In Your Corner: 10 ways to promote your book for under $100!

Publishing is expensive, right? Well, yes, especially if you go about it the way that many blogs and books recommend, which assume you have unlimited funds, time, and energy in order to do what you like. But most of us—I’m assuming, at least—are not exactly rolling in it, not with the economy the way it is, and not with this whole thing called “having a life” is. Life can be exhausting, and expensive, and self-publishing your book should be part of the recovery process—not contributing to the problem!

grow your money

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of ten ways you can market your book without breaking the bank. And if you have any ideas of your own, I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to drop me a line in the comments section, below, or you can contact us over Facebook or Twitter. (Our twitter handle is @selfpubadvisor.) Best of all, all ten marketing strategies I’ve listed below are cheap.

  1. Reach readers where they live. This is a process which starts with researching them. Thoroughly. What are their demographic details? How old are they? Where do they live, geographically speaking? Are they diverse in terms of ethnicity and gender? What social media platforms do they use and which have they discarded or never picked up to begin with? In the case of younger readers, are they old enough to be in command of their own savings–or will purchases be made by parents and caregivers? What subjects occupy their waking thoughts? You also have to actively go out and reach them. Carefully and effectively. With precision. Draft a well-thought-out, targeted marketing strategy that pares back on the manifold possibilities open to you … to just the ones that will reach your core readership. Once you have established a sustainable system in place, you can begin experimenting your way through additional marketing strategies and see what is sustainable.
  2. Give them a taste. Whether we’re talking about an e-book or an audiobook, digital formats offer some truly exciting possibilities for incentivization.  Amazon automatically offers the first ten or so pages for free (the so-called “first chapter freebie”) and you can replicate this on your blog and with other online retailers.  Curating your own freebie chapter isn’t an option with Amazon, but it is when you choose the method of delivery via blog or email, and I highly recommend taking the time to edit what makes it in to your freebie–this gives you an edge over the Amazon preview, which often cuts off in the middle of a paragraph.  Make sure the freebie ends with some sort of natural cliffhanger or emotional hook, to keep your readers coming back!
  3. Discount it. Perhaps the greatest weapon in your digital arsenal is the option to offer timed discounts and sales. Because you control the base price as a self-publishing author, you get to shape your own sales! You can time them to coincide with events of national interest (say, Father’s Day or the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s final fateful voyage–you know, only relevant to you and your work) or you can use the calendar as a guiding star. Sales tend to find success when they close on the last or first day of a month, holidays, and so on.
  4. Host giveaways and hand out merch! You don’t want to leverage these as bribes for reviews, but you can certainly use them to incentivize coming to other events where your books are sold, or to encourage the sort of general enthusiasm for your work that will naturally lead to reviews!
  5. Offer a limited edition or bundle! Comic book authors have created some really good models for bundles that you can use for inspiration, and creating short runs of specialty covers is also a specialty of theirs; don’t hesitate to mix it up to build demand.
  6. Create loyalty by doling out insider access. Readers want to feel special for being your fans, and you should reward this impulse; maybe the purchase of a book becomes a ticket to an author interview via Google Hangouts–or maybe it gives them access to a limited-access “behind the scenes”  page on your website? The options are endless!
  7. Set up a book signing. You probably already guessed that this would rate a top ten list, and you’d be right! Book signings and readings are amongst the most powerful and effective marketing tools available. They take some work, logistically speaking, in that you have to be willing to carry a lot of the weight in organizing the programming and making the calls to set it up, as well as printing flyers and submitting a notice to your local newspapers—whatever it takes to alert people to an upcoming event. But the payoff is rich, and ongoing.
  8. Get thee to a book fair! Much like book signings, these events will give you and your book invaluable face-out exposure, bring you into contact with experts, reviewers, distributors, and many others who will be interested in partnering with you in the future. You can attend solo, or you can partner up with other authors who have published through your indie publishing company in order to lower costs. I highly recommend this kind of partnership, because it bodes well for my next point, which is ….
  9. Play well with others. Most self-publishing authors, no matter where they’re at in their publishing journey, could benefit from strong, dynamic, and useful collaboration. Collaboration can look like a lot of different things:
    • pairing up with another author or multiple authors to host a book discussion or workshop together;
    • gathering several other authors together and applying to run a booth at a local book fair, or a panel at a “con” (convention);
    • conducting interviews with other authors and sharing them on each other’s websites, providing insight into the authorial process; and
    • co-writing short stories or novellas together, to be distributed as giveaways or free to the public online.
  10. Optimize. What does it actually mean to “optimize”?  It means to try new things.  To try every new thing.  To try a new thing regularly. To try it daily.  To try it … always. To think about life and being an author and marketing as some kind of laboratory, where experimentation is the rule and not the exception–and where, like good scientists, we document our progress thoroughly so that we can track, exactly, which outcomes can be attributed to which changes in method.

