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Archived Author Help > Who can honestly say they are making regular profit on book sales and if so how do you do it?

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message 1: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Hi there

I don't mean to be rude, but I have been through many forums for information on how best to advertise your book, but most of the advice I find is for free books or those on kindle unlimited. In the end let's all be honest, authors want to sell books for money and make a profit. What I'd really like to know, is who is actually managing to do that? And if so, how? I haven't written anything myself yet to be published. I plan to, but before I do I want to compile as much information as I can find. All I know so far is that friends of mine have tried and failed. So I'd really like some advice from people who are actually making it work.


message 2: by Alexander (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments I think authors are looking at this the wrong way. Or the ones you mention anyways. If the only reason you write is to sell books, then you're better off without. But I won't get into that, since it's a different topic altogether.
I understand some people strive to become full-time writers and thus live from their royalties but... That requires a lot of hard work and in the first couple of years, at least, I think it's quite unachievable.
When you're starting off as an author, until you've created a base of fans and dedicated readers who are willing to buy your books or support you via any other means, then yes, your best tools are free promotions and Kindle Unlimited.
There's nothing really wrong with that. If you add your book in KU you're not losing anything so to speak. You're giving readers a chance to experiment your work and decide whether they should buy it or not. People who really enjoy your book will buy it to support you even if they've read it on KU already.
And, hey, if you look at it this way, that's double the income, right? Or as close to it as possible.
Pile that with throwing in a bunch of ARCs to reviewers to create a bit of a buzz around your book and in terms of free advertising, that's about it. If you want something more elaborate, you can always try paid advertising and see where that takes you.
But honestly, so far, at least for me, KU has proved to be quite an useful tool. Most of my royalties come from KU. Besides, you can put to use the promotional tools KDP provides.
That's your best option as a new author, honestly. Join book release events, create a network of contacts, reach out to bloggers and from time to time, do offer free promotions and free books. Readers need to familiarise themselves with your work first to decide whether it's something they'd enjoy or not. There's really no other way around it as an indie author.
Promoting a book is a lot of hard work and not a lot of money :). But it all boils down to the reason why you're writing after all.
Hope that helps.


message 3: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alexander wrote: "I think authors are looking at this the wrong way. Or the ones you mention anyways. If the only reason you write is to sell books, then you're better off without. But I won't get into that, since i..."

Thank you for your reply. I shall take note of everything that you said. If you don't mind could you answer another couple of questions for me please?

What are ARC's? And which reviewers would you recommend? Also with regards to Kindle Unlimited, which sites are the best to direct people to there? I agree with you that writing is about more than just making money. That does go without saying. But it is always a thought in the background. Thank you again.


message 4: by D. (new)

D. Thrush | 180 comments ARCs are Advanced Reader Copies of a book before publication. You're doing the right thing by connecting with people on GR. I've learned so much on this site. I recommend Mark Dawson's website and David Gaughran's website. There's lots of info on them. As far as writing, I've found books by Larry Brooks helpful.


message 5: by Alexander (last edited Dec 04, 2018 08:42AM) (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments ARCs are the Advanced Reader Copies you provide to bloggers / selected readers before publishing your book to get some ratings and reviews in the first couple of days after publishing (You can provide free copies even after you publish).
When it comes to recommending reviewers, to be honest, I've tried both reaching out to readers in Facebook groups and to bloggers. From experience I can tell you to prepare yourself for a couple of disappointments. That's one thing I learnt. Not all of the people who say they will review your book will end up doing that. And that's fine, because next time you'll know who to approach, so in my case, I'll be sticking to blogs mostly and people I know to be reliable. Keep in mind that giving away a free copy doesn't guarantee a positive review and quite frankly, it shouldn't. The reviewer should feel free to say their opinion about your book, no matter what that opinion is.
From my point of view critique is something that will help you move forward as an author and realize what you're doing wrong.
Obviously, the genre you write in should give you an idea about your readers and the best approach to take in that case.
And when it comes to directing people to KU, social media in general is a great tool to do that. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads in the groups that allow you to create self-promo threads and so on. Basically, any platform will do. But it's really important to identify those groups you want to cater to. Usually on Facebook you find hundreds of groups of just about everything, so it's easier to start there. At least it was for me.

