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The Cost of Self Publishing – You’re Focusing on the Wrong Thing

 

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We all know it’s tough to get visibility out there in author-land, not to mention how hard you need to work (at first) to get those early reviews and mailing list subscribers. After all, you just busted your butt to get your work out there – and now you’ve got to bust your butt all over again to get noticed?

Yeah… I’ve felt that particular sinking feeling myself many times in the past.

The good news? Trust me, it gets MUCH easier once you know what you’re doing (that’s what I’m here for). Which leads me onto my reason for today’s post… 

As you can probably imagine, I get a lot of emails from authors looking for help building their careers. In addition to getting questions about how to boost visibility, get exposure, grow mailing lists, get reviews (and, yes, how to sell more books) – this is a very popular question:

Nick, I’ve seen some marketing and advertising services out there that look pretty good. But I don’t want to spend money if I don’t have to. Is the cost worth it?

And this got me thinking.

Advertising is a huge help. Even the smaller advertisers are priced to help you sell enough to make a profit – they want you to come back, after all. And there are other tangible benefits that investing in your business will bring.

But this is the key point: it’s not about COST. It’s about VALUE.

To help make sense of this, I wanted to outline a few of the investments I make in my business, and in myself, which have helped my career massively.

Now, bear in mind these figures reflect my investments NOW. When I first got started, the numbers were very different. I’ve built up to this over 4+ years, and, like many people, I started with a tiny budget. And we’ll talk about that in my next post.

Here’s a breakdown of my monthly marketing expenses (figures in USD):

Email Advertising (sites like Bookbub): $540
Website / Systems Development & Optimization: $997
Mailing List Software (Infusionsoft): $450
Affiliate Commissions: $8,470
Facebook Advertising: $779
Video Hosting: $300

Total investment: $11,536 per month / $138,432 per year

Sounds like a lot, right? And it is. But every single one of those investments allows me to either (a) make more money, or (b) save time (which helps me make more money, as well as giving me the freedom to spend time with my family and doing fun stuff – which is kinda the whole point for me).

And, as I mentioned, these figures represent my business NOW. Not when I first got started. I took my profits and reinvested them into the business. Built that up. And it was worth it.

The #1 thing I didn’t spend valuable cash on was a fancy website. Or super-high-end branding. Now, those things are useful… when you have paying customers. But when you’re first getting started, it’s all too easy to get caught up spending time and money on things that don’t bring dollars into your bank account.

Case in point – my first-ever business; I spent hundreds on setting up an automated telephone system directing callers to the right “department”. And guess what? Without any customers actually CALLING me, it was a total waste of time. You can imagine, that business went belly-up pretty fast.

To put some of these crazy numbers into perspective, my total ROI on the last twelve months was in the triple digits. Or, in other words, for every $20 I spent, I made back over $100.

If someone asked whether you’d like to swap a twenty-dollar bill for a hundred bucks, what would you say?

HELL YEAH!

You’d bite their hand off, right?

If anything, I want to spend MORE on investments that will grow my business. And that’s my goal for this year – find more ways to grow my business profitably. And I know I’ll need to pay to play. That’s the nature of any serious business.

But a lot of people balk at the idea of spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on their business and their career – and themselves. Why is this?

It’s because people confuse COST with VALUE.

Any good investment should give you a solid return – either in terms of money, or time (freedom). It should provide you with value. The cost isn’t the important factor here. What’s important is what your investment is going to do to help you reach your professional and personal goals.

  • Spend $100 to make $750? That doesn’t “cost” me $100. That EARNS me $650 profit.
  • Spend $3,400 to get my money and accounts managed? That doesn’t “cost” me $3,400, that earns me a year of never having to worry about my taxes or cashflow. And a good accountant often makes back their fees saving you money too – they have with me.

It’s easy to miss the value and focus on the cost. This is a mistake.

So, my question to you is this:

If you could get your author career to where it needs to be, how much would that be worth to you?

