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Friday, April 15, 2022

The Self-Publishing Game Is Rigged for Authors to Fail

    First of all, I want to sound off by saying that according to the statistics, I shouldn’t still be writing and publishing books in 2022. I originally began self-publishing books in 2007, and I hadn’t earned more than $1,000 per year for the first twelve years of my writing career. In fact, most self-published authors never earn more than $1,000 yearly according to the 2014 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey―77% of self-published authors make $1,000 per year or less, and 53.9 % of traditionally published authors and 43.6% of hybrid authors earn $1,000 or less yearly as well. Only 0.7% of self-published authors, 1.3% of traditionally published authors, and 5.7% of hybrid authors earn $100,000 per year or more. Needless to say, not much has changed since then, and the top 2.5% of authors make a good living while the vast majority of writers don’t earn enough to quit their jobs and write full-time.

    I’ve amassed a great wealth of experience and knowledge over my fifteen plus years of writing, and the most important thing that I learned was that an author must have perseverance. Self-publishing is essentially the long game, and success will come to those who put in the time and work. I liken the world of self-publishing to a casino―a world where the house almost always wins, and the goalpost is constantly being moved by the powers that be. Setbacks like the creation of KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) in KDP Select where authors are being paid by the number of pages read by Amazon Prime members, who through their memberships can download Amazon eBooks for free, as opposed to being paid a one-time royalty for each sale have made it more difficult for authors to earn a significant monthly income for their eBook sales, for example. Since the majority of Amazon customers are Prime members, most eBooks are downloaded for free, and authors enrolled in KDP Select are mostly paid by the number of pages read by Prime members collectively.

Cash

    The last three and a half years have yielded respectable earnings for me as a writer―I’ve placed myself in the middle of the pack by consistently earning gross sales of $15,000 - $25,000 per year and roughly half of that after expenses, and I’m on pace to do the same in 2022. However, that’s still not enough money to quit my job and write full-time. I’m always looking for ways to increase revenue but ascending to the next level is extremely difficult. One trick that I’d like to share is that authors should focus more on paperback sales―yes, paperback books aren’t dead. I was able to drastically increase my earnings once I concentrated on advertising paperbacks on Amazon’s advertising platform―AmazonAds.

    All things considered; writing has been a rewarding experience for me. With that being said, authors must have a genuine love for writing, or else they won’t succeed in this game. Roughly only 3% of writers ever reach six-figure earnings, and unfortunately, there aren’t many shortcuts in the process of self-publishing books.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Should Authors Sell Books Directly from Blog or Link Them to Amazon?

    It’s a well-known fact that Amazon is one of the largest marketplaces on the Internet, and authors like me rely heavily on selling books on this platform. However, the question is whether or not authors should sell books directly to their readers via blogs as opposed to linking them to Amazon. In reality, selling books directly to readers from a blog depends solely on one factor―blog traffic. If an author’s blog is in its infancy stage and isn’t getting much traffic, it’s best to link books directly to Amazon until the site’s popularity increases.

 Why Blog Traffic Is an Important Factor in Selling Directly to Readers.

    Amazon is a name that everyone knows and trusts, and its brand is second to none. With that being said, most customers are still going to purchase an author’s book off Amazon even though one is selling directly from his or her blog. Unknown authors won’t have the trust factor in their favor initially, so selling books directly to readers will ultimately be a waste of time in the beginning―building trust with customers doesn’t happen overnight. For every one hundred customers that an author has, only one or two of them will actually buy a book directly from a website or blog. I’ve experienced this firsthand, so I won’t be selling my books directly to my customers until my blog is in full swing.

 Some of the Advantages of Selling Books Directly from Blog.

    Selling books directly to readers from a blog undoubtedly has major advantages such as better earnings, an immediate payout, and garnering a direct connection to the reading audience. Email lists are like gold―a plethora of book reviews that an author gathers from having an email list after a book launch is invaluable. This can be achieved through sweat equity with very few shortcuts. The goal of every author should be financial independence, and a higher profit margin coupled with receiving the money from instant sales can make this dream a reality.

 A Disadvantage of Selling Books Directly from Blog.

    The shipping costs of paperback and hardcover books will present the biggest challenge for authors, especially in the international market. Authors will need to decide if it’s worth selling the physical copies of their books directly from their respective blogs and hope that paperback, hardcover, and eBook sales will far exceed shipping costs.

    In conclusion, selling books directly from one’s site is counterproductive in the short run, but selling books both directly from a blog and on platforms like Amazon should be the goal of an author in the long run. My goal as an author is simple―to sell directly to my readership once my blog is relevant enough to make a profit and continue to link my books to Amazon.

Terror Dome: A Short Story (Part 1)

     Jake West had awakened from a peculiar dream he had mid-morning on Sunday. In this dream, he was walking alone in what appeared to be t...