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Growing Pains: Part IV

Sometimes growing your business can happen from within your own, already existing customer base. Imagine your business as a tree trunk, the branches your customers and the leaves that come off of each branch a good or service bought from one of your customers. The more leaves on the tree, the better and healthier the tree. So how do we get a nice, full tree?

Young plant

Think about it, you already have someone who is interested in your goods or services, they have already decided you have a product worth purchasing, so the key is to keep providing them those quality products or services. Not only to you have to have a supply to both create and feed the demand, but you have to market that supply properly.

Let’s say we’re talking selling books. You have a loyal fan base already. That’s great. Make that work to your advantage. If you’re writing a series, make sure you keep an email list of those who have already purchased your first or second book in the series and alert them when the newest one is coming out. Maybe offer them a loyalty discount to show your appreciation for their support. Better yet, maybe you have older books that they don’t know about! Be sure to clue them in on past work you’ve done and how/where they can find or purchase that as well. That way, while you’re working on creating new material, you’re still able to move products you already have on hand.

Also, make sure you’re following your fans on social media and vice versa so that they can be in tune with developments in your writing and publishing stages. That way, they know you have a book coming out, you can build anticipation for it, and they’re excited to buy your next book. Be active on their pages, let them know that you are just another person who’s not too busy to keep up with their fans.

Keep in mind that the key to keeping a good customer relationship comes from after-sale support and contact. Ask your readers for feedback. Let them know that their opinions matter to you. After-sale support and contact may determine whether or not that customer will be a returning customer. When a customer feels that their business or opinions are valued by a business, they are more likely to support that business.

If you do offer other services, such as editing, formatting, marketing, etc. make that known to your customers. People who are already fans of your work, who find your books appealing or well-written, will most likely value your advice on how it is you produce a professional, quality book. Start by hosting free (or small-fee) webinars where you offer your advice with the option at the end to hire you personally for your services.

Thinking of your business as a living growing entity will remind you that you need to give it the proper care and attention it deserves so that it can continue to expand and grow stronger over time. Keep watering that tree, letting those leaves bask in the sunlight, and you will have shade and fresh air to breathe in for ages to come. Ignore it, or give it too little attention and you will watch it wither away and be left with a lifeless stump.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

From the Archives: “LOC Acronyms Explained”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: November 1st, 2011 ]

If you are an aspiring author, you’ve probably heard the terms LOC, LCCN, CIP and PCN. But what do this acronyms mean, and which ones are important? Read on to find out.

LOCLibrary of Congress. It is the largest library in the world, and its mission is “to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.” To learn more about the LOC, visit

LCCN– Library of Congress Control Number. This number is similar to an ISBN. It can be helpful when marketing your book to libraries, but it not necessary for publication. To learn more about this number, read Who Needs a LCCN?.

CIPCataloguing in Publication. This program creates a bibliographic record that is printed on the verso of the title page. This program is not available to self-published authors.

PCN – Preassigned Control Number. This is the self publishing alternative to a CIP. This program creates a LCCN prior to publication. Self publishing  companies provide authors with this service.

I’d love to hear your questions or concerns about LOC acronyms. Feel free to leave comments, and I will try to address you questions directly or in future posts.

– by Cheri Breeding

library of congress
Main Hall and dome ceiling, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Honestly, Cheri did such a stellar job with this subject the first time around–short and sweet, just the way we like it!–that I don’t have much to add, except by way of reminder that while the world of publishing and self-publishing is constantly evolving, the Library of Congress (LOC) and its systems remain a steadfast part of our lives. The LOC continues to offer vital ongoing services to authors and readers of all walks of life, and the current Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is an advocate for marginalized and underserved populations everywhere.

She’s pretty great.

carla hayden

And of course–don’t neglect to file for the various LOC numbers! Booksellers often push back against selling books without them, and libraries will struggle to catalog them. It’s simple and straightforward, we promise! You can read all about it in our post backlist.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

Self-Publishing News: 5.15.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Beginning in March, Amazon began a policy which allowed third-party sellers the right to purchase the “Buy Box” for new books being sold on Amazon. Why is this such a big deal? Traditionally, by default, the “Buy Box” has always been something that belonged to the original publisher of the book. That way, when you purchase a book, 45% of the profits go back to the publisher, and in turn, help pay authors. “This contributes to authors’ royalties,” says Brook Warner, “and also means that your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher.” Warner suggests that this policy not only favors the largest third-seller parties, but it drastically affects publishers and authors.