What would it mean to you and to your loved ones to get to do something you love each and every day? Never having to worry about someone else calling the shots? Having steady and sustained sales and income while you sleep?

You might not be able to put a dollar figure on it, and that’s fine. The important thing is that you can actually visualise this happening. Because figuring out what your dream career is worth to you is a major step towards making it happen. I learned this early on and it made a big difference.

So, tell me: What would it mean to you to get your author career where you want it to be?

Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you and get a discussion going. In the meantime, I’ve got an exclusive video training session for you that will break down the only three things you need to focus on to grow your business.

That means no more random browsing on social media. No “Tweet Teams”. No getting overwhelmed trying to release random content into the universe in the hope that someone might see it.

I’ll break down the three-step formula you need to use to focus your marketing and get results.

Just click below for the video series (and I’ll send you video #1 right away that will make this super-clear for you):

SEND MY FREE VIDEO TRAINING

I’ll see you in the comments section below! 

 

50 Comments

  1. Des Torres says:

    Frankly I’m puzzled that there are no comments insofar as this is an extremely important post!

    Thanks Nick- great article! People that expect Indie Authorship to be completely money for nothing… well… let’s just say that their buisness hat is a little neglected. We Indies wear two hats- the creative writer AND a business person. Neglect one at your peril.

    The difference in perspective between ‘cost’ and ‘investment’ is an important consideration, and you explained the case great

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      You got in there fast!

  2. Derek Murphy says:

    I agree with the main idea of the post, but would like to add some more qualifiers.
    1. It’s expensive to learn what you’re doing. So it’s easy to spend a lot of money on stuff that doesn’t work until you figure out what does.
    2. A lot of the things you invest in, you won’t see a return right away. Luckily with BookBub or some advertising, you should see a return; but for example – recently we’ve been helping people with their marketing. And we focus on book covers, websites, fixing their mailing list and optins, implementing permafree strategies, and basically educating them to build a strong author platform. But a lot of that stuff doesn’t pay right away. The value is there, but they don’t see it… They just see, “I spent X and only sold Y books, and didn’t earn back a fraction of my investment!” I’m thinking about pulling the plug, since I don’t really want to offer book marketing services unless they will earn a return every time, and that’s hardly possible without building up a long term author platform. And just because they don’t earn an immediate profit doesn’t mean the value isn’t there.
    3. A lot of self-publishing authors are writing books with no market. So even if they build a strong platform, a great website, amazing books… there just isn’t enough readership to support them (or, they are writing in popular genres but the competition is too great and their books aren’t good enough). I have a lot of clients eager to spend a few thousand dollars per book and I have to warn them that they may not see a return, or at the very least it will take a long time.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Definitely. I like to focus on “value per website visit” and “value per lead” – eg, each subscriber is worth $X per year / month – as well as book sales. That makes things much easier to control – especially with PPC ads like Facebook, where you can measure the cost per conversion. If you know the value of each conversion, it gets a lot easier to see the benefits. Same with newsletter signups from organic sources.

      So if each subscriber is worth, say, $5 per year, it gets really easy to see the value in getting an extra 100 subscribers for less than $500 (for example). Setting goals and measuring outcomes is an essential step many forget about!

    2. Carolyn says:

      Derek, I hear what you’re saying in point 3 loud and clear! I would love to hear your expert opinion on which genres are a waste of time. Namely, what about inspirational fiction? If you would prefer for me to ask them elsewhere, let me know. It seems the two largest genres are romance and thriller, but then again, those are crowded markets with famous names dominating sales.