Wish you good luck! :D


message 6: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments D. wrote: "ARCs are Advanced Reader Copies of a book before publication. You're doing the right thing by connecting with people on GR. I've learned so much on this site. I recommend Mark Dawson's website and ..."

Thank you D I'll be sure to check out those websites.


message 7: by Christina (last edited Dec 04, 2018 08:52AM) (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Alexander wrote: "If the only reason you write is to sell books, then you're better off without."

First of all, I agree with this 100% There are much easier ways to make extra cash. Writing a book is a job. Being a full time author is several full time jobs in one and unless you are really lucky, you aren't going to make what works out to minimum wage when you factor in everything you need to do.

Second, free books and KU are in fact, how I've turned a steady profit on my books for six years running. Well, KU for 3 of those years since the KOLL wasn't nearly as profitable, though it was nice.

Note: turning a profit and making a living are two different things. I spent 4 years writing for a living and while I always turned a profit, I occasionally had to dip into savings to continue "living."

Free books lead to sales. I won't go into this here because I've spoken exhaustively about this on the promo thread and you're welcome to read that. But I think both of you are misinformed about KU. When someone downloads a book through KU and reads it, the author is paid for the pages read. It's not a way for readers to "try" a book, but rather a way to read as many books as they can for one flat monthly rate.

As to how I do this profitably, I don't spend tons of money on things like advice, full price advertising, or expensive software. I do spend time setting up promotions so that I've always got something out there and my name doesn't fall into obscurity. I also have several completed series, which means I have box set options as an alternative to buying each book separately.

I do need to state that having a steady release schedule has helped, as has the fact that my first book came out when KDP was still pretty new. Mine was one of nearly 1 million books available (in Kindle format) at the time. Today that number is closer to 6 million and growing exponentially, so yes, it is much tougher to get that initial exposure these days.

This past year, I stopped writing as a full time job and yes, the lack of time spent maintaining my book promos has definitely taken its toll on the amount of royalties I'm making, but I've yet to see anything dry up, mainly thanks to KU.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 770 comments I've made a small but steady profit over the past 2 years by dint of releasing lots of books (I'm up to 8 so far) writing in a series, having book 1 free to generate interest, and marketing consistently.

I use a paid advertising site once a month, listing a different book each time, and I am always on the lookout for opportunities to get my books in front of eyes, especially collaborative efforts, which I believe work best.

I'm not the best marketer, I could be doing a lot better than I am, but hard work makes up for that, and finding the right people to help you.


message 9: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments To my great surprise, my books sell really well. Even internationally. I even retired this year, eight years early, and now write full time.

The best advice I can give is to keep writing. Your next book is your best marketing.

I have a blog and a website. I am on Twitter and Facebook. But I can't honestly say they are the key.

All I know is that I somehow found an audience.

Keep writing. Write what you like to read. Join a writers group. Attend conferences. And most of all Enjoy it!


message 10: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw | 74 comments I've been writing for about five years now and I typically make a small profit every year, but it's certainly not enough to live on. Most of my sales are in paperbacks so I can't afford to give many copies away. I will periodically run promotions for free or discounted eBook versions, but the jury is still out as to whether it's worth it. I was hoping the free eBooks would lead to more reviews, but that hasn't been the case.


