Thursday, 9 April 2015

How not to publish No. 4: Costs

As I move from ‘a guy who writes books’ into ‘a guy who’s going to be writing books for the rest of his life’, I’ve been taking a closer look at my accounts. The summary is quite interesting.

The cost of covers, and editing/proofing for Book 5 was $1000, twelve cupcakes, and eight hours of gardening. (The next book will be about the same, but with more gardening)

Since February, I’ve spent $500 on advertising. So far (7 weeks on), sales that I can directly attribute to this advertising have brought in $300.

Audiobooks will add another $2000 - $3000 per book (the cost of an audiobook is determined by the finished length. More on audiobooks later this month.)

To keep the maths simple, (and after taking into account the exchange rate and sales taxes) I earn about $1.50 per full priced book.

So, if I’m aiming to write and publish a novel every ten weeks, then the total cost would be around $4000, which would mean I need to sell about 3,000 copies before making a profit.

This excludes the cost of coffee, biscuits, jelly beans and new backspace keys for my laptop (I go through a lot of those).


The figure oft quoted, though I can’t find its origin, is that most paperbacks would be lucky to sell 500 copies in their lifetime. To put all of this into something vaguely approaching perspective, 155,000 new books were published on Amazon over the last 30 days.