There seems to be a prevalent through among ebook writers and self-publishers. Many of these people think that they will make more money if they just produce more books. This really does seem to make sense in a very formulaic, mathematical way. It’s a trap that many people fall for, but it’s an understandably desirable trap. Every writer wants to write more, right? So pushing yourself to make six books a year (or go pedal-to-the-metal and a book every week for 52 books a year) just makes sense. Let’s see how well that formula holds up to logic.
Most people have very, very modest success when it comes to self-publishing. The average Kindle book will make about $100. Sometimes even great pieces of literature only make that much due to poor marketing. So, if you only make one book a year, then that’s $100. Yeah, that sounds like chump change considering all of the work you put into it.
It only seems to make sense that publishing more frequently would give you more money every year. Going by this standard, doing a book a week would yield about $5,200. Definitely not enough to live on, but at least it’s enough to seem profitable.
I don’t care if you publish fiction, non-fiction, informational products or books with pretty pictures. Everyone, even those who get a huge blockbuster on their first try, need to develop their craft. Those on the fiction side have to learn how to develop characters, dialogue, believable settings and interesting plots. Those on the non-fiction side have to hone their research skills, deductive and logical reasoning and ability to make sense of their research.
You can’t do that making a ton of books every year. At this rate you’re just splashing text to a document and hoping it sounds coherent. Sure, you might, might make a couple thousand a year, but that’s the most you can ever hope for at this level.
Remember what I said about marketing before? There are some truly great pieces of literature on the Kindle store that only have a few sales. Why’s that? Because the writer knows a lot about writing, but nothing about marketing. Say what you will about marketing, it’s the glue that makes money stick to your book and no one else’s. People buy books that they know about.
Sure, sporadic purchases happen, but most Kindle buyers are looking for a specific book. They found out about it from a friend, reading a review, in the news or somewhere. You need to be somewhere for people to come to you. “Write it and they will come” has not been a viable strategy in any of our lifetimes.
So, how much marketing can you really do with the publish-one-a-week spray-and-pray method? Close to none. Maybe you can write a blog post about it, but can you get traffic to your blog while you’re grinding your fingers away on new books? I doubt it.
Too Much Change
Another problem with binge publishers is that they are too willing to change. Changing your craft, or rather letting it evolve, is a natural process as you find out what your niche, voice and passion is. Following the leader, writing specifically for cash and writing about something popular will make your book obsolete before you even publish it.
But, you don’t have much of a choice. The truth is that most of the writing process occurs off the page in our minds. You can’t put much thought in a book that you’re only going to spend a week on. There’s a reason why most best sellers take over a year to write.
Give Yourself Time
Stop playing the formula game. Sure, there might be a small handful of people who play it and win, but you can do the same by buying a lottery ticket. If you’re going in for the long haul, then you should put time into developing your book and making it as good as possible. You may be self-publishing, but make sure that the book is good enough to send to a publisher.
If you don’t, then you can look forward to an unfruitful and frightfully busy writing career. Either develop your craft and hone your marketing, or have fun grinding your fingers away on the keyboard.
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