message 11: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Clayton Thanks for posting this. As a newbie indie author this is great info


message 12: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 38 comments Good points. I had notions of making at least a small bit of change off my work, but now know that's a very slim chance. Pizza money is what I hope for now.
But, once you dive in and actually write for the enjoyment, I think your chances of actually doing better work improve. I know the quality of my second work was better than the first, and part of that was due to me focusing on the story.
I have had others tell me that social media is vital for promoting your books. That's tough for me as I'm not a social media kind of guy, plus I'm a bit of a crank. I have run some book promos. Freebooksy (IIRC) worked out well. An ad on my favorite (non-literary) blog turned a small profit, as did one other book promo site whose name escapes me right now.
Finding people to give ARC's to, in exchange for reviews (and I genuinely want honest reviews) does seem to be a challenge.
I will give you this- there is a real delight in checking in to Amazon or Goodreads and finding that someone, somewhere has given you a real nice review. That's a treat.


message 13: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alexander wrote: "ARCs are the Advanced Reader Copies you provide to bloggers / selected readers before publishing your book to get some ratings and reviews in the first couple of days after publishing (You can prov..."

Thank you so much for all this advice. I really appreciate it. I don't suppose you could give me the links to any bloggers you would recommend. I think when I'm ready that's where I might start.


message 14: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alex wrote: "I've made a small but steady profit over the past 2 years by dint of releasing lots of books (I'm up to 8 so far) writing in a series, having book 1 free to generate interest, and marketing consist..."

Hi Alex thank you for joining this discussion. If you don't mind me asking what is this paid advertising site you are using, and how much are you having to pay? I have looked into this myself, and so far I can't tell which ones would be worth trying. Also with releasing multiple books, do you mainly concentrate on the latest book, hoping it will be enough to attract people to the others, or do you return to advertising any of the earlier books at any time?


message 15: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Martin wrote: "To my great surprise, my books sell really well. Even internationally. I even retired this year, eight years early, and now write full time.

The best advice I can give is to keep writing. Your nex..."


Hi Martin thank you for your feedback. You say to keep writing, that your next book is your best marketing. I imagine that is the case, but how do you split your time between marketing and writing? Do you do a little bit of both everyday, or do you write for an allotted amount of days and then stop every so often to check in with some marketing. I'd really be interested to know.


message 16: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Seth wrote: "I don't suppose you could give me the links to any bloggers you would recommend."

If anyone wants to PM Seth with links, they are welcome. Please don't post the links here. Thanks.


message 17: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Christina wrote: "Alexander wrote: "If the only reason you write is to sell books, then you're better off without."

First of all, I agree with this 100% There are much easier ways to make extra cash. Writing a book..."


Thank you for this Christina. This is all very helpful information.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 770 comments Seth wrote: "Hi Alex thank you for joining this discussion. If you don't mind me asking what is this paid advertising site you are using, and how much are you having to pay?"

Hi, I use BargainBooksy every month, which costs me $55. I rotate through all of my titles, to ensure they keep getting attention no matter how long they have been out. Wherever possible, I promote all of my books equally. New books will help to promote older titles, but you need to keep advertising and promoting your older titles as well or they'll get forgotten about.

The 3 best sites I am aware of for paid promotion in order are

Bookbub (top site but expensive, and you may have to submit multiple times before getting accepted because they are selective)

ENT - Ereader News Today (Reasonable prices and a good reach but they require books to be discounted before they will accept them which is why I don't use them often)

BargainBooksy (Reasonable prices, a decent reach, and they accept books priced up to $4.99 without requiring them to be discounted - customer contact and support is also very good)

Freebooksy (this is a sister site to BargainBooksy, run by the same people, and is very good for free titles)


message 19: by Alexander (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments Seth, I wouldn't actually be able to do that for one simple reason. I write MM romance and I look for reviewers only in that genre.
What is the subject you are writing about? If you look the genre up on google and search for reviewers, you'll find entire pages with results. :P


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica O'Toole (jayotee) | 100 comments Alex wrote: "Seth wrote: "Hi Alex thank you for joining this discussion. If you don't mind me asking what is this paid advertising site you are using, and how much are you having to pay?"

Hi, I use BargainBook..."