  3. Emma Calin says:

    I agree with you Nick and also find Derek’s comment pertinent. It’s so easy to get disheartened when you don’t see an immediate return – especially if you’re working on a shoe-string budget and not sure which things are effective. It’s tempting to assume that if there is no result, this could be one of the strategies that no longer works (there are so many self-pub ‘gurus’ out there pedalling methods to drive sales that worked for them back in 2012 for example). So the world for skint authors is a minefield of folk clamouring to take your money – and it’s knowing which ones really offer the ‘value’ you so rightly discuss. I have to say I find your logical analytical approach very useful Nick and I’ll be avidly following your new video training sessions. Thanks for brining a bit of sanity to the process! Emma

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Sanity is always a good thing (in small doses)

  4. Jim Self says:

    Hey Nick,

    There are definitely people that think spending money is 100% useless. For most indie writers, though, it seems more that they’re not sure there is any value in what they pay for. Bookbub makes it pretty easy to do the math and see if you’ll come out ahead, but other services aren’t such a solid investment.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      I’m hoping as this industry grows, providers will be more transparent with what value they’re actually providing. It would definitely do us all a favour!

  5. Amanda Sumner says:

    As someone who’s been self-employed for many years, I’m not surprised at your total–but I have to admit that as an editor, I’m surprised by the small amount spent on editing! 🙂

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      I hardly published anything in 2014 🙂

      1. daniel hill says:

        What marketing services did you use and do you also help promote authors

    2. Kenneth C Rossignol says:

      Amanda; you are correct, I have spent more than his total on simply editing one book, but then again I am the king of run-on sentences. I believe Nick’s total spent on editing doesn’t reflect the crowd-editing among other authors and the bartering he has done. I have a great editor, now, and we barter services. My editors of the past have all been terrific and the one thing they all had in common was that the deserved a far better writer than myself.
      As for Nick’s suggestions: take them, work them. I found myself relying on Amazon’s marketplace as I was busy with other projects and after five years my sales hit bottom in November and early December. Now I am re-working all my books, its a slow process, to renovate keywords and cats, throw out awkward descriptions and market until the cows come home. Its time to round them up and move them out.

    3. Christie says:

      I hear ya Amanda — There are so many things to take into consideration, and everyone wants (and needs) to get paid.

  6. Carl Plumer says:

    Great stuff. You left out something that I wrestle with, however: money guilt. It’s hard for me to justify spending on my so-called “writing career” when, unlike some (Hugh Howey, I’m looking at you), I’m not earning 6 figures at this (yet). So, as Derek noted with the reactions he’s experienced, it seems like money down the drain, when, perhaps, it was better spent on paying down credit cards, or paying towards kids’ tuition or what have you. I DO know the intrinsic value and I understand it’s important–in fact, absolutely essential–to spend this money, or rather, invest it. But then I feel guilty when I do; when the latest method for more sales, conversions, or visibility has no impact work. Thoughts? Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      “buyers remorse” usually happens when the product / service doesn’t live up to expectations (the sellers’ fault) – as far as whether to pay down debt or save, it all depends on the ROI. Eg, invest $100 and make back $200, or pay off $100 credit card debt and save $16 or save $100 in the bank and make back, erm, $100.00001.

      While I’m investing a lot now, it started off small – $50 here and there, tracking, measuring, and eventually moving to $100 – $200, then $300 – $500, then $1000, etc, etc. Don’t get out your blank checks on day 1!

  7. Thanks for this! I’m also surprised by the small amount spent on creating the actual books. I just released my first novel, and I spent a lot on editing and the cover to make sure the product I’m putting out is the best it can be. I see indie authors skimping on editing a lot and it puzzles me. Now, with only one book, I’m not sure how much, if anything, to spend on marketing. I need that money to actually produce the next books. Sometimes in the push for marketing, this seems to get lost in the shuffle. I’m very willing to invest, but just starting out, it’s hard to know what will bring back that ROI.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      I just updated the post to show how many books that editing cost covers 🙂

  8. Carolyn says:

    Professional editing is essential for indie authors. I think the challenge is knowing who to go to. For some writers, even a basic editor will help, because they write with grammar and punctuation errors. But for others who are already accomplished writers, they need only fine tuning or perhaps expert advice on the overall story line. Since anyone can set up a website and offer services, it’s hard to know who is going to provide true value for the money.

    1. victoriamixon says:

      Carolyn, this is so very important for aspiring writers, now in 2015 suddenly more than ever.

