In this day and age there are so many books out there, the ultimate question asked by every reader of every author is, “What makes your book different?”
While I don’t want to say that question is impossible to answer, it can be difficult to answer. Even though books often share similarities with one another, they are all different. Otherwise, it would be a copyright infringement. But I digress. Because the entire point of that question is why should I, as a reader, spend my hard-earned money on your book?
This is why so many Indie (independently) authors have a multitude of ads and spend a lot of time talking about their work. Unlike traditionally published authors who get paid before the book even comes out, Indie authors don’t make any money until books sell.
Back in October, I wrote a blog about the realities of what an Indie author could spend to publish one book. If you need a reminder, click here. Now that the year has closed and I spent a chunk of New Year’s Day completing my financial books for 2017, I thought it was important to talk about the other end of a book. The green part.
As I pointed out before, there are a number of free sites to use to publish the book. And I even stated that including editing, cover, interior design, and advertising, an author could be looking at anywhere from $1650 to $4600 to publish one book. To keep this simple, I’m going to refer to Amazon e-book publishing only in regards to earnings. It gets a bit more complicated if you get into POD (print on demand)/paperback novels or other e-book sites.
With Amazon, you have two options via KDP. One, you do not commit to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) for the first 90 days your book is out, in which case you only make 35% of each book sold. Two, you commit to KDP for the first 3 months, in which case you make 70% of each book sold. We’ll look at each individually. There are two things I’ll be addressing: how much you would make per e-book sold on Amazon and how many books you’d have to sell to break even.
Generally e-books have what we call a sweet spot for prices and it’s between $0.99 and $5.99. Most readers don’t want to spend more than $6 for a book they cannot physically hold in their hands and to some even that’s too much. So again, to keep it simple, we’ll set the sale price at $0.99.
Looking at our two KDP options, if $0.99 is the sale price of your book, then at 35% you’ll make $0.35 for each e-book sold and at 70% you’ll make $0.70 for each e-book sold.
That means that based on our previously mentioned costs to publish that one book, then the following sales would be required to break even.
(Publishing Cost) $1,650.00 ÷ (Income per e-book) $0.35 = 4,714.29. This means an Indie author would have to sell 4,715 e-books to break even for one book.
There’s one problem with this equation. It takes into account advertising at a cost of $150, which is a continuous expense. So, to get a better idea of a break even cost, we’d either have to increase advertising to a yearly amount or take it out all together.
Taking that into consideration, let’s look at the higher end of publication without advertising and making $0.70 per e-book sold.
(Publishing Cost w/o advertising) $4,100.00 ÷ (Income per e-book) $0.70= 5,857.15. Which means an Indie author would have to sell 5,858 e-books to break even on the higher end of publication alone (editing, cover design, interior design).
But what if the sale price were higher? The number of books required to sell to break even would change, right? Let’s take a look.
(Publication Cost) $1,650 ÷ (Income per e-book) $0.70 ($1.99 x 35%) = 2,357.15 e-books to sell.
And this is only through Amazon. The amount made per book varies with each site. Sadly, it begins to make a little sense why some authors cut certain costs.
Still, there’s one more thing to think about. Not all authors write to make money. Some just write because they have something to say. It doesn’t mean those authors don’t think about the expense, they simply think about it differently.