Hi Alex,

For BargainBooksy, have you ever used (or has anyone else for that matter) the New Release promo? It's not cheap, but I'm wondering if there's been a good conversion rate or not on these promos?


message 21: by Steve (new)

Steve Peek (jstephenpeek) | 4 comments Hi Seth,
I'm not there yet but inching closer. I know some people who are. You can find them on Facebook at 20booksto50k (odd title, I know) There are about 25,000 members, all authors. Many of them post their amazon payments on the page. While you cannot promote your books on the page, you can ask pretty much any question and receive honest answers. They are happy to share and don't charge anything. Try it.
Steve Peek


message 22: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alex wrote: "Seth wrote: "Hi Alex thank you for joining this discussion. If you don't mind me asking what is this paid advertising site you are using, and how much are you having to pay?"

Hi, I use BargainBook..."


Thanks for that Alex. So you advertise with Bargain Booksy for $55 a month. I noticed that you are from the UK. Does your bank not charge you overseas transaction fees for the conversion rate? This is one of the worries that puts me off trying international websites. Also how long after first advertising with Bargain Booksy did you notice an increase in sales, and how significant was it?


message 23: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alexander wrote: "Seth, I wouldn't actually be able to do that for one simple reason. I write MM romance and I look for reviewers only in that genre.
What is the subject you are writing about? If you look the genre ..."


That's no problem Alexander. I'm currently writing a thriller. I have tried googling the genre and have found many bloggers, but the first hand experience of others who have used them is what I'm looking for, so I don't waste my time with the wrong ones. Thank you again.


message 24: by Shanna (new)

Shanna Swenson (shannaswen) | 32 comments Alex wrote: "Seth wrote: "Hi Alex thank you for joining this discussion. If you don't mind me asking what is this paid advertising site you are using, and how much are you having to pay?"

Hi, I use BargainBook..."


Alex, you are AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for the info you have provided for us newbie indies!!!! I just published in September and am learning things to do a bit differently with my next book to be released in January. I've been a little disappointed in my sales but most have come from word of mouth/social media exposure. You have given me some hope as I was looking into possibly doing some paid advertising!!! Thanks again, Shanna :-)


message 25: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Bill wrote: "Good points. I had notions of making at least a small bit of change off my work, but now know that's a very slim chance. Pizza money is what I hope for now.
But, once you dive in and actually write..."


Hi Bill, thanks for joining the discussion. I'm not a social media kind of guy either. I do not have a Facebook or twitter account, or any of the others. I am constantly being told to open them though by other writers. The truth is I have a feeling that it won't work for me like it does for other people. I'm not particularly sociable. One of my main reasons for not wanting to open a Facebook account is that I don't want people from my past to be able to find and contact me. And even if I did start a Facebook account under a pseudonym I really don't like the idea of starting with 0 friends and having to build a friend base up from scratch, doing something that is very unnatural to me. Having said that though, I probably wouldn't have dreamed of starting a discussion like this one, so perhaps I may try the social media thing yet.


message 26: by James (new)

James George | 6 comments Hi Seth

You will probably hear this incessantly, but making money through writing fiction is extraordinarily difficult in this day and age. If you choose to write, do it because you are passionate about your work and you have something to say. Here are some thoughts in no particular order.
1. When you ask yourself, "Am I making money," it's not enough to factor in the costs of editing, advertising, covers and marketing. You have to weigh the opportunity cost as well. In other words, if you spent 500 hours writing a novel, how much money could you have made elsewhere with a part-time job?
2. I don't know these figures exactly, but I believe there are approximately 4.8 million books for sale in the Kindle store, with more than 100,000 new English-language novels published every year. So, yeah, there's a little bit of competition out there. I wish I knew who to attribute this quote to, but some say "Thanks to self-publishing there are now more writers than readers." A bit of hyperbole, but a bit of truth.
3. Upon publishing your book, you will HAVE to spend money for advertising and marketing. It is a learning process and too much for this discussion, but as always, you will have to spend a little money to make money.
4. When you see all the books for sale on Amazon, check out their sales ranking in the Kindle store. Anything approximating "100,000" means they are selling one E-book per day. "50,000" is 5 or 6. You will be surprised by books that sell and books that don't.
5. If you really want to make money, pay heed to genres. There are themes that sell and things that don't. Literary fiction is especially an uphill battle.
6. You are competing with Netflix, Youtube, Play Station, Instagram, and a zillion other electronic entertainment choices. People are reading less and less, especially men. I think the current figure is 80% of fiction is purchased by women these days.
7. You will hear the "five book" rule tossed around. Many authors say that somewhere around their fifth book, something kicked in, and they "got it." They started writing better books, they got better at marketing, they started selling more books, and began making real money.

