What percentage of published books break even, make a profit?

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Post by Guest »

Let me see your opinions and experiences.

Post by Nick »

I don't get all this 'minus time spent writing book' being bought into the equation. Writing is not like a normal factory job where you clock on or off, it is an artistic passion surely? Anytime someone buys one of my books, even if it is one book, even if only 300 people read a short story published in a magazine, that is me in profit!

Post by Jayson »

traditionally published? very few.

Independently published? even less.

Ever heard of a starving artist? Do you know what writing is? it is an art.

I don't know the statistics, but lets do a simple breakdown.

Lets say it takes 1 year from writing the first word until you are ready to sell. Lets not even talk about editing costs, book covers, marketing. Lets not look at any cost other than time put in to calculate for a ROI (return on investment).

For the self published you might take home 40% of the retail price of a book and if traditionally published usually closer to 10%

Lets say you need to cover 20k a year to consider that a profit for working on a book for that year. How many units would that be?

for the 10% royalties- believe it or not- thats probably about 10,000 units priced at 20$ per (so 2 dollars in royalties per unit sold)

for the indie author, if they ca sell their book for $20 and get a 40% return, they get about 8 dollars per sale. That still means they need to clear about 2500 units.

And this is to make 20k a year. I couldn't leave a day job for that amount of money. Maybe double that would afford me a chance at a years salary.

this is ignoring the costs of editing (at least 1k), cover design (500), formatting (200), marketing (??? but a lot).

This is simply talking about breaking even on the project.

Now if you sell 100,000 units- obviously you are doing pretty good. If you are one of the greats and sell millions - then easily forgetaboutit. But as you can see in many writing groups, people have a hard time selling a book for free.

So within an oversaturated market, how many authors do I think are breaking even, much less making a profit?

If it is 5% I'm surprised.

Do I intend to be the 5%? of course. I'm going to be the 1%. I'll see you in my private jet! vroom vroom. BUT if you think this is going to be a "get rich quick and easy" route- the data doesn't lean in the favor of most.
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