      “Since anyone can set up a website and offer services, it’s hard to know who is going to provide true value for the money.”

      You would not believe the number of untrained amateurs suddenly marketing themselves this year as cut-rate copy-editors. I know because their disgruntled ex-clients bring me their manuscripts, in which these amateurs have in many cases actually made things vastly worse: added punctuation errors, introduced improper grammatical syntax, diluted plot twists with amateur ‘forum’-type advice.

      Everything.

      A client came to me recently–a publishing author–who had just been to the Iowa Writers Workshop (the canonical American writing school of the twentieth century) and been taught there to plot wrong by a teacher who simply didn’t know what she was talking about. I re-trained the author, but it cost her time and money to be first taught wrong and then taught right, a criminal waste of her limited resources.

      It is a madhouse out there right now. I’ve written about it a bit in a series on my blog: Modern Publishing, which you can find in my lower right sidebar (http://victoriamixon.com/publishing), a free resource for those looking for a little helpful guidance.

      I specialize in the art and craft of storytelling, not the business, but in my work with clients in the industry I’ve picked up enough to be able to steer writers through the basic shoals.

  9. Tracy May says:

    Thanks for your continuing transparency about the business of publishing. As a full time engineer/manager and also while publishing my poetry (yes, I know….not a growth genre) I can’t tell you how much time I spend explaining to people the concept of investment and return. It’s not as well understood in business as it ought to be, so I guess I ought not be surprised when it isn’t that well understood in an artistic endeavor. Also – great interview on SPP this week. Thanks again!

  10. H A Dawson says:

    Hello Nick My first comment… I admire common sense, I detest over promotion, which I hope implies I engage with your material and content easily!
    I am a British writer in the mystery/suspense/thriller genres, I am limited by my almost non existent budget, but I intend to put my head on the proverbial chopping block in order to promote my hard word. I have just completed my 14th novel, however I am just about to publish my 5th. So there’s always lot of lead time to improve my products. We must think as an outsider with marketing, we are a business, be it in an embryo state. Our attitude to this must be analytical and give TOUGH LOVE for our endeavours. There’s an incredible amount of work to do everytime we publish, we have to preserve our “soulful” efforts. A business has expenditure which is an investment I create quality material it’s time I attracted the right audience, I am in accord and look forward to you reinforcing my beliefs in your next video.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      “We must think as an outsider with marketing, we are a business, be it in an embryo state. Our attitude to this must be analytical and give TOUGH LOVE for our endeavours.” hitting the nail on the head!

  11. N.C Harley says:

    This is amazing! You have to spend money to make money! I have a writing mentor/editor, buy books, some courses plus more and I feel its all valuable to my growth as a writer. It’s only a waste if you believe it. Being an Australian Indie Author I often feel I’m so far away and disadvantaged! Thanks again Nick. I’m Really feeling like you are one the genuine authors!

  12. Betty says:

    Finally have

  13. Betty says:

    Finally have my new computer and my internet straightened out, so I can get in on the conversation. I have a next-to-nothing budget, but that’s okay, because my question was answered as I read through the comments. Start small and then move up. Just like the way we begin to write. Which was really good advice to me when I was battling my come-back from 3 strokes. Also a good thing to write about. A sci-fi sort of subject, for sure. Think t’s publishable?

  14. Antara Man says:

    I am amazed, you only paid $892 for book covers? Did you hire on Elance or maybe Fiverr? What are those courses you payed nearly 2000 bucks for? Copyblogger?

  15. Alan Spade says:

    Thanks for this great blog post!

    Who is your editor?

    Also, I heard that Mailchimp wasn’t the best investment around once you have reached more than 2000 subscribers (I think that was in the comments on Joe Konrath’s blog). Of course, I get that it would be a huge work to learn how to work with a new newsletter partner, redo all the lists, transfer the email addresses to the new service, etc. But perhaps you should ask your accountant whether there is not another service cheaper than Mailchimp for you. $1800 for a year is quite a lot of money, after all (even if I know that you have a very good ROI with it).

