I can go on and on about how much I love reading and writing and how I wish I could give my work away for free forever, but we all know it’s not necessarily feasible. (I mean sure a person can love reading and writing, but the working for free in this economy isn’t.)
I don’t want to give you exacts here, but in the grand scheme of royalties, most writers have to really scrape along to keep at it. I’ve been extremely lucky in finding publishers who value my work in short bursts of time. I do my research and try to be as easy to work with as I can to help make the stress of this industry less on everyone involved.
It can take years to get your first book deal, and definitely will if you want to get in with the big five off the bat, but my path has led me to smaller presses that can aid me in the time I need. Thing is that I probably won’t be a top selling author anytime soon (if ever).
This is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
Royalties are great. Every time I get a payout, I feel accomplished. With each book sold, I am encouraged to keep going. The more books I write, the more things add up and the closer I am to supporting myself and my family with my talents.
Thing is, unless you hit the publishing lottery, a large portion of your royalties are based off of your own ability to sell books yourself. I’m not talking about posting ads and submitting to awards, some publishers handle that. (And I’m lucky enough to know that first hand) What I’m talking about is getting out and doing events: signings, conventions, workshops.
When people hear that my children’s book My Family Is Different hit #18 on amazon, they think I’m rolling in dough. Truth is, sales go up and then they drop. Yes they continue to rise and fall as erratically as a human heartbeat, but I agree with the old adage “You’re only as good as your next book” or was it “last book”? I say next because I always have something in the tank. And that maybe what has added to my “luck” or “blessings” or whatever you want to call them.
I thank the stars myself.
Online sales are extremely important, but the biggest payouts I have received were at events. When you get out there, look people in the eye, and smile at them as you talk about why you love writing or why you wrote your book they have a better connection with you. A direct connection!
When you can reach someone on an individual level and sell them a book, it’s no longer about the sale or the # you hit, it is entirely about sharing a piece of yourself, trusting someone else to feel compelled to compensate you for your work, and thanking them for doing so.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to start singing Kumbaya.
I just love what I do.
And every time I do an event, not only do I sell books in person, but afterwards sales go up online. It’s a win/win.
The more people you reach, the more they support you. You always have those individuals who are on the fence in person, and I am not a car salesman. If someone’s unsure about buying my book, I offer them a bookmark, a card, whatever free materials I have. (People love free stuff and having something nice for any children tagging along is also a good idea-but I just do that cuz I love kids) I try not to push, because I know there are so many great books out there and I love supporting other authors too.
If you’re in it for the royalties, this is not the profession for you. Writing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It is an art form. Yes there is a business side as business and art have been closely linked for centuries, but the royalties will come if you focus more on reaching your audience.