing some marketing, so I expect next year will be better.

One book isn't going to pay rent, but it does cover phone and internet bills. And then as things start scaling, who knows. Better that than waiting 3+ months to get rejected by agents in hopes of maybe possibly landing a 5k advance, paid out in 3 instalments 18 months apart.

/no vampires in any of my books
 
2012-05-28 05:16:47 PM

Jubeebee: /no vampires in any of my books


I made the same pledge for one of my fiction pieces. made it into a selling point, actually. :)

nice to see other people are as sick of the vampire crap as I am. :)
 
2012-05-28 05:16:58 PM
I have a friend who has built up to about $1500 a month doing exactly this. It's still growing for him, and the growth has been steady. He plans to have a livable income on it soon.
 
2012-05-28 05:33:04 PM
this one; Link was recommended to me because the author was local. it actually turned out to be a pretty good, light, sci-fi read, especially for 2 bucks.

bonus points because, no vampires
 
2012-05-28 05:34:57 PM
Where do we get a collection of PocketNinja stories?
 
2012-05-28 05:36:34 PM

Fast Moon: That's because it's populated by people, a half dozen or so whom I know personally, who have decided they'll just write crappy vampire stories for a living instead of actually having to work.


I read about a girl last year who was making $60K+ doing just that. She was churning out several "books" a month,
 
2012-05-28 05:49:30 PM

rogue49: Did Issac Newton do it, to become famous?
Nah, there was a point...and he wanted to share it.


You can't really think it those terms in the 17th century, and no, he absolutely did not want to share it. Mostly, he was mean spirited, self absorbed, and jealous.
 
2012-05-28 06:11:44 PM
Before Amazon you might have made $500 self-publishing, but all of that money went back to Kinko's.

Anyway, guess this means it's time to finish up my founding fathers slashfic and get it up on Amazon. (Franklin is a bear and Jefferson is a twink, obviously.)
 
2012-05-28 06:15:52 PM
While I'd like to make more with the stuff I publish on Amazon, what I do make is money I didn't have, and constructing a story is kind of fun.

Writing the story, on the other hand, sometimes feels like punishment, so I don't do it often.
 
2012-05-28 06:35:43 PM

ZeroCorpse: spidermann: MadSkillz: This is why I harp at my boss to stop doing stuff for free hoping to make further business.

depending upon the industry, there are times to do a "freebie" to get further business. I've done them when consulting and they have led to some really nice contracts with great monetary reward. But they need to be the exception, not the rule.


And when I self-publish my two mediocre novels and my slightly-above-mediocre non-fiction piece, I will price them appropriately and they will be nowhere near 99¢. They're worth more than that but also not $20 either. I know the value of my works and the price perception game.

It's a nice notion, but from experience I can tell you that if you don't have a publicist and advertising budget, nobody will touch your ebooks if they're over $4 and they won't touch your paperbacks if they're over $8. People rarely take chances on new writers whose name they haven't seen on TV, a billboard, a list or somewhere else.

And the headline is about right. I'm not rolling in dough. I have a day job.


Well, clearly I'm the atypical reader. Because I'll stop at the book store, and browse till I find something that doesn't look so bad it's humiliating to admit reading it, and take it home.

Half price books, paperbacks under 5$.

Unless you were meaning digital only. And I don't do that. The digital stream's not worth the same price as a paperback, I don't care what you say.
 
2012-05-28 06:39:21 PM
I was recently published through an ebook publisher, so I don't get to see all back end dealings with Amazon(I don't even know what my sales are). I do watch the sales rank like a hawk though. It's really more of an addiction at this point. My book is priced at $4.99, which I think is fair, though it did jump tremendously on a free weekend a few weeks ago.

To anyone thinking of writing something, just go for it. My book probably took me three years to get together working on it bit by bit, and it's not ranked where I would like it to be on Amazon, but it's still one of my most satisfying accomplishments.

Anyhow, anyone who's into darker fiction might want to check it out.
 
2012-05-28 06:41:35 PM

wildcardjack: [farm9.staticflickr.com image 500x94]

Something Amazon does to it's Marketplace dealers that pisses me off. STOP TELLING PEOPLE TO LOWER THEIR PRICES. Your system isn't smart enough to notice trolls who HAVE NO INVENTORY BUT PRICE THINGS AT A PENNY.

I don't compete with the farking cheapest item. I compete by having the best value.


Maybe you should tell them what you think of that new feature, instead of us?
 
2012-05-28 06:52:20 PM
When you compare it to the "old" publishing industry, there are some other advantages.

