A book, from a marketing point of view, is a loss-leader. In other words, it opens doors for other products like workshops, seminars, lectures, book signings, and a whole host of other money-making opportunities. Depending on the story, the book can also lead to that sale of play, movie and television rights – rare, but it does happen if the story has a strong emotional connection to its readers (the Harry Potter series comes to mind.)
Its rare that an author makes a living on royalties from book sales alone. Most authors sell an average of 500 books and even if its self-published with a royalty of $17 (70% of the gross cover price of $25) at 500 sales that’s only $8,750 or so. The actual return to the author may actually be around $3.75 (or less) for a whopping $1,875.
Even more rare is reaching best seller status. Using some of the numbers in the previous paragraph, an author who sells 35,000 books, may realize a return of $122,500 ($3.75/book.) Selling that many books, depending on the story, can lead to movie deals and more.
Why am I brining this up? As I said earlier, I want to write fiction and find a way to make a living doing it. I have no illusions that I will write a best seller or end up with a movie deal. I won’t even try to focus in that direction. I will concentrate on creating relatable characters with challenging plots and sell the stories to a market that wants to explore along with me.
Along the way, I will create side projects and products that will give me the financial resources necessary to make my dreams come true. More on this in later columns. Stay tuned. Let’s learn something together.
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