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      The cost is comparable to Aweber and the others – to be fair, if you want more comprehensive functionality the top providers (Infusionsoft, Ontraport) are $300+ a month and you get fewer subscribers for that.

      Email services are not something you want to skimp on! There are services that are much cheaper, but you get what you pay for. And seeing as these services directly make you money, you want to make sure you’re getting the best service.

    2. John C. says:

      Yup definitely. Try Sendy. It might be a bit of challenge for most people to setup as it requires AWS storage but cost per 10,000 emails is $200 with Mailchimp whereas it’s only $1 with Sendy. Even with AWS hosting fee it’s still 100 times cheaper. If you need technical help it’s best to find a quality web company. I currently work for one so if you need help like this (and web dev, SEO) just let us know, shoot an email at project@namango.com.

  16. John C. says:

    Glad you know the significance of having a good website Nick. The number for your web dev looks about right, but the company I currently work for would knock $300 off of that for writer/editor clients. If anyone’s interested shoot me an email at project@namango.com or let us know at http://www.namango.com. If you are publishing digital today a professional site is a MUST.

    I’m also interested in learning more about your experience with various editing service providers, like how to find a good editor, etc. Keep up the good work!

  17. Meg Cowley says:

    It’s great to hear you highlight the difference between cost and value, because they really are two completely different entities! Just having the mindset of seeking value instead of looking purely at costs changes so much. It took me a while to realise that.

    I’m at the beginning of my author career – so it’s hard to put a ‘price’ on what it would mean to succeed. But to me, it’s worth what I can afford (whilst still providing a home for my family, food, safety etc) and all the elbow grease in the world. For example, I’m scrimping and saving every penny I have to get my next book edited this summer. I found a great editor who I really click with and whose work is brilliant. Sure, she’s charging a lot of money (which inevitably goes with the territory of getting books edited, to be fair!), but it will be worth every penny for the value she’ll provide.

  18. Susanne says:

    Interesting you spend so much on Facebook ads. I not only had no success with them, many other top authors say it’s a waste of money. Can you go into detail about the type of ads you run that make them worth the money? And are the results trackable? Thanks so much!

    1. Jeynelle says:

      I agree with FB adds being a waste. I specifically targeted my audience and ended up only getting trolled by creepy old guys from a very far away country when I was advertising an English language YA urban fantasy novel. There are many pitfalls I’ve discovered the hard way as an indie, lots of sharks circling promising to give you a massive author reach but as soon as you hand over your money .. bam… nothing. What is needed is more posts like this about the right directions, the trustworthy resources and where to not waste your time and money

  19. Susanne Lakin says:

    Nick, I’d like to know why you spend so much on Facebook ads, and would you detail what kinds of ads you run. I haven’t had much success with them, and neither have many of my author friends. Can you enlighten us to a strategy for that?

  20. Nick, how do you keep editing/cover design costs so low? I find every quote I get for both of these services is at the very least $700 per book.

  21. Kari says:

    To get my career where I want it would be priceless (if I could afford it.) I’d like to know where to put money, vs. putting out money and hoping for the best.

  22. Here is what I think: As an individual who has been self-publishing since 1989 and whose books have sold over 925,000 copies worldwide , I want to puke when I see or hear the term “indie writer” being used. Get away from being trendy or cool. Be a true “individual”, instead. Also forget about all the other trendy stuff like “establishing a brand” and “social media” being essential for success.

    Given my success, I think I know a bit about writing and marketing. As Jack Canfield says, “Results don’t lie.” Of course, marketing is important. In fact, content is king — but promotion is the supreme emperor!

    Here is my best advice for self-published authors who want to sell a lot more copies of their books. Don’t do what the majority is doing. Instead, do the opposite of what the majority is doing.

