Some people think that anyone who’s published a book must be very talented  and rolling in money. I’m going to leave the question of talent to the side for another post, and focus on sales, particularly sales in the world of self-publishing.

I published my first book in July last year and my first novel in November. As a self-published author, a college student, and a guy working at Ohio State’s Student Financial Aid office part-time for nine bucks an hour, I couldn’t exactly afford an advertising team to help me spread the word about my books. I’m completely reliant on my blog, every social media platform I can get my hands on and learn to use, and the spoken word, along with any contacts I can make in the writing industry.

Truth is, most writers don’t make that much money out of their craft, especially if they’re self-published and doing a lot of the work on their own. Most writers usually have teaching jobs or something else to help pay the bills. Stephen King didn’t stop teaching until Carrie went paperback. Anne Rice and JK Rowling had small sales until their careers started taking off, and then they began writing full time. There are numerous other examples I could mention, but the point is that writing and publishing books is not guaranteed income. In fact, several authors I know, most of them self-published but a few of them having gone the traditional route, have described their book sales as getting a big boost whenever a book is published, followed by a steady decline to the usual amount of sales after a month or so. I’m still working to get to that level of popularity!

But then again, most authors don’t care about the amount of sales, at least not like an executive in a toy company might worry about how a toy is not selling as it should among kids 8-12. Most of the time, we’re more worried about how people are liking our books, if they enjoy what they’re reading and if they’re connecting with the characters. In short, every writer wants to know is if people are appreciating the stories they create. And the authors that are more concerned with sales in the other sense? Well, I don’t think that they got into writing for the right reasons.

So most authors don’t make big sales like some people tend to think. We certainly wouldn’t mind having more sales but it’s not as big a factor for us as one might think. In fact, I’m very happy with my current fanbase, though it’s pretty small at this point. The people who read my work tend to enjoy it very much, and they let me know in reviews and emails and in conversations. And for now, that’s all I can ask for. When I get the big sales and the larger fanbase, it’ll be because I’ve earned it.

All for now. I’ve got a short story to work on. Wish me luck!

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Comments
  1. karmicangel says:

    Agreed, Rami, it’s a slow build. Good luck with your short story!

  2. Therin Knite says:

    This is very true. I had someone tell me they liked my book for the very first time yesterday, and it meant the world even though I gave that person the book for free. It’s about building yourself and your writing up, not magically making millions right off the bat.

  3. Hi Rami,

    Nice post. I’ve recently just started out writing, so it’s comforting to read this knowing that many people are in the same boat. I could care less about the money because I am definitely in it for the art- I just wish I knew how to make more connections with people, because the sharing of ideas and stories is a crucial part to me. It’s a chance to learn and grow from one another, and I’d like to be a part of that 🙂

    -Devan

    • Devan,

      First off, pleasure to meet you. Welcome to the blog. I’m glad you decided to take up writing and I hope the best for you. It’ll take time, but it’s well worth it. As for making connections, here’s my advice: write a lot and write often on your own blog, but make sure what you write is interesting and is relevant to what you want for your blog to be about. Also, comment often on the blogs of others. If people think you have something to say worth listening to, they may be interested in checking out and following your blog. Just don’t ask people to follow your blog. I had one guy do that to me, and it kind of seemed like he was coming on a little too strong. Hope that helps.

      -Rami

  4. This is why you gotta keep releasing, sequels and prequels and follow-ups. Keep pushing!

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