If you got your book published in the "old" industry, and the editor and publisher weren't enthusiastic about the book, you'd have a few thousand copies printed - and then nothing else. If you were unhappy, you'd be stuck for a few years due to one form of contract silliness or another. Even if the book was moderately successful, you'd only make a moderate amount of money, then nothing. No reprints, zilch.

On the other hand, you might come out with a decent ebook, not sell too many at first because it wasn't "trendy" enough, or because you didn't market it - then two years later some nice influential reviewer could catch on, and suddenly fifty thousand people could grab a copy in a week. Even at (for example) $5 a pop, you're still making HUGE money (you get a massively higher percentage per copy - 75% or so of the selling price, according to which option you choose).

You also get worldwide exposure - if you want to sell your book in the European market, it's a hideous pain in the printed world. For Amazon, it's "pick a price and check a box on the form."

If you can sell 10,000 copies at $4 each, you're probably going to make at least $30,000... at little to no risk to you.

Even better, there's not going to be any such thing as "remaindered" or "out of print" ebooks. You don't have to worry about your brilliant first novel being thrown in the trash by the crate because it didn't catch on right away. It'll be available for the rest of your life. For better or for worse...

/working on my first ebook
//marketing, marketing, marketing
 
2012-05-28 06:54:00 PM

ihatethemall: I was recently published through an ebook publisher, so I don't get to see all back end dealings with Amazon(I don't even know what my sales are). I do watch the sales rank like a hawk though. It's really more of an addiction at this point. My book is priced at $4.99, which I think is fair, though it did jump tremendously on a free weekend a few weeks ago.

To anyone thinking of writing something, just go for it. My book probably took me three years to get together working on it bit by bit, and it's not ranked where I would like it to be on Amazon, but it's still one of my most satisfying accomplishments.

Anyhow, anyone who's into darker fiction might want to check it out.


No offense but I'm not paying $4.99 for 142 pages with one five star review. The only review. I read a lot of self-published authors, mainly sci-fi/fantasy and I avoid short books even for 99 cents. At 142 pages its a short story not a book. Sorry, not trying to piss you off though likely did.
 
2012-05-28 07:00:17 PM

SharkTrager: Fast Moon: That's because it's populated by people, a half dozen or so whom I know personally, who have decided they'll just write crappy vampire stories for a living instead of actually having to work.

I read about a girl last year who was making $60K+ doing just that. She was churning out several "books" a month,


Are you talking about Amanda Hocking?
 
2012-05-28 07:12:04 PM
So they're making as much money as successful poets get from a book of poetry, or the average Canadian literary fiction writer makes in a year (taxable as capital gains, by the way at about 30% or so)?

But they are not able to quit their day job, like three VERY successful poets and five Canadian literary figures whose names I don't recall (except for Michel Trembley and Margaret Atwood--I think the other three might be dead).

To quote that sly old fox, Hilaire Belloc, as he said of the little girl who didn't read signs and thus was tossed into a prickly hedge by a bull:

She remained confirmed in her instinctive guess
That literature breeds distress.


Advice to writers: Don't quit your day job. The rewards of literature are largely spiritual unless you own the printing press, the publisher, and the writers. In which case, you are probably Amazon.
 
2012-05-28 07:15:15 PM

Intoxoman: ihatethemall: I was recently published through an ebook publisher, so I don't get to see all back end dealings with Amazon(I don't even know what my sales are). I do watch the sales rank like a hawk though. It's really more of an addiction at this point. My book is priced at $4.99, which I think is fair, though it did jump tremendously on a free weekend a few weeks ago.

To anyone thinking of writing something, just go for it. My book probably took me three years to get together working on it bit by bit, and it's not ranked where I would like it to be on Amazon, but it's still one of my most satisfying accomplishments.

Anyhow, anyone who's into darker fiction might want to check it out.

No offense but I'm not paying $4.99 for 142 pages with one five star review. The only review. I read a lot of self-published authors, mainly sci-fi/fantasy and I avoid short books even for 99 cents. At 142 pages its a short story not a book. Sorry, not trying to piss you off though likely did.


No, you didn't. It's a short novel 40,000ish word. Obviously, I'd like more reviews, hence the shameless whoring of the link. Out of curiosity, why do you avoid shorter works even if they're priced at $.99? It's always been my personal preference to read a story that moves along rather than one that drones on about pointless details and descriptions that don't further the story. Clearly some stories need 1000 pages to tell, but in my experience, most don't.
 
2012-05-28 07:32:40 PM

Gunny Walker: SharkTrager: Fast Moon: That's because it's populated by people, a half dozen or so whom I know personally, who have decided they'll just write crappy vampire stories for a living instead of actually having to work.

