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The Ugly Facts of Author Earnings

As I sit here contemplating the pros and cons of buying a new computer (which I really can’t afford just now), I’m sharply reminded of the fact that the majority of authors don’t earn most of their money through book sales. It’s a sad fact that is true in today’s publishing world.

With the opening up of publishing to all, so many people have jumped in that it’s now harder than ever not only to be discovered but to earn much money from being an author even if your books have been found by a good readership. I’ve seen numerous posts on Facebook by authors asking if anyone else’s income has dropped sharply in the past year. I can’t begin to tell you how many people have responded that theirs has done so. There are simply too many books for sale, too many people wanting a slice of a limited pie.

I’ve always been pretty open about the fact that I don’t earn a lot from the sale of my books. It took me quite a while, when I started self-publishing, to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be earning very much in relation to the number of hours I work on my writing. I realized that this was more a labor of love, a desire to share my story than it was a way to earn money—and it’s certainly not a way to earn a living!

This has become such a well-established fact, even Joanna Penn and a number of publishing influencers have spoken on the fact that in order to earn any sort of real, or even semi-real, money in publishing you need to do something else to supplement your income. Penn and many others teach classes and speak for fees (I, too, teach and am planning to offer my Word for Writers class again in September, and my writing worksheets are always for sale on Etsy). Many authors do what I do, which is to find something that they can offer to the community–either formatting, editing, cover design or marketing–and use that as a secondary source of income.

I got into formatting immediately after I started self-publishing, figuring that now that I’d figured out how to do it, I should really share this knowledge and/or do it for others. I immediately started my formatting business, Anessa Books, and began teaching others how to format. This has managed to support my writing business (paying for marketing when I wasn’t even earning enough to break even).

Today, as I’m trying to deal with a computer that keeps freezing on me (nearly costing me a whole day’s worth of work and even, just now, this blog post), I’m adding another stream (well, probably more like a dribble) of income.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of “buying a cup of coffee” for a content provider (like bloggers). It’s where you send three or four dollars to the author to help them continue to provide the information you enjoy reading and learning from. There’s a website called Ko-fi.com where you can sign up for an account and add a button to your blog. Clicking on the button will take you to a landing page where you can send a few dollars to the blogger and possibly see additional information as thanks for doing so. They also have a higher level membership which is similar to Patreon which allows people to subscribe to the content creator for a monthly fee. The subscribers then receive extras every month.

I’ve signed up for the basic membership—you’ll see the green button to the left on this page. If you enjoy this blog, I would greatly appreciate you pressing the button and making a small donation to my new computer fund. If I get enough interest, I’ll increase my membership at Ko-fi (which costs money, but if I get enough interest, it will pay for itself) and create a subscription where I’ll post more information, extras, every month. It could be an additional information-filled blog post, a writing worksheet, or even a five-minute video showing you how to do something in Word.

So, tell me, what do you do to earn a little extra $$? Are you interested in becoming a subscriber to get extras from me? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!!

Merry
 

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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