Warner is affiliated with the publishing industry, so she has seen first hand the negative impacts of this change. One of the authors published under Warner’s press called her to inform her that her book was no longer being offered at all on Amazon from her publisher. If someone were to search for the title of her book, the only available purchase options were from third-party publishing companies. “Amazon’s policy states that ‘eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box,’” says Warner, “but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.” After more investigation, Warner found that some books published by a company she used to work at, Seal Press, were only offering copies from third-party sellers.

The problem with this new policy, according to Warner, is that it affects publishers’ backlist for books “(typically meaning any book that’s six months or older).” To someone buying the book, it appears as though the third-party seller is the only available purchase option, and if they did click the “more buying options” button, it would only alert them to cheaper versions of the book, not the one for sale by the publishing company which is listed as “sold by,” with no nod to the publishing company at all. Because small publishing companies are especially dependent on backlist sales, and because Amazon is the main source for backlist sales, Amazon is making it look as though a lot of these books are out of print with their publishing companies when in fact, they are not.

What are the biggest takeaways from this new policy by Amazon? For Warner, it is that they are trying to further drive down the value and cost of books, something they’ve already done with their ebooks by encouraging authors to sell their books for under $10 by giving the incentive of better royalties if they do so. Further, this makes it so that authors can’t earn royalties for the sale of their books. Amazon has suggested to people who are upset about the “buy box” competition that they should keep their books in stock which is problematic for self-published authors or backlist authors whose books are only available by print-on-demand, which are only printed to order, i.e. out of stock. “This new third-party seller policy is potentially terrorizing,” says Warner, “in that it can and will literally result in publishers selling fewer copies and ultimately being forced to declare backlist books out of print.”

In order to counter this effort by Amazon Warner suggests supporting indie bookstores, avoiding third-party sellers and always considering how your purchase will affect the authors, especially if you yourself are an author. Driving down the cost of books means driving down the value of your creative and intellectual property, which as authors we should all value very highly.


As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

Saturday Book Review: “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light Nikki DuBose with James Johanson

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478777458


Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, psychosis, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.

Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of psychosis, depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.

Cast into a world of excess, superficiality, and vanity, Nikki traveled the globe and experienced the finest that the material world had to offer, all while feeling empty inside. Her disorders, addictions and mental health issues took her to the brink of mortality and only though a deeply painful inner-battle and her mother’s death was she able to reconnect the lost pieces of her soul and see the person she had so long rejected.

Her recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left Nikki with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering by advocating for mental health and self-acceptance. In America, more than sixty-one million individuals are affected by mental illness. Child sexual abuse affects more than forty-five million people in the United States alone, yet it is still regarded as one of the most shameful issues to date. Eating disorders affect millions and are one of the most destructive and life-threatening mental afflictions today – anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Despite the extent of the suffering, eating disorders and mental health issues are poorly understood in popular culture and are often stigmatized, mocked, or even glorified because of misconceptions and ignorance over the seriousness of the manner. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. We believe that through the recent societal trends and improved sharing of information, we are beginning to break this paradigm, therefore another aim of this book will be to educate the public. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will serve as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible.

 * courtesy of


Model and author Nikki DuBose struggled with a variety of mental health issues for nearly twenty years; all while forging a career in the demanding fashion industry. Her problems began in childhood, where she was emotionally and sexually abused, and as patterns of self-abuse influenced her choices and progress in life, she found her self in a puzzling juxtaposition between success and failure as she worked as a TV host and began her modeling career.

While on the surface she appeared to be successful, traveling the world and leading a life that seemed enviable, in reality her struggles with PTSD, eating disorders, and mental and physical challenges were never-ending and became life threatening on more than one level.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light tells her story and illuminates the forces which contributed to her warped self image and the paths she took to emerge from her personal version of hell.

It’s written for audiences who suffer similar mental ailments and for those who would better understand and reduce the shame surrounding such struggles. Even though DuBose’s path led her to a religious revelation and spiritual focus, it’s not written for those who would receive a lesson in Christianity, but for any who would understand the various options leading to survival and recovery.

