Home > Amazon and Kindle, Ebooks, Getting Published, Royalties, Self Publishing or POD > Can Indie Authors Afford to Quit Their Day Jobs?

Can Indie Authors Afford to Quit Their Day Jobs?

One of the questions I was asked in a recent interview –  Can a newbie writer hope to make decent money out of self-publishing?

I was startled to see this question because it seems very obvious to me (and to a lot of other Indies, I’m sure) that self-publishing is where the money is. Where else can you expect to get royalties of 65-70%?

In traditional publishing the superstars – the Stephen Kings and the Nora Roberts –  are the ones making serious money. Everyone else is obliged to hang on to their day jobs.

This is quite different from self-publishing where even mid-list authors – people you might never hear about – are quitting their day jobs because they are able to pay the bills. The reason you might never hear of them is that  they need to sell a mere 75 ebooks each day at $2.99 in order to make a living.  The amount people seem to agree is a  living wage? $50,000.

But I guess all of this may not be very obvious to a lot of people, so I thought I’d point you to a couple excellent blog posts. You can decide for yourself.

The Passive Guy: Indie Authors Are Quitting Their Day Jobs.

The second post is by the amazing Hugh Howey: Newbie Author Declines $120,000 3-book Deal

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  1. July 3, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Hi Rasana,

    Very relevant post for authors. How is the situation in India, do you think? Are independent authors from India able to quit their full time jobs and be reasonably secure in their income from self-published books? As a traditionally published author, I am forever intrigued by this question, and I wonder from time to time if I should try self-publishing a title or two to see what happens.

    75 ebooks a day is about 2000 copies a month, and 24000 copies a year, which I think is a large amount. In traditional publishing – in India at least – an ANNUAL sales figure of 2000-3000 copies is considered good, and if you sell 24000 copies a year you’re most definitely a bestseller.

    So I am curious to know about your thoughts on the matter. Is 75 sales a day easier to achieve as an independent author? After the initial cost of book cover design and editing is covered, and after the investment of time and money required for marketing and promotion, is the break even point reachable?

    I am asking these questions as a traditional author interested in the whole self-publishing journey. If you’d like to do a guest post on my blog and speak to my readers about it, please let me know.

  2. rasanaatreya
    July 3, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Hi Sharath,

    I think you’re comparing apples to oranges when you compare ebook sales with print sales (from traditional publishers in India).

    Online you can either sell 75 copies a day from one ebook, or 35-40 copies from two, 15 copies from three ebooks… You see where I’m going with this? The more you write, the more money you can expect to make. This is, of course, if your stories resonate with readers.

    Genre fiction (romance, mystery, thrillers, sci-fi) is where the money is. If you write, like I do, fiction set in rural Andhra Pradesh – that automatically limits your readership. Having said that, my book is doing pretty well. I make a very comfortable living off a single book, and I have two more in the works – both these are also set somewhere in (the former) AP. This past month the Glam magazine (UK) called Tell A Thousand Lies one of their ‘five favorite tales from India,’ btw. http://uk.glam.com/slideshow/five-favourite-tales-from-india.

    I paid for a cover designer and an editor – a one time payment (never do royalty splits). I’ve made that money back and more. Each month the money I make is *more* than the advance the traditional publisher offered me (I declined that contract).

    Hope this helps. If you’d still like a blog post, you can email me at Rasana@RasanaAtreya.com

    Rasana

    • July 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Very encouraging, Rasana. As it turns out, I’ve written a couple of books set in (the former) rural Andhra Pradesh myself. I think I will take your advice and publish a couple of my unpublished books straight away.

      Will contact you for a blog post. Thanks 🙂

  3. Peter Stenstein
    July 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    For the reader,

    I invite you to read a short e-book with short stories. If you like it, would you please share the link on your personal pages and write a review?

    Title: Short Stories Written in Time of Writing Long Stories

    Author: Peter Stenstein

    Available: only on Amazon

    Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Short-Stories-Written-Time-Writing-ebook/dp/B00LCPFXQ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404907591&sr=1-1&keywords=peter+stenstein

    Here you have two short stories:

