About Being Published

So many new writers, particularly first time all authors, believe that when they secure a publishing contract, they’re going to be rich.  In their minds, they have determined that once their book is on Amazon they’re going to become a best seller.  They do the math and their heads really quickly: one book sold for $15 times their royalty rate of 10 percent equals $1.50 for every book sold and if they sell 100,000 books, the math tells them they’re going to make $150,000.  Not a bad payday.

However, let’s take a look at reality.

In order to make a lot of money has an author, you really have to sell your books.  Too many people believe that once you have written a book and have it published, you’re done.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If you believe all you have to do is write the book and cash is going to come your way, you are in for a major disappointment.  In reality, unknown authors are lucky to sell 100 or 200 copies of their books to friends and relatives.  This is particularly true of fiction titles.

Unless you are out meeting the public and pushing your book, you’ll have no sales.  All of your work will have been in vain.  If you want to make a name for yourself as a writer, the first thing you need to do is write a great book.  To do that, you need to be reading—a lot!  After that, sit down and write your book, get it published, and then you are going to have to go out and sell your story on a weekly basis.  If you are not going out in front of the public at least once a week for a year, you will have no sales.  Oh, as mentioned before, you might sell 100 or so to your friends or family.  But once that market dries up, you’re done.

You need to make certain that you are in front of groups of people talking about your book every week.  If you are not willing to do that, don’t waste your time writing the book.  It’s not going to sell unless you sell it.  The days of book tours financed by publishers is over.

In the “old days,” the legacy publishers would bet on a book selling 10,000 copies on the Tuesday it was released and fulfilling 100,000 orders by the end of the first week.  With numbers like that, companies could afford to finance big book tours.  Who sells books in those quantities?  People with names like Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, J. K. Rowling,…  I’m sure you are getting the picture.  A new author has a totally unrecognizable name.  No one in the public knows unknown authors.  What this means is that if you wish to sell it great number of books, you must first get famous, you will have to write a great book, and then you are going to have to market yourself.  Following that—you have to make a name for yourself.

For more information about the realities of publishing, see my blog at Writing & Selling Books.