    One of my favorite bloggers and marketing gurus is Seth Godin. Here are some of my favorite words of wisdom from Seth:

    “It pays to have big dreams but low overhead.”
    – Seth Godin

    “Being average is for losers. Being better than 98 percent of the competition used to be fine. In the world of Google, though, it’s useless. If you are not going to get to #1, you might as well quit right now.”
    — Seth Godin

    “Books work as an art form (and an economic one) because they are primarily the work of an individual.”
    — Seth Godin

    “I am not a brand You are not a brand. You’re a person. A living, breathing, autonomous individual who doesn’t seek to maximize ROI or long-term brand value. You have choices. You have the ability to change your mind. You can tell the truth, see others for who they are and choose to make a difference. Selling yourself as a brand sells you too cheap.”
    — Seth Godin

    Here are a few valuable words of wisdom from others that will help you become a true bestselling author as I am:

    “Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and
    they become more extraordinary because of it.”
    — Robertson Davies

    “It is cruel to discover one’s mediocrity only when it is too late.”
    — W. Somerset Maugham

    “The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”
    — Charles Bower

    “The thing is, you see, that the strongest man in the world is the man who stands alone.”
    — Henrik Ibsen

    “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”
    — Norman Vincent Peale

    “The amount of money you make will always be in direct proportion to the demand for what you do, your ability to do it, and the difficulty of replacing you.”
    — Earl Nightingale

    “It’s better to do a sub-par job on the right project than an excellent job on the wrong project.”
    — Robert J. Ringer

    “In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”
    — Aristotle

    “Do not fool yourself about the benefits of working long and hard hours. The most productive (and smartest) worker is the individual who makes the smallest amount of work go the furthest.”
    — from “Life’s Secret Handbook”

    “He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would have been enough.”
    — Albert Einstein

    “While effort is certainly important for success in any field, effort by itself will get us nowhere. Effort must be directed in the right places. Otherwise effort will show little in the way of positive results and may even get us to the wrong places.”
    — from “Life’s Secret Handbook”

    In short, look to make the smallest move that gives you the biggest gain. That’s what genius is all about. It’s also known as working smart instead of working hard. One last note: What is fashionable today is far from the best way to market your books. I have at least 75 to 100 original creative techniques that I have used over the years to sell over 925,000 copies of my books. I have used similar unique marketing techniques to get 111 books deals with various foreign publishers around the world. My books are now published in 22 languages in 29 different countries for a reason. I know know a hell of a lot about book marketing than the vast majority of people claiming to be book marketing experts.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 300,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and “The Joy of Not Working”
    (Over 295,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  23. Julie Day says:

    I think the first thing to do is to find your niche which you enjoy writing. I finally have. Once you have, then find any opportunities related to it that you can get involved in or find organisations that might help you. Eg I now write children’s fiction about children with Asperger’s Syndrome (I have AS), and have been finding organisations and book people that might be interested in my book because they have connections to Asperger’s and/or autism. Another thing is to find a local library (I live in the UK) and book an event there. You never know who might turn up. I had a book event yesterday and met 2 people who were v interested in my book; 1 who knew people who specialise in books about diversity and the other runs a new organisation helping young people with special needs. I will be following up those leads next week.

  24. You make some very good points Nick. However, I do not have money to risk. Yes, it COULD make me money and I know “it takes money to make money.” But I cannot risk losing that money and not make it back. I paid $150 to a publicist, which isn’t much but it could have paid my cable bill. She promised to get me two book signings and have 10 stores purchase my books. I got nothing in return so it was a total waste of $150.

  25. Crystal Talbert says:

    I get that you have to put money out there if you’re going to have any kind of income in this industry. Unfortunately, not everyone has the money to actually put into it. Should the rest of us just not make any attempt to follow our dreams? Is it only for those who already HAVE money? I have two books published, just recently, and no, they’re not making much money… less than $20 per month, to be honest. However, I also have a husband and two children to consider. I can’t put our resources into this and wait for the return on it, when that marketing could mean the difference in having food or paying rent. Writing is not my job, it’s what I do in any spare time available after I get off work and my children are in bed. I know people don’t actually care to hear about it when there’s NO money for the start up, but there it is. I was offered the opportunity to publish my next book with physical books, rather than just the ebooks I do now, and have them placed in stores. However, I would need to come up with $500 to put down. I can’t do that. So, while some people may believe that we’re being lazy, or that we’re just not trying hard enough, how about remember that we don’t all have spare laying around to play with. Hopefully one day I can do that. But not now and not anytime soon.

