Don't pay for other providers' expensive publishing services until you have tried to Do It Yourself!

A Self-Publishing Sales Success: The Chrome Book (Second Edition)

I'm not sure that self-publishing is the right term any more, since in fact I'm effectively running a publishing company... and you could be too. The playing field is so level these days that it is just as easy for us (that's you and me) to publish our creations on Amazon as it is for the big boys to do so.

First-time authors and publishers think that publishing a book is a sure route to financial freedom; just look at J K Rowling for inspiration. And most first-time authors, especially self-published ones, are soon disappointed to find that their creations sell no more than a few tens of copies (if that) in the first year of publication. Yes, that's the reality of it.

And yet, if you hit upon the right non-fiction topic or fiction genre at the right time, it is possible to eke out a living or at least enough spare cash to justify your time spent writing. Here is the proof, but don't get too excited as we're not talking Harry Potter here.

Our latest publication is The Chrome Book (Second Edition), which I consider to be a "good" seller. Between 1 and 28 December 2012 it sold 188 copies in paperback via Amazon / CreateSpace:

The Kindle edition sold 71 copies in the USA and 21 copies in the UK:

Allowing for the fact that these figures do not quite cover a complete month, and that there are some other Kindle sales from other territories, we can estimate that it's selling roughly 300 in 30 days... or 10 copies per day.

It's no New York Times Best Seller, for sure, but in self-publishing circles it's no slouch either. The on-target sales of 3600 in a year could bring in £9000 ($14,400) at a realistic and slightly conservative average "royalty" rate of £2.50 per copy.

Suppose it only took two months to write this particular "how to" book. Pro rata, it would equate to a salary of £4,500 ($7200) per month. Put another way: if this feat could be repeated with a new title every two months, a self-published author could achieve an annual income of £9000 * 6 = £54,000 ($86,000)... and rising as new titles are published and existing titles continue to sell.

Now time for a reality check. Although this article demonstrates that it is practically possible to have an individual good seller, and theoretically possible to earn a decent living from self-publishing, the sad fact is that...

..many (if not most) self-published books sell only a handful of copies before sinking into obscurity. Make sure yours isn't one of them... by appraising whether or not you can really make yours the first, the best, or the cheapest (ideally all three) of its kind.

Good luck with your publishing endeavours in in 2013!