Anyway, that's a lot of yammering, but I hope some of it was helpful. Write because you love it and you have something to say. And plenty of people do make money doing it, so why not you?


message 27: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments I wish there were a LIKE button for James’ comment. ❤️
Writing for you, your love for writing, and because you have something to say is so very important. Making money for what you love would be awesome, too.

I’ve only published one book. I’ve done great with free downloads, probably over 10,000 copies, but have not made a profit after all the advertising costs. I rarely get kindle or paperback sales now. I think it’s true that once you write more books, you start seeing more sales. I’m working on the sequel to my debut, not just for that reason, but because readers that loved my book have convinced me to. And I love writing, and my story and message behind the to-be series. If I make money off this series, wohoo! If not, then I’m still happy that I’ve drawn a particular fan group that truly get my message and love living in the world I created!

Good luck!


message 28: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
I'm not exactly swimming in my profits, but I am making profits. What I do seems to go against all advice I've heard since I discovered self-publishing.

I don't write in popular genres. I don't write series (not in the sense people often mean it today). I strive to write stuff that few to no one is writing these days. It's taken some time, but I'm finally seeing sales and downloads on a regular basis.

It seems the less marketing I do, the more activity I see. I have no idea why it works that way, but it does.

The only thing I can think is that I spend a great deal of time striving to write the kind of stories that will stick with readers for a long time. I also have a lot of short stories out there and make one or two free now and then. That nearly always gives my sales a little boost.

Again. I'm not getting wealthy from this. I have yet to be able to quit my day job. But, a profit is a profit and it grows, ever so slightly. I'm fine with it. I never expected to make a living at this.


message 29: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "I wish there were a LIKE button for James’ comment. ❤️ "

So you did what writers do. You wrote out "I like James' comment" (more or less) which takes more time than to press a button which means more.


message 30: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments Dwayne, true. I’m just being silly.


message 31: by L.K. (last edited Dec 05, 2018 11:45AM) (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments I made a loss on my first book, partly because I was new to self-publishing and paid for some services I didn't need. I also spent money of some promo sites that didn't really help me much. I've never made money back on that book as I've found it to be hard to promote as it's kind of an unusual mix of genres.

My second novel was a psychological thriller, and I self-published it for very low cost, doing everything myself. Somehow or other I managed to get lucky and it stayed in the top 100 of one of its categories on amazon UK for months, and for about 3 months I made UK full time minimum wage purely on ebook sales and KU reads of that one book. It was a really exciting time, and gave me a boost. It eventually dropped out of the top 100, and I wasn't able to replicate this success with my third book, another psychological thriller.

Nowadays, I spend out money on advertising on amazon.com using their AMS ads, and in the UK (where AMS ads aren't available yet) I use facebook ads, which I've found reasonably effective at selling ebooks and paperbacks. I'm planning on doing some work soon on improving my targeting and adding video adverts on facebook to hopefully improve their performance. The amount I spend on these ads is a bit scary, but when I work it out against my royalties, I am making a profit, largely due to KU reads.

I am now in the process of finishing two sequels to my second book, (which has been my most commercially successful to date), and then running free promotions on the first book in the series. This often seems to be the advice that authors give - having a series and offering the first book for free every now and again - so I was keen to have a series, plus I always felt I had unfinished business with the characters from the first book so I enjoyed spending more time with them.

