Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Hey. Wanna get depressed? Read this.
The fine people at Written Word Media — who must be associated with one of the many marketing outfits I’ve used at one time or another — conducted a survey of indie authors with the aim of figuring out how some of them achieve “financial success.” For the purposes of the survey, they defined “Financially Successful Authors” (FSAs) as those earning $5000 or more per month.
Sounds pretty successful to me.
The rest of us are termed “Emerging Authors” (EAs), and we bring in $500 or less per month.
(There should be a category called “Pre-Emerging Authors,” who earn about $7.99 per month. That’s where I’d be sitting.)
Anyway, you can probably guess what kind of advice the survey yielded because you’ve heard it all before. Nothing to see here, folks, let’s keep it moving.
In short, the results conclude: Write a lot of books, have your cover professionally designed, hire a professional editor, use free promotions, and write in a popular genre.
That last one is the most depressing finding of all. The survey results feature a graph that shows you need to be writing in one of the big romance genres to have much of a shot at becoming an FSA. And if you look at poor, shunned literary fiction at the far left of the graph, you’ll see that there are no FSAs in that genre!
Basically, this survey flies in the face of everything I hold dear. That’s just ducky.
I’m still trying to synthesize these findings with something I read a couple of weeks ago, revealing that only 40 self-published writers “make money” on Amazon. That means, according to a recent New York Times article, selling a million or more copies over the last five years. At just over three bucks a copy, that’s not far from the FSA definition when you do the math, so it’s hard to tell how many people are included in the survey. Maybe all 40 of the NYT success stories.
So what does it all boil down to?
You got it: We’re not in this for the money.