I came across this post in my Twitter feed. TL;DR: an author lamenting how much it costs to produce a book, and how little she has sold.
The expenses side in her post looks fine. I tend to budget about A$1500 per book for editing, cover design and formatting. I have a line editor/proofreader who also formats my books. I use a variety of cover artists, and this is where the main variation in expense comes from. I’ve also recently started working with a paid content/developmental editor.
A$1500 per book serves me fine. This, of course, is a one-off cost and the more books you sell, the more you get out in profit. It is also where cover price affects your bottom line. At $2.99 per copy, I need to sell 750 copies to cover my costs. At $3.99, I need to sell less than 500. Everything else is gravy.
But the trick is: how do you sell 500 books? It is in this part of the equation that you can make a huge difference. To me, it sounds like the author of that blog post has not done an awful lot of effective promotion.
Promotion is not yelling at your social media friends. It’s not bookstore visits, blog tours or signings. It’s not even incessantly buying ads. There are only a couple of sites that are effective anyway.
- A good self-hosted website that you use as platform for:
- Your mailing list signup form
- Listing all your books and places where people can buy them
- Write an engaging series of a couple of books
- Make the first one free, and link to your mailing list signup in the front and back of the book
- Now advertise the hell out of your free book.
A good dose of patience is also required. And writing a couple of books per year.