Confessions of an Indie Author – What My Royalties Really Look Like

 

For the last 30 days, I’ve made $0 and sold 0 books. And chances are I’ll be making, and selling, about the same amount next month.

If you’ve ever decided you wanted to write and publish, it has never been easier, or harder, to be an indie author. The last time I checked, Amazon reported they were publishing approximately 4,000 books per day. Let that sink in. It takes me months to write, edit, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, format, & finally publish a book. And on any given day it will pop onto the market with roughly another 3,999 books who are all elbowing each other in a mad race to be discovered.

I miss the “good ‘ole days” when I could chat about my books on social media and make a decent living. Well, maybe not decent, but I could buy groceries for the month, put gas in my car, and have enough left over to fund my next project. These days, I’m spending hundreds of hours working and way too much money to get my book into production – all so I can be in the red by several hundred dollars each time I click “publish” on Amazon.

“But, Nikki, there are so many books on marketing, so many promotional and PR companies, so many marketing gurus and other authors who are making sales. Surely you haven’t tried everything there is to do to get your books out there.”

Yeah, about that. First, with 4K books hitting the virtual shelves each day, trying to get your one book (or even you as an author) discovered is like trying to get a drop of water to stand out in the ocean. It’s practically impossible. And trust me, for every one author who is succeeding at this game, there are several hundred thousand of us who are failing miserably. Like – epic fail.

Since there are now so many “writers” out there, there has been a boom in the “basement-built” companies popping up to feed off of said writers – promotional companies, marketing companies, editors, formatters, publishing houses, etc. – and most of them do not have any more of a clue about how to be successful in the publishing industry than the authors whose money they are happy to snap up in exchange for zero results and zero sales. Honestly, most of them consider “marketing” to be nothing more than posting to FB groups, creating a FB fan page, group, and twitter account, and promoting on those platforms.
As if it were that damn easy. That’s something every single author on the face of the planet is already doing, I’ve yet to figure out why authors seem to think paying someone to do the same thing to thousands of fake “followers” is going to help any more than posting to their own accounts. And if readers think the endless sea of shit-tacular books on Amazon is hard to maneuver through, you should see the ever-growing list of wannabe business owners who promise to do everything from post in FB groups to tweet your books multiple times a day – all for a price, of course. Hey, a girl has to eat I guess.

And let’s not even get on the subject of the piss-poor writers who are blowing through their savings accounts buying up their own books, buying up fake reviews by the hundreds, and paying click farms to buy and/or borrow their book and grab that elusive Amazon high rank for a whole hour – all so they can pretend they are a bestselling author and slap that lie on a book cover. Someone who is going to boast about selling 7 million copies of a book should have two things to show for it: their name on the USA or NYT Bestsellers list, and a trad publishing deal.

So here I sit, re-branding my books for what has to be the sixth time each, redoing book covers and blurbs, wasting money I don’t have on AMS ads, and writing book 5 in the Before the Sun Rises Series while plotting books 6 – 10.

Well, I can say one thing for certain. When the editors at Random House told a 15-year-old me that I shouldn’t “quit my day”, like ever, I’m glad that was one piece of advice I actually took to heart.

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