As most people can surmise, your success (at least initially) in digital self-publishing is directly related to your fame as an established author. Some with a rep can bring in rather large sums with an e-book.
Newbie authors, however, face another reality … A reality with graded success … BUT, with talent coupled with diligence, the newbies will soon attain a following and hence become famous incrementally until they, too, will master larger profit sums. In the meantime, they can enjoy making at least some bucks while getting their written work published and read.
You might call digital self-publishing today a somewhat paid query letter with benefits … Beats the hell out of outright rejections by some third-party gatekeeper, huh?
Secret of Self-Publishing: Success
Authors With a Following Make Money Going It Alone, but It’s a Slog for Others
Self-publishing these days is increasingly a tale of two cities.
There are established authors, like Nyree Belleville, who says she’s earned half a million dollars in the past 18 months selling direct rather than through a publisher..
Then there are new authors, like Eve Yohalem. More than a month after self-publishing, she has grossed about $100 in sales— after incurring costs of $3,400. She said she’s in no rush, though.
Vanity presses have been available for decades. But thanks to digital technology and particularly the emergence of e-books, the number of self-published titles exploded 160% to 133,036 in 2010 from 51,237 in 2006, estimates R. R. Bowker, which tracks the publishing business.
Amazon.com Inc. fueled the growth by offering self-published writers as much as 70% of revenue on digital books, depending on the retail price. By comparison, traditional publishers typically pay their authors 25% of net digital sales and even less on print books.
For some established authors, these terms can make self-publishing a financial home run. Ms. Belleville, for instance, a veteran romance author who wrote for seven years under the pseudonym Bella Andre and a year as Lucy Kevin, self-published her first e-book in April 2010. She has since cumulatively sold 265,000 units of 10 self-published titles, most priced between $2.99 and $5.99. Her total take from those 10 titles since last April: in excess of $500,000 after expenses, she says. Previously, the most she ever made from a book was $33,000.
Self-published women’s fiction writer Darcie Chan has seen her new work, “The Mill River Recluse,” hit No. 5 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of digital fiction bestsellers for the week ended Oct. 23. Ms. Chan priced her novel about a secretive widow living in Vermont at 99 cents, and says she has sold “hundreds of thousands” of copies since it went on sale on Amazon in May. The book, also carried by Barnes & Noble Inc. and other e-retailers, was previously rejected by major publishing houses.