Notes On Money And Self-Publishing

Some of you have suggested that you’d love to hear how book sales are going and also just about the self-publishing experience as a whole. I am flattered that you would consider my opinion on this subject valuable, and as such, will gladly indulge you to the point where you wish you had never asked.

To begin, I need to freely confess that I don’t have a clue about how to make money. I don’t. I never have. I loved my high school and college jobs–I probably would’ve worked them for free. After college I was shocked when I discovered how much I was paid to be a hero. And as for the rest of my jobs since then, I have quit them for one of two reasons. Either I felt guilty for being paid too much money or I quit because you couldn’t pay me enough money to do the job. Reiterating then, I don’t have a clue about how to make money. I don’t. I never have.

On top of this, I happen to believe that if I know anything valuable–anything of real value–I shouldn’t charge you for it. Now, I’m not going to get all Christian-ee on you, so settle down. But case in point is the Gospel. Let’s say for a moment that the story is true. Let’s say that you and I are wretched sinners without a hope, save one unbelievable notion. And let’s say that that notion is that recognizing the state of things taken together with following Jesus is the only way to balance the books, but balance the books it does. If that were the case, and I knew it to be true, I would never charge you for that information. No way.

Just the same, H- and I need money for life’s necessities, no different than you and yours. So I wrote Simon Pastor with the hope of paying for these necessities. Next up, I’ll tell you how to write a book like Simon Pastor, then I’ll share how it’s selling. Feel free to skip to the end.

Step 1 – TYPE book in MS Word

Step 2 – SAVE file every time you think of it. 😉

Step 3 – SAVE AS a PDF/A when it’s final. (Only if you care about a paperback version. If you don’t, skip to step 8)

Step 4 – CREATE createspace.com account

Step 5 – UPLOAD PDF/A file

Step 6 – FOLLOW createspace.com steps to proof book and create cover etc.

Step 7 – DOWNLOAD Kindle cover file when prompted

Step 8 – SAVE AS final MS Word file again–this time with the name Kindle added on. (You need a file to mess around with and don’t want to screw up your paperback version, that’s why I do this step.)

Step 9 – CREATE kdp.amazon.com account.

Step 10 – FOLLOW kdp.amazon.com steps to modify MS Word Kindle version as required

Step 11 – SAVE AS Web Page, Filtered

Step 12 – UPLOAD that and Kindle Cover from Step 7 to kdp.amazon.com account (plenty of instructions on their site)

Step 13 – FOLLOW the simple sequence of pricing/distributing

Step 14 – SHARE the news that Amazon is selling your book with every human being you come into contact with

Okay. Truly, it is simple. It is also free. If you don’t care to feel a paperback copy in your hands before you list it on Amazon, you never have to pay a cent–not one penny–to publish your book in either paperback or Kindle versions.

So how are sales? Since last weekend, the 4th, I have sold a grand total of twenty copies. Another one hundred eighteen kindle versions were downloaded (via the free Kindle promotion last Friday). One thing I forgot while setting the price for the eBook is that I have no idea how to make money. Amazon recommended setting the price at $3.99 when using the 70% royalty model. Up until that moment, I had been planning on selling it as cheap as possible in order to encourage heavy readership. But greed took over along with thoughts of glory and roller coasters in my backyard etc. It is a good book. I’m sure of that. But I’m also sure that while $3.99 is a cup of coffee, it doesn’t take hours to drink a cup of coffee. And it will take at least an hour to read my book. Your tv watching habits prove you are willing to waste time for free, but paying to waste time? That would be something. I see now that four bucks is a bit much to invest in possibly wasting an hour with an unknown author. So after a week I’m changing it up. I’m going back to my original plan and it is now for sale for the lowest price Amazon will let me sell it for, which is 99 cents.

I’ll update you guys next week with just a simple number update regarding how sales are doing.

Overall, the lesson learned is write what you must write. My happiness is enhanced because of writing this book. If money is deposited into my bank account, that’s great. But I will never regret writing the book. If you’re a timid soul, this post should warn you off from challenging yourself to finally write the great american novel. But we both know there are no timid writers. Good luck.

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42 comments

  1. quiltjunkie

    Wow. Talk about serendipity! You stumbled on my blog which led me to yours which led me to lose a couple of hours this morning reading your posts … Oh. This is about THIS post and the serendipity it represents. BetterHalf is finishing up a “how-to” book and the information you provide here will be incredibly helpful to him. Thank you. Thank you SO MUCH! And now I must leave you to go buy Simon Pastor.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pete Deakon

      “Wow” back at ya. Thank you. One of the things I like about blogging/bloggers is that while you’re blog intends to be focused on quilting (or at least the community of quilters), it was a post on parenting values that caught my attention. Thank you for sharing that. And you’re welcome. Though, now we are competitors…:) Feel free to come back and link BetterHalf’s book here once it’s on sale. 🙂

      Pete

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Best fiction and writing blogs | M.C. Tuggle, Writer
  3. renofailure

    Thank you so much for this post. Not only am I considering writing a book eventually, but had no idea how to go about it, but I didn’t know I could afford your book when I get my next check. Awesome!

    Like

    • Pete Deakon

      Hey Jim,

      You’re welcome. Glad to discover that I’m not the only man with this problem. (The ol’ parental units often paint that picture. 🙂 ) And thank for giving Simon a chance. I can’t know if it’ll be your style, but I’ll be surprised if you think I wasted your time.

      Pete

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tripleclicka

    Wow! I must say, I received my copy of “Simon Pastor” yesterday, which was a day earlier than Amazon had promised. A pleasant surprise for me! I sat down thinking I would read just the first couple of chapters over, since I had already read them here on your blog. Needless to say, I did not stop reading until I had finished the book. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t. Now here I am, reading this post of yours and wow, yes, if I had waited a week I would have gotten it for .99 cents? Do I at least get a coupon for your next book out of this deal??? Snivel… fine, that is ok, I understand. As long as you do intend to write another… I hope so…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Madame,

      You get the next one for free. (Keep in mind only the Kindle version is 99 cents. Purists like us are still out 6.99, but then, we have a tangible, fantastic looking book in our hands. 🙂 ) And, I’m not sure how to express the most gratitude for reading the book and encouraging another. Can you think of anything? For now, thank you. It means the world to me.

      Pete

      Liked by 1 person

  5. tripleclicka

    Tis true that nothing will ever replace the feel of an actual book with actual pages in my hands. If you really mean that, there is something I would like to ask. Was thinking of asking you, but thought it might seem wrong, Now that you offer, if I send you a couple of links, would you do me the honor of reading a couple of things? They are not to long, and they do go together, so choosing one would not be easy for me. I could send the links to your provided email. I value your opinion as a writer and you seem to get what I am trying to accomplish with what I write.

    Like

  6. bookshelfbattle

    I appreciate you sharing info on your sales. Most authors don’t and it is difficult to figure out what kind of sales figures are considered successful in self publishing. Good luck and may you sell enough to get that back yard roller coaster!

    Like

  7. Amy

    How do I bookmark this post? I also can’t make money. And I am writing a book that I hope my children will read and their children some day, but hadn’t worried about getting a wider audience (see above: I can’t make money), but this is very intriguing. But first I have to finish writing the book. Hence, how do I save the post?

    Like

  8. Dermott Hayes

    Having gone through this self publishing process twice, Pete, I know exactly where you’re coming from. It’s an uphill struggle that few would undertake unless they’re insane or dedicated and a little bit of both can be a help. For a laugh and, I suppose, the exposure it affords, I sent a copy of my novel to Glenn Hates Books and he had a laugh. I was disappointed though by his narrow minded xenophobia. He called me a Brit and I pointed out I am Irish, among other things, he replied, lmao. I know you’re irish, man. It’s pretty bloody obvious. But to me, a dumb-ass American, all of Europe are ‘Brits’. Doesn’t matter if you’re from ireland, scotland, france, whatever, you’re a fucking Brit to me. 😛 Charming. Keep it up, man, I enjoy your blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. araneus1

    Two thoughts…………… people don’t value things that they don’t have to pay [much] for, and publishing through Smashwords as well as Kindle gives you a much wider audience [iBooks are catching Kindle very fast…. I sell heaps more books on iBooks… just saying]
    Terry

    Like

  10. thesarahdoughty

    Thank you for this. I’m still a little early in the game, and my plan is to start with attempts to get an agent, then a publishing house, then self pub if all else fails.

    I’m not in it for the money, though it would be nice so I can do this forever. But my goal is to try and get my books out to add many people as possible and self publishing seems like it might be more effort (marketing and such) that would fall in the author’s shoulders to complete, where this would be lessened with a publisher.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. thewriteedge

    Thanks for sharing. It’s good to know that other writers are in the same situation as me. My book comes out in February, and I have a grand total of four pre-sales. I don’t know how to feel about that, but I’m plugging away at trying to get reviewers.

    Wishing you well with your publication pursuits!

    Like

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