I read about a girl last year who was making $60K+ doing just that. She was churning out several "books" a month,

Are you talking about Amanda Hocking?


Possibly. I didn't bother to check in to it any further. Even her descriptions of the books in the article sounded bad.
 
2012-05-28 07:39:13 PM
If memory serves, Amanda Hocking was making a lot more than that. A handful of independent authors make a ton of money, and a larger handful make a living. Most, however, don't make squat (and unfortunately in many cases, for good reason).
 
2012-05-28 07:48:28 PM

ihatethemall: Intoxoman: ihatethemall: I was recently published through an ebook publisher, so I don't get to see all back end dealings with Amazon(I don't even know what my sales are). I do watch the sales rank like a hawk though. It's really more of an addiction at this point. My book is priced at $4.99, which I think is fair, though it did jump tremendously on a free weekend a few weeks ago.

To anyone thinking of writing something, just go for it. My book probably took me three years to get together working on it bit by bit, and it's not ranked where I would like it to be on Amazon, but it's still one of my most satisfying accomplishments.

Anyhow, anyone who's into darker fiction might want to check it out.

No offense but I'm not paying $4.99 for 142 pages with one five star review. The only review. I read a lot of self-published authors, mainly sci-fi/fantasy and I avoid short books even for 99 cents. At 142 pages its a short story not a book. Sorry, not trying to piss you off though likely did.

No, you didn't. It's a short novel 40,000ish word. Obviously, I'd like more reviews, hence the shameless whoring of the link. Out of curiosity, why do you avoid shorter works even if they're priced at $.99? It's always been my personal preference to read a story that moves along rather than one that drones on about pointless details and descriptions that don't further the story. Clearly some stories need 1000 pages to tell, but in my experience, most don't.


I totally agree with you on the 1000 page thing though some are worth it. I know a lot of people like short stories I'm just not one of them. I have exactly one anthology of sci-fi stories. My Mom sent it to me back in the nineties. Some great stories but I just like more. Not ridiculous drawn out stuff like Robert Jordan (yea I know its a series) but a whole book. I've read a lot of $.99 on Kindle and quite a few I found worth it though I'm not going to sort through and put up every $.99 book I've read. I am relectently willing to pay pay full price for some of my favorite authors though I think its ridiculous that publishers seem to think they should make just as much on an e-book as something printed in a factory. So Mike (name from profile) honestly I think you are pricing too high. I look at at every Kindle book I buy, reviews how long it is, etc. I'm sure most people do. I still kick myself in the ass for an utterly stupid book I bought before reading the full 10%. Anyway my e-mails in my profile if you want to talk further. I'll dedicate the next beer to you!
 
2012-05-28 08:15:22 PM

Gunny Walker: Are you talking about Amanda Hocking?


Her blog is filled with mistakes, I'd hate to see one of her books.
 
2012-05-28 08:58:44 PM
Well, as someone working on his first novel and who has looked into e-book publishing, I have to say I'm not surprised. Heck, some of the things I've seen in the KDP support forum makes me wonder if these people know just how much effort it takes to make ANY kind of money doing something like this.

/I like to think that self-publishing is like starting your own business, except with less startup costs
 
2012-05-28 08:59:07 PM

spidermann: price it at $7.99 and more people will


download it because it's better but inconvenient to pay for.
 
2012-05-28 09:02:51 PM
I always wanted to write a book but I fear I must buy myself a better keyboard tray first as this one causes wrist pain. I'd never make it through writing a novel. farking chinese garbage. Should've known better.
 
2012-05-28 09:08:13 PM
Okay, maybe a little perspective from an actually published writer. Bantam Spectra published 3 novels from me, and I have a very good agent-- Richard Curtis. I've also been a Nebula finalist twice. But my next couple of novels will go to Amazon first.

Why? Because the current business model for traditional publishers is nearing extinction. If Richard sells my novel to a big house, they will demand e-rights. This is unacceptable. They are dinosaurs, and I have no interest in allowing them to survive on my potential income. It's only delaying the inevitable.

With Kindle's market penetration and the possibility of print-on-demand publication, there is no longer any reason to support the NYC publishing industry. The only thing you need from the publisher is editing (and it's much cheaper to buy that from out-of-work editors) and promotion. My Bantam Spectra novels were not promoted in any significant way, so even though the advances were high, sell-through was disappointing.

Screw them. If you're a midlist author, you need to be doing your own promotion anyway, and you get a much bigger piece of the money through Amazon and other e-book formats.
 
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