All righty, folks, here’s the numbers for last year. I’m sharing this info in the interest of being transparent and to help others considering self-publishing to decide if it’s a good idea for them.
What I did this year: Published three ebooks, but no new print books. All books were published on Smashwords. One was additionally published to Amazon’s Kindle. (The other two were not, because I thought Smashwords and Amazon had a deal worked out, but apparently Amazon sucks, so…not so much. I really need to go back and format those books for Kindle.) I have seven titles total on Smashwords, and five of them also appear on Amazon’s Kindle. (I have four books in print that are available, but that turned out to not much matter, so don’t worry about that.)
Amazon got easier to upload to and started giving me 70% of sales, so I lowered the price of kindle books to $5 to match the price on Smashwords.
All right, so the expenses up front. No print books this year, which means all I paid for was my webhosting ($99) and my domain name ($12) for a total of $111.
The gross: From Smashwords: $325.48
From Amazon: $203.30
From direct paypal donations: $13.50
Grand total: $542.28
For a profit of: $437.28
(I also made $17 royalty on my print books, but this is too low for Createspace to pay out. They require at least $25 or higher, so that money is money I won’t see until next year.)
Last year, I spent $455, grossed $637.48, and made a profit of $182.48.
So, overall, it’s a mixed bag. I grossed more money last year, but because I had such high expenses with producing print books, I made less profit.
Conclusion? Print books still sell better than ebooks (duh), but for the self-publisher, the expense and hassle of putting one out may outweigh the benefits, making ebooks a better choice.
Personal thoughts: Books about Jason and Azazel still sell better than anything else I write, and YA books sell better than ones written for adults. Fan reception of my latest J&A book has been a mixed bag. Some like it, some don’t. I feel this may be because I felt a bit of pressure to write more J&A in order to follow the money. This, as it turns out, may not have been the best idea for the series, as my new ideas for J&A may have pushed the series in a direction that may have alienated some fans and in the end, cost me more money. Se la vie. I still stand by Stillness as the book I wanted to write. Had a lot of fun with it too.
2011 leaves me in hot pursuit, once again, of traditional or commercial (or whatever you want to call them) publishers and agents. I have suspicions that I can’t really have the kind of career I want as a writer if I can’t get some kind of mainstream recognition. This may never happen, but I’ve got two books out piling up rejections and no-responses. Fingers crossed that one of them actually gets an acceptance letter someday. I figure these will make the rounds until about June-ish (or until I run out of suitable agents and editors, whichever comes first.) At that point, I’ll cut my losses and throw ’em on Smashwords.
I turned thirty last year. It’s been seven years since I finished writing my first novel. Since then, I’ve written the drafts of twelve full-length novels and one novella. If nothing else, at least I can congratulate myself for being more prolific than a lot of other writers.