We need to talk about money. Author earnings specifically because author earnings are surrounded by myth and lie. The truth is, you don’t have to be a poor artist. You just need multiple streams of income.
I’m sure half of you are shuddering at the prospect of talking about money – especially any fellow stiff upper lipped Brits, talking about money is so crass after all. But let me sweep you into my arms and tell you a thing or two.
Everyday thousands of writers come to Google full of the ‘ER-MA-GAD IM GUNA WRITE A BOOKitis’ clutching their shiny dreams of full-time writing and then they search for advice on google…
The result is usually overwhelm from the menagerie of craft and marketing advice, sales bombed by the latest course or stricken with horror at the latest wildly inaccurate author earnings report, like this one from the UK parliament’s All Party Writers Group (APWG) from summer 2019. It claims us writers are impoverished. I call bullshit.
How can a writer write full-time if they only earn 10,000 a year…?
The problem with reports like that is it entirely failed to take into account the way Indies earn money today. And you might find this response from the Alliance of Independent Authors interesting, they rightly so, slate the report.
The Mindset of Author Business
I’m a magpie, I love me a shiny thing, so trust me when I say I see you out there clutching your sparkly dreams in sweaty, nervous hands. But the majority of authors aren’t thinking straight. They think their full-time salary should come from royalties. And sure, there are some flying pigs and white unicorned writers out there for whom that is the case. But it’s rare as rainbow shit and frankly a little naive.
*screams MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME*
If you read my recent article about the journey I took to quitting my job, you’ll know it was a shit-show for a long time. I was under threat of redundancy for a while and that was enough to make me realise the danger of having all my financial eggs in one basket. One paycheque from one boss. Take that cheque away and I was pickled harder than 100 year old gherkins.
But that’s what so many new authors think when they come to their writing career. ‘Royalties’ will be their new paycheque.
Someone I highly respect said this to me a few months ago…
‘Don’t be romantic about where your money comes from’
Even as I type that sentence now, my tiny little brain shatters all over again. That one statement blew my mind. Because let’s be honest here. If I get to spend a solid part of my day bleeding words and vomiting sentences, do I really give a fuck where my money comes from? No, no I do not.
Why do you have to earn your money only from book sales?
Let’s break this down.
Types of Income
There’s only two types of sale.
You can sell a product or you can sell your time.
Selling your time is what you do when you’re employed. You sell roughly 160 hours a month for whatever your salary is. You get that money once, you give your time away forever. I call this active income because you have to do something actively to earn the money.
Passive income is where your head should be focused as a creative. Passive income comes from sources where you don’t have to do anything. Now, don’t get me wrong, the first time you write a book, it’s gonna take you some time. But once it’s done and the ink is dry on The End, you’re winning. You have a product you can sell time and time again. Get some good ads going and you’re quite literally earning money in your sleep.
But books don’t have to be the only passive income you earn.
There’s a fantastic post here: Ten Business Models for Authors all about the different kinds of business models for creatives and writers. I implore you to read it and work out where you want to earn your money.
So How Else Can an Indie Author Earn Money?
Once you’ve read that post, I hope you realise there really are a million ways of earning money as an author.
To give you a few ideas to get started, here are some active sources:
- Speaking live and in person
- Coaching and consulting
- Freelance writing
- Writing competitions
- Licensing rights (international, audio, merchandise, TV and film)
And here are a few passive sources:
- Affiliate sales
- Book sales – paperbacks, ebooks, audiobooks, hardback, workbooks (all easy to do as an indie author)
- Short stories / anthologies
- co-authored works
I’ve got more info on earning affiliate income and knowing when you’re ready to work for yourself full-time on Patreon, which you can find here.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is, don’t be romantic about book sales. If you need to earn money from another source, so be it. Why does it matter if you get to write for a large chunk of your day?We need to talk about #money. #Author earnings specifically because author earnings are surrounded by myth and lie. #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #amwriting #writingcommunity #writetip Click To Tweet
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