When you start getting more sales, some other opportunities could start popping up. I signed a contract for the audio rights to one of my books earlier this year, and have been approached by a traditional publisher.

Facebook has been hugely useful to me, as I am involved in a book club where a lot of the readers enjoy my genre.

I am definitely aiming to make a living from writing if I possibly can - I have a lot of health problems that make it hard for me to do a "normal" job, so writing actually feels like one of the only ways I can contribute to my family's income. I think overall this year I may end up not making much profit as I'll have paid for editing and cover design for my new series, and there'll be a bit of a delay before I get that money back. I'm optimistic that it will work out ok once the books are released. Fingers crossed!

By the way, I noticed you asked about banks charging for overseas transactions if you live in the UK. My bank has charged me for purchases in USD, so yes, this is something to take into consideration. You can get credit cards that don't charge for overseas transactions. There may be other ways round it as well.

Hope some of that is helpful! To be honest, marketing sometimes feels like trial and error, and hoping for a bit of luck now and then. But it's a good idea to follow discussions about marketing, do some research of your own, and accept that it might take some time (and unfortunately some money too!)


message 32: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments I just want to add, I found it completely bewildering when I started out with self-publishing. I remember I joined this group not too long after publishing my first book, about four years ago now, and I'd go whole months without sales sometimes. Marketing seemed so overwhelming and I just couldn't imagine how I'd ever make any money from writing. I had times I thought my book was a complete waste of time, or that I wanted to give up writing altogether. I didn't give up, because I love doing it, but I did have a lot of days of self-doubt. It's really helpful to have somewhere like this group to come and hear from other authors as writing can be kind of lonely sometimes, and I've learnt so much. Joining a group like this one is definitely a good first step to learning more about self-publishing and feeling like you're not all on your own!


message 33: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) One thing to keep in mind: the more money you spend, the less you profit. It seems like a no brainier, but I see new authors pouring tons into marketing of a book when it's not yet needed. Your first book has a bit of magic that you can use to your advantage.

The biggest and easiest is of course letting folks know you wrote a book. I'm not suggesting you view friends and family as customers (actually, I'm suggesting the opposite, don't sell to them), but usually when you accomplish something big like publishing a book, folks will be happy for you. They might spread the word and they might even buy a copy even if that have no intention of reading because well, friends are nice people sometimes. This could help give you a boost.

There are also sites that promote new release books that don't charge anything. Some of these have a huge KU user following, so that too is an instant boost.

My advice (with the caveat that your milage may vary) would be to spend nothing in your first year of publishing. Once you've discovered how much you've made, use that amount to set your advertising budget for the next year. And of course, keep writing. Like Martin said above, your next book is your best advertising.


message 34: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments James wrote: "Hi Seth

You will probably hear this incessantly, but making money through writing fiction is extraordinarily difficult in this day and age. If you choose to write, do it because you are passionate..."


Dwayne wrote: "I'm not exactly swimming in my profits, but I am making profits. What I do seems to go against all advice I've heard since I discovered self-publishing.

I don't write in popular genres. I don't w..."


L.K. wrote: "I just want to add, I found it completely bewildering when I started out with self-publishing. I remember I joined this group not too long after publishing my first book, about four years ago now, ..."

Christina wrote: "One thing to keep in mind: the more money you spend, the less you profit. It seems like a no brainier, but I see new authors pouring tons into marketing of a book when it's not yet needed. Your fir..."

Thank you everyone for your feedback so far. This is really great stuff. I feel like I'm already off to a good start, knowing all this.


message 35: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments L.K. wrote: "I just want to add, I found it completely bewildering when I started out with self-publishing. I remember I joined this group not too long after publishing my first book, about four years ago now, ..."

