No matter if you sold the publishing rights for your book or if you are self-publishing: The dominant question is how to earn money with your art. Only those who have written a book know how much time and effort such an endeavor requires. It starts with the research, the outline for the work, the writing and then the revising and many rounds of editing.
Efforts and Demands of Publishing Books
The so-called “published” authors – who receive only 8 -12% royalties, and maybe not even an advance for their title – hold their breath until they receive their royalty statements. And the self-publishers? They have to invest first into a professional editor, a cover designer, a book lay-outer or ebook formatter, maybe a distribution company. And then the most important tasks: the creation of a professional author platform, the book marketing, and promotion – all this while writing the next book.
There are two questions coming up: How can you wring the most royalties out from your book. And how to make money from writing – other than books to quit a full-time job.
Several Ways to Monetize Your Books
Ask yourself if you choose all avenues to make more money from your books:
Distribution to More Retailers
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify! No business has only one retailer (customer) to sell to. Upload your book (or use a distributor) to all sales channels and all countries.
Sell From Your Own Website
Nowhere else would you receive such high revenues as for book sales on your own website. Inexpensive and easy to install e-commerce programs all you to sell print and digital versions of your books.
Re-purpose your manuscript and make more out of it than just a book and an e-book. Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-Books became immensely popular!
It is much easier to get a book into libraries if it’s published in hardcover format instead of a paperback print. POD and distributor company IngramSpark offers hardcover book production to self-publishers at affordable prices and in small quantities, compared to commercial printers.
Licensing your works in different formats and countries is another income stream. You can set up all the information about your book, including prices for different formats and contract clauses on digital platforms – easy to find for agents and publishers around the world.
You could be paid twice for your book… There are services in many countries that will help maximize your royalty income for the secondary use (such as copying) of your works. Becoming a member is in most countries FREE! In Canada, join “Access Copyright”. In the United States, the CCC, the Copyright Clearance Center compensates publishers and creators/writers for the use of their work, in Great Britain the ALCS, and in Germany it is “VG Wort”.
Writers Are Often Too Focused on Books
You are NOT naive to think you could earn a living with writing – something you love. The promise of creativity and personal freedom attracts many writers. This has lots of advantages, such as choosing when and where you work, and with whom. However, to make money with books only takes a while, often a long while… Better not only rely on writing books – rather on WRITING.
Do What You Love Most: Writing
Book Marketing, promoting and spending lots of times on Social Media is not something that authors cherish. But what about promoting books with writing? You can do what you love most and at the same time, you get paid. You know how to write a novel, but you also need to learn how to write shorter pieces and how to write for the web where readers have shorter attention spans. All these skills can be acquired at on- and off-line classes, at workshops through writers associations and beta reading groups, book fair programs, writers conferences etc. And certainly at college classes.
- Writing more books
- Writing short stories
- Writing prequels
- Writing sequels
- Writing blog articles
- Writing guest blogs
- Writing for literary contests
“Commercial” Writing Possibilities:
- Writing magazine features
- Writing newspaper articles
- Writing copy for websites
- Writing resumes and cover letters
- Writing sales copy
Leverage Your Former Writing
Many of these opportunities do not require to create completely new stories or articles. In many cases, you can leverage your books and blogs, divide chapters, rewrite them a bit, shorten, or add new content to “repurpose” your inventory. Another way is to use the content of your research and create new stories or articles. Just to give you an example how you can re-purpose research and content of your novel, that may take place in medieval Great Britain or a travelogue you wrote about a trip to Europe:
You could for example write an article about horse staples in the UK for equestrian magazines, about one of the fantastic gardens in Great Britain to garden magazines, how to travel on a budget to European cities for a frugal living magazine, bike riding paths in Denmark to a bike magazine, a feature about pumpkin seed pressing in Austria for gourmet magazines, an article about a historic flax or wool mill in France for a sewing or craft magazine, a photo feature that you took in a boutique hotel for a fine interior magazine, how to dress for city trips without looking like a tourist for fashion or lifestyle magazines. The possibilities are endless…
Here are some of the editorial and writing services you can provide from the quiet of your own home:
• Copyediting. This is where fact-checking takes place, and where grammatical, stylistic and typographical errors are caught.
• Proofreading. This is the last stop for a “finished” piece. The proof-reader makes sure the copyediting changes have been properly made and no new errors are created in the process.
• Indexing. There are indexing courses available and you can get indexing software.
• Developmental editing. A developmental editor works with a manuscript on big-picture things like organization and content issues.
• Book doctoring. This is an editorial service provided for manuscripts written by experts. They create a manuscript as best they can and then a book doctor puts it into publishable shape.
• Ghost Writing. As a ghost writer, you actually do the research and write the book and someone else’s name is attached as the author.
• Copywriting. Also known as business writing, this is writing that promotes a product or a service.
• Book writing. Do you have an expertise in something professional, such as accounting or interior decorating? Or personally, like knitting? Why not write a book about it?
• Magazine article writing. Magazines and newspapers are a great way to get your writing published before tackling the daunting task of writing a whole book.
• Web page content provider. Providing content for a web site is a good way to make some money writing.
• Marketing Copy Writer If you can write copy that gets people excited about purchasing what your client has to sell, you can make good money in this business.
How to Find Freelance Gigs?
The secret to getting your foot in the door is being tenacious about chasing down all writing opportunities. And also to have professional profiles on social media, especially on LinkedIn. These websites offer information, suggestions, and encouragement:
The Good News:
Instead of desperately trying to sell your book via social media or advertisements, you can do the same through writing: short stories, prequels, magazine articles, guest blogs, writing contests etc. It is more fun, you get automatically more readers, and you create a huge portfolio of your work. Plus you get paid – and you promote your books in the byline. With the same investment of time, you earn faster and way more money than with writing only books. Plus: the more you write, the better you get.
There are certainly more ways of full-time earnings for writers, which are the subject of the next blog article. Stay tuned!
More links and tips can be found in our upcoming book:
“111 Tips on How to Make Money with Writing”