Readers should be warned that DuBose’s life is tumultuous and her memoir describes sexual abuse, graphic inappropriate actions upon a child by many of the adults who should have been protecting her, and shows how these familiar patterns repeat into adulthood. It also details the physical health challenges that entered the picture more and more often as DuBose continued to abuse her body and mind. It’s not an easy read: it’s filled with strife, angst, and agony.

It also includes some unexpected aspects, such as the author’s connections with paranormal phenomena and her insights about these events.

Readers who seek graphic, compelling memoirs that ultimately focus on victim mentality and how to recreate one’s identity and self image in a more positive light will find Washed Away goes further than most memoirs of abuse to chronicle the way out and the road to recovery, offering inspirational guidelines that will appeal to religious and non-religious readers alike.

reviewed by Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I have followed Nikki on social media for several years and have been inspired by her advocacy and life story, so when I found out she was writing a book, I couldn’t wait to read it and learn more about her journey! Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is her memoir, and she details the many traumas she endured both as a child and as an adult working in the modeling industry. I could not be more impressed by her resilience and her ability to revisit her experiences with such grace. She tells it like it is; there’s no way to just gloss over trauma and minimize it, but she writes in a way that evokes hope. I found myself rooting for her recovery as I read, and I couldn’t put the book down!

People who have had similar experiences will surely find solidarity in her story, and those who have never experienced trauma will gain an understanding and sense of empathy for those who have endured difficulties like abuse, assault, eating disorders, and addictions. This book sheds a lot of light on the modeling and entertainment industries too, and is another reminder that “all that glitters is not gold.” I’ve always heard of the pressures put on people in these industries, but reading Nikki’s firsthand account was even more enlightening, and reminds me that there is still so much education and advocacy work to be done in every aspect of society.

Thank you for writing this book, Nikki, and blessings to you as you continue your journey and seek to help others through your story!

– Amazon Reviewer Sarah

When a stunning runway model shamelessly illuminates her ugly profiles to help others she naturally becomes more beautiful. Nikki’s high profile advocacy for the sexually abused and those suffering mental illness will not only champion the plight of victims it will safeguard her own journey to recovery.

Kudos to Nikki for showing that we are all on the spectrum — even the flawlessly beautiful. Some are just fortunate to have secure childhoods and ride the curve to “normalcy.” Far too many have both nature and nurture to hurdle. Nikki’s mom, “Hurricane Sandy”, succumbed to this all to often fatal perfect storm. While Nikki has not only survived unimaginable mental and physical trauma, thru her writing she is carrying many to safety by combatting pervasive destructive stigma. Proving life is indeed what you make of it! Kevin DeBlasi, Esq.

– Amazon Reviewer maria f deblasi

saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor


Conversations: 5/12/2017


Today I’d like to bring in concepts about THEME within the genre of Children’s Books.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK by Alice Schertle was my youngest grandson’s favorite books since he could crawl to his box of books and select one. The writing of it and the illustrations (by Jill McElmurry) follow the pattern of Keep it simple, Keep it focused, Keep it moving to a Tee. It was first published in 2008 and listed in the genres of “ages 4-8” and “baby, pre-school.” THE THEME centers on being a good friend. Sometimes being a friend is easy and fun. Sometimes it’s not. Willingness to try being a friend is always a good thing to do and often helps make new friends. Every time I read this Little Blue Truck adventure to my grandson, I (me—the adult) am encouraged to work on my own friendship skills and behaviors. Yes, indeed, this book will forever be part of my library!

SO…what was/is your favorite children’s book? When I ask writers this question many reply with titles like Bambi, and Dumbo, and Lassie, with words that come out sounding like they are cuddling with a Teddy Bear. They are remembering the Little Golden Book Classics now being passed forward to their grandchildren—each story encouraging Readers to be a good friend, help the helpless, be willing to ask for help, and always come home.

These authors wrote a positive message into their stories while opening the world a bit wider for young Readers—demonstrating good ways to respect people who are different that “us,” how to appreciate the world (from backyard to forest) and how to handle the death of loved ones. STORY combined with beautiful, eye-appealing illustrations can deliver these theme messages while nurturing and encouraging every Reader—whatever their age or “season” of life.

Recently I was introduced to a new children’s book titled: COUNTRY ZOO by Melissa Lcountry zoo melissa brown. Brown. It is 24 pages of an encouraging story about Gretchen the Giraffe. (Who doesn’t love giraffes?) The book is listed in the genre of Juvenile Fiction which places it in the middle school to young adult category. However, I will definitely be reading it to my kindergartener. The THEME: Bullying.