Hi L.K, thank you for your feedback so far. I was just wondering how you got on with using Good Reads forums for advertising. I would probably consider starting there since it won't cost me anything? I was wondering if when it came to it, I would be able to cut and paste the same ads into several different forums. I've noticed that some forums seem to dislike this approach, and prefer you to take the time to get to know everyone there before you consider posting any ads. What has your experience been?


message 36: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 770 comments @Jessica, no, I haven't used the New Release feature, the price has put me off because the odds of making back the cost has put me off.

@Seth, I pay using Paypal so no transaction fees to worry about.

I rarely make an instant profit with a promotion, but I don't intend to, I am looking for exposure with each bit of promotion and I keep track of my monthly costs versus my monthly income.
My intent is to make a profit overall, not to simply make a profit with each bit of expenditure, so while I don't make back the cost of an ad on the day or even within a few days, I only worry about whether my income at the end of a month exceeds my expenditure.

As for how long it took for me to start seeing a profit, it probably wasn't until I got my 2nd or 3rd book out that I started to make some headway, that was when I made book 1 in my series permafree and that began to draw more readers to my books. I've lost money on book 1 because it is free, but I have made a profit on the series overall because people who have read it for free have gone on to buy the others.

I hope this explains my strategy and how I have gone about making a profit.


message 37: by L.K. (last edited Dec 05, 2018 08:51AM) (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments @Seth I'm not sure I have ever used Goodreads forums for advertising my books, or if I have, it would have been a long time ago and I can't remember now. Generally I have found groups where you can post self-promotional stuff haven't really been effective as it often feels like there are no actual readers as such, just authors posting their books to only be seen by other authors. I appreciate that authors are often also readers, but I have always found that trying to find groups that allow self-promotion to be a drain on time and energy without much to show for it. It's good to focus on fewer groups and try to build up relationships with authors and readers.

Others may well have different experiences to mine though :)


message 38: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Alex wrote: "@Jessica, no, I haven't used the New Release feature, the price has put me off because the odds of making back the cost has put me off.

@Seth, I pay using Paypal so no transaction fees to worry ab..."


Yes, thank you Alex, you have explained it all very well. I'm sure this information will be of great use to me.


message 39: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments James wrote: "Hi Seth

You will probably hear this incessantly, but making money through writing fiction is extraordinarily difficult in this day and age. If you choose to write, do it because you are passionate..."


Alexander wrote: "Seth, I wouldn't actually be able to do that for one simple reason. I write MM romance and I look for reviewers only in that genre.
What is the subject you are writing about? If you look the genre ..."


Dwayne wrote: "I'm not exactly swimming in my profits, but I am making profits. What I do seems to go against all advice I've heard since I discovered self-publishing.

I don't write in popular genres. I don't w..."


L.K. wrote: "I just want to add, I found it completely bewildering when I started out with self-publishing. I remember I joined this group not too long after publishing my first book, about four years ago now, ..."

Christina wrote: "One thing to keep in mind: the more money you spend, the less you profit. It seems like a no brainier, but I see new authors pouring tons into marketing of a book when it's not yet needed. Your fir..."

Alex wrote: "@Jessica, no, I haven't used the New Release feature, the price has put me off because the odds of making back the cost has put me off.

@Seth, I pay using Paypal so no transaction fees to worry ab..."


One thing that has me very curious is how does everyone get on with sales at Christmas? I imagine there aren't as many people buying e books as there are physical copies, since you can hardly give them as a gift. And what kind of promotions could you do if your book was already free?


message 40: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Seth wrote: "One thing that has me very curious is how does everyone get on with sales at Christmas? I imagine there aren't as many people buying e books as there are physical copies, since you can hardly give them as a gift. And what kind of promotions could you do if your book was already free?"

There's a promotion info folder with tons of useful information about promotion, including a thread where folks have shared their stats.


message 41: by Steve (new)

Steve Peek (jstephenpeek) | 4 comments Dwayne wrote: "I'm not exactly swimming in my profits, but I am making profits. What I do seems to go against all advice I've heard since I discovered self-publishing.

I don't write in popular genres. I don't w..."


