Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Self Publishing is Not A Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

I was reading some comments on a Facebook page the other day on a topic about publishing. Someone was letting their fans know that they’re going to create a “how to” video to show everyone how to use Amazon to publish their books for free.

First, I’d like to commend this person for wanting to help others out. Helping others is a great and noble venture. Then, I read the comments and was left shaking my head. One person commented that they couldn’t wait to see her video. They needed to try something to earn some badly needed money.

Self publishing is not a get rich quick endeavour, and if that’s what you expect it to be, you are in for a big let down.

“Despite the splash caused by self-publishing superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James, the average amount earned by DIY authors last year was just $10,000 (£6,375) – and half made less than $500.” http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/may/24/self-published-author-earnings

And while you can go it alone, it’s not always advisable. Some people do contain the skill set required to release a book all by themselves, but

“the survey found: self-publishers who received help (paid or unpaid) with story editing, copy editing and proofreading made 13% more than the average; help with cover design upped earnings by a further 34%.

Half the respondents failed to reach $500 in royalties in 2011, and a quarter of the books are unlikely to cover the direct costs of production. "Sobering" news, wrote Cornford and Lewis.”

So, that’s basically my point. Self publishing is not a great way to make money. To have a chance at making any money, you probably have to spend money. Editing, formatting, cover art, even marketing. I’m not advising against self publishing, there are some great self published books and authors out there and I’m a huge supporter of them, but I just want people to wake up and realize that you wont be famous overnight. You likely wont make a huge amount of money and if you invest your own money, you’re not even guaranteed to earn it back.

So if you’re looking to get rich quick, you might have a better chance at playing the lottery.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a great article on Forbes.com

I leave you with some final thoughts from John Green, author of The Faults in Our Stars.

"Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people."


  1. Great post! I agree. While it's not right for everyone, sometimes self-publishing is the best option. It's all about having a passion for writing and wanting to share your work with others, not making money.

    1. Self publishing is a great option and while there are some really successful self published authors out there, they are the exception, not the rule. If you're going to self publish, plan on being the rule. Plan on being in the half that makes $500 and under. Anything more is a happy surprise. :)