300 million self-published books are sold each year and generate $1.25 billion in sales.
Why it matters
With the old-school and traditional book market growing at only 1% a year and the self-publishing market hitting a robust 17%, the option to self-publish books is more attractive than ever. The other metric to keep in mind is that a self-published author gets to keep 60-70% of all sales.
But…if you get a book deal with a publishing house the numbers are a lot more subdued (and likely bent over a table with handcuffs and a less attractive metric of 10-12% return to you). Publishing houses often want to own your publishing rights too. Good luck with that if you want to escape the clutches of their lawyers.
So…that is why self-publishing has become a popular way for aspiring authors to make money as an online side hustle. With the rise of online platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), it’s now easier than ever to publish your own writing and earn some extra cash on the side.
How to make money from self-publishing your books
Here is a closer look at the process of self-publishing, including how to format your book, how to get it published, and how to market it to potential readers.
Step 1: Write your book
The first step to making money as a self-published author is to write your book. This may sound obvious, but it’s a crucial first step that can’t be skipped. Take the time to plan out your book’s structure, characters, and plot. Do research on your chosen genre and target audience to make sure your book is both unique and appealing.
Step 2: Format your book
Once you’ve finished writing your book, it’s time to format it for publication. This includes adding chapter headings, page numbers, and other formatting elements that are essential for a professional-looking book. There are various tools and software programs available that can help with this process, such as Microsoft Word or Scrivener.
Step 3: Choose your platform
The next step is to choose the platform you want to use to self-publish your book. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is one of the most popular platforms, as it allows you to publish your book in both e-book and print-on-demand formats. You can also use other platforms like Kobo Writing Life or Smashwords to reach a wider audience.
Step 4: Publish your book
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to publish your book. This involves uploading your formatted book to the platform, setting a price, and choosing the countries in which you want to sell your book. You’ll also need to provide a book description and cover image.
Step 5: Market your book
Just publishing your book isn’t enough. You need to actively market it to potential readers. Start by reaching out to your friends, family, and social media followers to let them know about your book. You can also use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach a wider audience. Consider joining online book communities and forums to connect with other authors and readers.
Step 6: Keep writing
Self-publishing is a long-term process, and the key to success is to keep writing and publishing new books. The more books you have available for readers, the more opportunities you have to reach new readers and make money as a self-published author.
Self-publishing your writing can be a lucrative online side hustle if you’re willing to put in the time and effort required.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to publishing a book and earning money as a self-published author. Remember, it’s not just about the money – it’s about sharing your stories and your voice with the world. So, get started on your writing journey today!
Self-publishing success stories
There have been many success stories in this field. Here are a few to inspire you:
E.L. James: James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy started as a series of fan fiction stories posted online, and after the books became a hit she self-published the series as e-books. The books eventually caught the attention of a traditional publisher and were released in print, selling millions of copies and launching a franchise that includes movies, merchandise, and more.
Amanda Hocking: Hocking self-published her young adult paranormal romance novels on Amazon and went on to sell over a million copies. She signed a four-book deal with St. Martin’s Press for a reported two million dollars and has since published more books with traditional publishers.
John Locke: Locke was the first self-published author to sell over one million e-books on Amazon Kindle. He is known for his “Donovan Creed” series of thrillers and has published multiple books that have become bestsellers.
Mark Dawson: Dawson is a successful thriller writer who self-publishes his books and has built a large following through his use of Facebook advertising. He has sold over 500,000 copies of his books and teaches other authors how to market their books and build their author platforms.
These are just a few examples of the many success stories in the self-publishing industry. While self-publishing isn’t a guaranteed path to success, it can provide a way for aspiring authors to reach their goals and achieve their dreams of becoming published writers.
The actual revenue that each self-published author earns is often very private but we are talking millions and often tens of millions for the top authors.
Writing your own story and marketing it yourself is not a guaranteed path to self-publishing success. But there is a certain freedom to a creative process that you own and control.