Prior to publishing, every author has the opportunity to entertain fantasies about book royalties.
Only a few authors get to experience the fantasy after publishing, yet every author can enjoy the dream beforehand.
Let’s have some fun with this.
If your wildest dreams could come true, would you:
- Pay off your mortgage? Look for a new home?
- Shop for a new car? Buy a yacht? Try on new jewelry?
- Settle your student loan? Get out of debt?
- Help out charity? Share with family or friends?
- Start a new business? Play the stock market.
- Blow all your cash before you realize how much you have to pay in taxes? Whoops!
- Think of something creative you could do with mega royalties, like making a fancy gold-plated edition of your book.
This is the one occasion where every author should love math. It’s fun to play with the numbers in the months leading up to publication.
Dream about a bestseller.
- Every time you check your sales reports, the numbers change, even though you just checked it a minute ago—heck, you just hit the refresh button repeatedly and the number of sales goes up. Cool, huh?
- Imagine that you could sell 1 book every 10 seconds. That’s 6 books per minute, 360 books per hour, 8,640 books per day, 259,200 books per month, 3 million books if you can keep it up for a whole year. Now we’re properly in fantasy land.
- At $2 per book (that’s 70% of a $2.99 e-book or a 20% royalty for a $9.95 paperback), you’d be making $12 per minute, $720 per hour, $17,280 per day, half a million dollars per month, and 6 million dollars per year.
- Everybody will know your name, they will recognize you walking through the mall. Everyone will ask for your autograph. You’ll hire someone to handle all your interview requests. Isn’t life so grand?
Let’s be a little more modest:
- 1000 books per day would be pretty awesome, right? At a modest $2 royalty, that would yield $2,000 per day or $60,000 per month. Not a bad month, eh?
- 100 books per day is much more plausible; that’s just 4 sales per hour, one sale every 15 minutes. A $2 royalty would net $6,000 per month. Maybe your book is worth more. Suppose you set the price at $9.99 for an e-book and draw a royalty of $7. Sell 100 books a day and you earn $21,000 for the month. You could start shopping for that car…
- 10 books per day seems like nothing, doesn’t it? That’s not even one sale every two hours. You’d have to earn a royalty of $3.33 in order to make $1000 per month.
- 1 book per day is pretty modest, yet there are millions of books that don’t achieve this. You’d have to earn a royalty of $3.33 in order to make $100 per month.
A 99-cent e-book earning a 35-cent royalty requires many, many sales to make your dreams come true:
- 1000 books per day is still pretty good: $350 isn’t bad for one day’s sales. You’d sell 30,000 books per month to earn $10,500.
- 100 books per day works out to $1,050 per month.
- 10 books per day comes to $105 per month.
- 1 book per day can buy you two Happy Meals for the entire month. That’s about it.
While it’s fun to fantasize about being a bestseller, the reality is that most books sell fewer than one copy per day on average.
But you don’t have to sell loads of books to live the dream:
- Just writing a book is a remarkable feat.
- Becoming a published author—hurray!
- Seeing your name in print—three cheers for you!
- Your first sale to a stranger—way to go!
- Got a favorable review—so cool!
- Asked for your autograph—a Kodak moment!
- Thanked by a stranger in the grocery store for writing your book—do I see tears?
Writing because it makes your life better and may make other people’s lives better… that’s priceless. 🙂
I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers