Want to write a book? If you do, you need to decide from the outset whether you’ll sell it yourself, or will offer it to publishers. Although a book publishing credit is highly valuable, it can also be a way of losing money.
This is because the majority of published authors fail to make any profit on their books, when you consider the time and energy they invest in the process. However, if they understood the benefits and downsides to choosing a publishing method, they’d make a profit.
1) Is Book Publishing Profitable?
Sadly, for 95 per cent of authors it’s not. Here’s how it works:
You spend one to two years writing a book and selling it (licensing it, in reality) to a publisher for an advance on royalties;
You spend a couple of years waiting for your book to earn out, and start earning royalties… if indeed the book ever earns out.
If you add up all the time this takes, and estimate an hourly rate for published authors, you’d make more money serving burgers and fries at the golden arches. Of course, a lucky few authors (very few), do hit the bestseller lists and make great money.
2) The Benefits of Writing a Book and Having It Published by a Major Publisher
There’s really only one benefit, and it’s this: credibility. A publishing credit legitimizes you as a professional writer. It will help you to sell your writing, and writing services, for years to come. It establishes your writing career, as nothing else can.
3) The Downsides to Writing a Book and Having It Published by a Major Publisher
You spend months and years in publishing limbo.
You wait for an agent to get back to you… you wait for your editor to get back to you…
If you’re a successful, published writer, this won’t matter much. You’ve got lots of other projects in various stages of completion, so you won’t notice these long delays. If you’re a new writer, the delays can kill your career, because you’ll become depressed and downhearted, which means your writing suffers. You’re too busy waiting to do what you should be doing, which is writing.
You lose money.
If a book idea is hot enough for a publishing house to give you a contract, the book idea is worth money. Guess who makes the bulk of the profits?
While you’re waiting for your book to be published, you could be selling it yourself, and earning an income. The time you spend waiting equals money you’ll never get back.
4) Make the Choice Early
It’s up to you which publishing method you choose. For many authors, writing a book and self-publishing, whether electronically or by Print on Demand (POD) is the best option — but only you can decide. But if you want to write a book and make it profitable, you must decide.