    1. The Nobleman and the Horse

    Once there was a very rich Nobleman. And that’s because of the Horse. In a Sunday the Nobleman went in the Horse barn and said: “Dear Horse, do you remember when I found you on the roadside?”
    The Horse: “Of course I remember. I was hit by a car and abandoned on the roadside.”
    The Nobleman: “Right. And I found you. I brought you into my house and I took care of you. Once you’ve done well, you started to work on my farm. Because of your strength, I have what to eat. Because of my land, you also have what to eat. We helped each other and each of us has contributed to the welfare of the other.”
    The Horse: “You are right. And I will serve you until I die. And so do you.”
    The Nobleman: “Dear Horse, you know that I didn’t have the money to make a new barn where you stay now?”
    The Horse: “Of course I know. And I know that for the construction of this barn, I didn’t contributed with anything. It was made with the money of your brother.”
    The Nobleman: “I’m glad that you know. Two days ago my brother sent me a message that says that he need someone to bring the princess that will marry with his Son.”
    The Horse: “And?”
    The Nobleman: “And since you haven’t participated in the construction of the barn, you will go. Nothing I can do. If you want to stay in this barn, you’ll have to obey the wishes of my brother. You must put your bones to work. You must buy your home, so you can stay freely and without obligations to anyone.”
    The Horse: “I need time to think well.” After one second said: “I will go!”
    The Nobleman put the saddle on his back, gives the Horse a foot in the ass and said: “Go! GO! And return with the princess!”

    The Horse entered into the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The Horse was in the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The horse came out of the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The Horse arrived at the King’s palace and took the princess with him.

    The Horse entered into the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The Horse was in the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The horse came out of the woods. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace. The Horse galloped at an astonishing pace.

    The Horse arrived at the Nobleman’s house having the princess with him.

    After three days the Son and the Princess got married.

    The Horse served the Nobleman and lived in the barn until he died.

    32. The Strange Stories with the Multicolor Pony

    A.

    On this planet there is a little girl with pink hair. She lives in a big house with many servants and her parents are rich people. The girl name is the Feisty Beatrice. Well, like every morning she woke up cranky. She wanted that in every morning, not at night, someone to read a story with her favorite character The Multicolor Pony. Since there was no family member at home, only the servants, the Feisty Beatrice asks Bobby, the young gardener, to tell a story that would make her happy. But Bobby refuses. He doesn’t like stories, especially kids stories. Beatrice insist: “If you don’t want to tell me a story, I will say to my father that you cut flowers and sell it to the neighbors.” Bobby’s face turns black and accepts the proposal of the pink girl. He take Beatrice in his arms and both goes in the library.
    The Feisty Beatrice shows him which book to take. It’s a golden hardcover edition with the title The Multicolor Pony and the Happy Land. After sitting on the sofa, with Beatrice on the right foot, Bobby begins to read:

    “A Long, long time ago there was a Multicolor Pony. She loved to fly through the blue, white and fluffy clouds. As walking through the clouds and sang:

    “I’m a little Pony, I’m a little Pony
    that flies through the clouds
    I’m a little Pony, I’m a little Pony
    that flies through the clouds”

    in front of her body a black body appeared and said “I’m the Big Evil and I came to throw you into the volcano from the Center of the Earth.” The Multicolor Pony started to scream: “Oh, no! OH, NO!” Then the Big Evil with his big fingers caught the Pony tail and begin to spin the Pony until the eyes of the Pony were spinning as well (some colors from the Unicorn skin flew in the air and painted only the white clouds) and threw the Multicolor Pony in the volcano from the Center of the Earth. The Multicolor Pony died in that volcano. Burned alive.”

    Thank you for your time and for reading the two short stories.

    Kind regards,
    Peter Stenstein

    • rasanaatreya
      July 9, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your offer. Unfortunately, I’m getting ready to launch a couple of my own books so I’m very stressed for time (I’m looking for reviews myself).

      May I suggest what has worked for me? I joined various Facebook groups. I’ll be seeking reviews there.

      I know it is extremely disheartening in the beginning, but please don’t give up. Facebook groups have helped me be a better writer, a better marketer and a better reviewer.

      Good luck!
      Rasana

  4. July 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Rasana, I know a couple of your new books are coming up. In case you decide to offer them for free, do let me know. I would love to read your books and review them in my blog.

    Destination Infinity

    • rasanaatreya
      July 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      I see from your email you’re a Telugu guy? Didn’t realize that! 🙂 The Temple Is Not My Father will be free for download (from my website http://rasanaatreya.com) on July 14, 2014. Thank you for offering to review. I would love that!

      • July 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        Yes my mother tongue is Telugu, but I was born and brought up in Chennai. So I can speak both Telugu and Tamil, although I am fluent in the latter 🙂

        Will download the book on July 14. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

        Destination Infinity

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