  26. Cody says:

    So, I’m very curious to hear a lot more! Personally, I am starting a graphic novel. My artist and myself are almost ready for publishing. The story is finished and she is drawing it up. I just don’t know where to go next. I have a lot of faith in the book(test readings loved the story) I just don’t know which direction to go.

    I do have a very small budget to work with. I just got married a year ago. Bought a new house at the beginning of the year. And a few months back found out my wife is expecting. So, though I have a lot of excitement in my life right now, most of my money is tied up.

    My question is: where should I go next? Small budget, three jobs, no time.

  27. Malixole says:

    Can you guys please help me I am from SA, this is a great post, so powerful, I am very young 21 years, and I wrote so many books, but I can’t publish them, and I’m so willing to do a big job, in books industry, can you please advice about the ways to become the best author, and how to advertise my books so successful my email is malixolesontsi@gmail.com, and my number 0719292523 can you please help me

  28. Dale Brendan hyde says:

    If your on face book
    Type into the search bar
    The ink run
    Go give my debut novel a like
    Follow my progress
    113 Thousand words typed so far
    Published by war cry press
    Released late January
    Look out for it on waterstone & Amazon sites.
    Give the book a like & read my amazing reviews

    My tip

    Advertise any where & everywhere
    You just never know who’s looking
    God bless & good luck to all writers
    Keep plugging away

  29. Natasja says:

    The flaw with this is the assumption that everyone has this amount of money to spend. It is extremely rare for a writer to make six figures, as he claims, and I make maybe a third of his monthly costs per month, most of which goes toward food and bills.
    On top of that, a large percent self-published authors are self-published because they don’t write mainstream or popular genres. That means that not only do they need to do all of the legwork personally, but there are fewer sales.

  30. Rob Munro says:

    I’ve gone down the track of self-publishing one novel of mine (spy thriller – a popular genre) to see how it fares, and so far, not a complete disaster. My total advertising budget to date has been $50, which went towards a company who Tweet to numerous readers on Twitter. I currently have 6 “friends” on Facebook, so anything I post won’t go terribly far just yet, but it’s something I’m continually working on. I have no way to see metrics for sales on Amazon to know whether my book is actually selling and that $50 is going to provide any ROI, and with only 2 sales on Smashwords in a fortnight I’m not terribly excited, but it’s better than nothing. As soon as there is anything coming in from anywhere I’ll certainly be reinvesting it, because I have close to no money and have to be very careful with what comes my way. I am very fortunate in that I can do my own editing, formatting, desktop publishing and cover art, so I’m saving costs there, but not everyone is in that position. I have sent other works to traditional publishing houses because I need to see which direction it will all go in, but it’s a waiting game with those folks whereas self-publishing happens quite quickly.

  31. Tracy Krauss says:

    After reading through the comments, it seems a few folks missed the point. The figures were about the marketing budget, not production or publishing, and the example was meant to show that the return on investment is the key, nnot the size of the budget. I have been guilty of throwing thousands of dollars at marketing and advertising with little return, as well as hundreds of hours doing things that had little result. The real focus is on the word VALUE – something we all needed to hear.

  32. Julia Hughes says:

    At the first whiff of numbers, my mind freezes.
    But I sense you’re giving good advice and try to follow it. I do try.
    Thanks for all the valuable insights and info you give away for free. It’s really appreciated and I’m glad your own writing career’s going great guns. Well deserved success 🙂

  33. Not all marketing and exposure costs a lot of money. http://www.onlinebooks.net.au is a book site that displays the work and finds the buyers. Costs you 40% of sale. If you have copies in your garage, place them on the site and sell them.

  34. If you only had $500 to spend on advertising, where would you spend it?

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