You see, Gretchen was born small—and called the “runt.” Being small is a natural challenge because she can’t reach the sweetest leaves to eat or play the games the bigger giraffe’s play. As she grows, she becomes bigger than the others and faces a whole new set of problems. What happens to Gretchen?  Sorry, you’ll have to read the book for yourselves.  I will tell you, though, that you’ll fall in love with Gretchen—AND—when you review the Keep it simple, Keep it focused, Keep it moving pattern of her story you’ll have an excellent outline sample to help you develop your own story(s).

Takeaway for today: WRITE YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY THE WAY IT NEEDS TO BE TOLD and the genre category of Readers/age group will find it! The old saying that “I wish I had a nickel for” every time I’ve re-read a children’s book and found encouraging words to soothe my spirit, is often repeated in my writing workshops. Recently I added these basic themes to my list of future books to write: Encourage children to Play; to Respect others; to Listen; to Talk about their feelings; to Be a Good Example everywhere, especially at school; to Thank God every night, for everything.

If any of these topic/themes resonate with you—GO FOR IT! Write that book! Get is Published! And send me a copy! ⚓︎


ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

In Your Corner: Crossing the Streams!

… the income streams, of course. Not the proton streams, of course! That’s just dangerous.

No, the kind of streams we’re talking about today are revenue streams–those avenues through which you as an author make your money. Because–here’s a fun fact!–the self-publishing experience is neither monolithic nor straightforward when it comes to making money, even though it may be simpler than the alternative. You might just be surprised where they money actually comes from! Most authors will say that the majority of their money comes from one of the following five sources, which include …

  • … the books themselves: In an article for The Write Life, Alexis Grant writes of how UK-based author Mark Dawson has made a fortune off of selling his books–books which have sold upwards of three hundred thousand copies as of the article’s publication. It may seem a bit cliche to mention yet another self-publishing success story like Dawson’s, but we’re nothing if not thorough here on Self Publishing Advisor. Blockbuster success is still an exception instead of the rule, but many authors make a comfortable margin off of their self-published books these days.
  • … the digital books: Says Joe Konrath, a “name” within the self-publishing world: “I’m outselling a bunch of famous, name-brand authors. I couldn’t touch their sales in print.” The parallel evolution of self-publishing and ebooks has seen the two threads of the publishing industry become deeply entwined, and it seems like a crime to conflate the importance of ebook sales with those of print when it comes to self-publishing! Many authors find niche success through digital sales that they wouldn’t in print for a variety of reasons. It really is a separate revenue stream!
  • … the movie?! This is a thing that can happen!? In real life?! According to Drew Mackie of People, indeed it can, and has, to a number of self-published works–including The MartianStill Alice, and even Legally Blonde! (Now that is a range I can get behind, for sure.) Indie filmmakers especially have a deep appreciation for indie books (as in Still Alice) but genre films (like the rom-com Legally Blonde or the space-based science fiction masterwork, The Martian) also have put roots down into the world of self-published books which should not be discounted. And while in many cases the books are then picked up by traditional publishers after the film rights have been optioned, this is not the only format worth looking into. You can self-publish, remain self-published, and retain full rights during the film optioning process. This could even be a significant revenue stream for you!
  • … merchandising: We’ve written about this elsewhere and in great detail on SPA, but here’s the summary version: merchandising matters, and it’s both a money-making endeavor in and of itself as well as a way to boost book sales and therefore your primary revenue stream. Don’t ignore the merchandising!
  • … speaking engagements and book tours: “For many writers,” writes Alexis Grant, “marketing is the most difficult part [of the self-publishing process], either because [authors] don’t have the skills to pull it off or simply don’t want to. But the truth is, if you want to make a living as a writer, you have to be more than a writer. Figuring out how to promote your books is the only way you’ll sell copies.” And while not everyone may feel qualified or cut out for a speaking engagement like a book reading, signing, or tour, there’s a chunk of change to be made in building up your profile as a public speaker. For many authors, this eventually becomes a primary revenue stream and not some fiddly thing on the side. This seems especially true of authors of self-help and lifestyle or fitness books, but it is often true for authors in other genres too. Think about it!

The key to success isn’t in any single one of these revenue streams, but rather in a combination. And for every author, that combination will look a little different. Take a moment and think about it: what kind of revenue do you expect to see from your life as a self-published author? And how can you diversify those streams to create a more long-lasting, rewarding experience?

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.