Economics of Self-Publishing

Lately the blogosphere is busy dissecting the merits and demerits of self-publishing. Though diverse concerns and hopes abound, the economics of self-publishing is a popular point of debate. Can authors earn a living by self-publishing?

Frankly, it’s still too early in this revolution to answer the question definitively. But as the economics of the publishing industry begin to shift rapidly and radically as they’ve already done in the music business, writers, agents and publishers need to study the financial viability of their occupations. On Thursday author Joe Konrath posted, “How to Make Money on eBooks” offering advice to writers in our post-Gutenberg era. His seven recommendations and Q&A are not groundbreaking news perhaps, but they are straightforward, important and timely for authors (and agents and publishers!)

  1. Write a damn good book.
  2. Price it right.
  3. Format it correctly.
  4. Design a professional book cover.
  5. Write a great product description.
  6. Choose your platform.
  7. Publicize your ebook.

I’m going with numbers one and seven as the most obvious but most important reminders. And I’m learning that platform, platform, platform (above and beyond deciding on whether you want to publish your digital book with Kindle or iBookstore…) is rapidly becoming the Holy Grail of the publishing world. So number eight, or maybe seven point five, should be build, improve, expand, support, and LOVE your platform.

Konrath’s Q&A section covers critical territory about agents and the pros and cons of traditional versus self publishing, and he circles around to the question on everyone’s mind: Can authors earn a living by self-publishing?

“I don’t know many people who make a living being traditionally published. Most of my peers have day jobs.That said, I’m making a living self publishing. I’m sure others can and will. But whether you can or not involves a lot of factors, some within your control, some not. But, in my humble opinion, a dedicated writer who turns out good material on a consistent basis will be able to, on average, earn more money self publishing than traditional publishing. I say this having done both.”

This might be the most hopeful publishing industry perspective in months!Read the full post here…


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