Hi Dwayne, I suspect you will eventually become the most successful author in this string. What author name do you use on Amazon. I'm going to buy one of your books. Steve Peek


message 42: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
I would tell you, Steve, but that would be self-promotion and I'd have to remove my own comment. *chuckle*


message 43: by Steve (new)

Steve Peek (jstephenpeek) | 4 comments Dwayne wrote: "I would tell you, Steve, but that would be self-promotion and I'd have to remove my own comment. *chuckle*"

Hmmm, Silly rule. I asked your author name in order to find one of your books. Seems overly strict to me. Of course, I'm old enough most rules that have nothing with holding civilization's fabric together seem pointless.
I was interested in reading one of your books because of some of the things you said about breaking the rules of self-publishing. I spent forty years working in the toy and game industry. The one thing I learned was that the really big, blockbuster ideas never came from the big toy companies. They ALWAYS came from individuals who ignored what they had to do to succeed.
Anyway, thought I'd try to find one of your books.


message 44: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Steve wrote: "Hmmm, Silly rule. I asked your author name in order to find one of your books. Seems overly strict to me."

Without it, this place would be nothing but authors spamming the hell out of us without contributing anything worthwhile to the conversation (which is why the rules was implemented in the first place), however, you can very easily find Dwayne's books by clicking in his name.


message 45: by D. (new)

D. Thrush | 180 comments Click on someone's name to take you to their Goodreads Author page and you can see their books.


message 46: by Tony (new)

Tony Blenman | 90 comments I think writing one's first book is like being in first year graduate studies. It is the beginning of a great learning curve that gets you ready for what you want to do after obtaining that second degree.
Writing the first book, in my opinion, should be done because a person has a story and wants to share it whether it garnishes profit or not. With experience and improved storytelling, profit will no doubt follow, while the next step of writing as a full time job is another issue. I have a friend who is a full-time writer, recently made a significant profit, but to do so traveled a fair amount in promoting the book.
In addition, local book stores, libraries, local media could all be avenues for self-promotion of a book - start small and branch out.
Hope this is helpful.


message 47: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Dec 05, 2018 05:22PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "Hmmm, Silly rule."

Since the focus on the group is for us to help one another with advice and whatnot, and not to be trying to sell our books to each other, the rule is necessary.

I figured you were joking anyway, since it's not that hard to track down someone's books from here. I've done it many times. And just in case you weren't joking, I sent you a PM with my name shortly after I responded to your post.

Anyway. My way of thinking is similar to your example of the toy industry. Most of my favorite authors did not get where they got by doing what everyone else is doing.


message 48: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 335 comments I have also done what Dwayne did - I write what is not really like anything out there - the idea being to at least offer a choice. Not sure whether it is a good idea, but I don't seem to be able to write differently anyway. I too seem to be making a bit from my literary efforts, but not exactly enough to get fat and call myself prosperous.

On the question of promotion and advertising, I have followed the concept of trying to find places that work for me. That means checking up the sites you are going to use - most of them simply don't work, but when you find one that does lead to sales, use it. I am afraid it is trial and error, and you will probably lose out to begin with, but one clue is to check the sites you are thinking of, and if they spend most of their space on genres alien to your writing, it will be a waste of time and money using them.


message 49: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 25 comments Christina wrote: "One thing to keep in mind: the more money you spend, the less you profit. It seems like a no brainier, but I see new authors pouring tons into marketing of a book when it's not yet needed. Your fir..."

Hi Christina I was just looking over messages from yesterday to compile everything useful to form a plan of action, and I saw what you said about paying nothing in the first year. This would be my plan, but looking around I can't seem to find much that you can do for free. All I know of so far is using the Good Reads forums to post ads. Could you please point me in the direction of these sites that promote new release books for free that you mentioned. Thank you.


message 50: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Seth. I'm at work at the moment, but I can send you a DM later. In the meantime, the promo folder has a list of free sites that admittedly, hasn't been updated recently, but it should be a good start.


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