How to Maximize Your Income as an Indie Author

Some authors aim to publish their work just to “get it out there,” and profit isn’t the goal of their endeavors. Other authors seek to make a business out of publishing their books. If one of your goals for your book is to use it to make money, then this post is for you.

Tip 1: Create a book people will want to read.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but for those of you still in the planning stage, it’s important to consider what people want to read versus what you want to write. There’s nothing wrong with writing from the heart, but if your primary goal is to turn a profit, then approach your project as a businessperson would. Don’t just wing it. Use data and research to determine what people are most interested in reading, and then use that to direct your writing.

What genres are most popular? What topics are trending in your chosen genre? What are readers saying they want to see more/less of in that genre? For nonfiction, what problems are people facing, and what unique solutions or angles do you have to offer? For fiction, what tropes should you avoid, and what subjects should you include? Look up the bestsellers in your chosen genre. What are people saying they liked or didn’t like about them? What can you do to make your work stand out enough to attract readers’ attention while still staying within the parameters of their wants or needs?

The answers to these questions vary from genre to genre, so do your research. It helps to read popular books in your genre of interest to explore different tones, styles, and techniques, as well as to get a feel for the competition.

Tip 2: Skip the middlemen.

For those of you debating how to self-publish, you should avoid self-publishing companies, “hybrid” publishers, or any entity that publishes your book for you. Many of these companies take a cut of your royalties. When entering into a contract with any of these companies, you might even find yourself signing away rights to your book…and later regretting it.

True self-publishing means the author is the publisher, assuming all the costs and responsibilities of a traditional publisher and retaining all the profits from book sales. That’s the best way to get the most out of your book. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Experts such as those here at 1106 Design will help you produce a quality book, set up printing and distribution in your name without taking any of your book sale revenue, and offer plenty of advice on how to be a successful author.

This tip also applies to how you sell your book. It’s important to distribute to retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but be aware that you lose a portion of your revenue by using such middlemen. Because of this, it helps to have another means of selling books that will allow you to retain all of your profits minus the cost of printing and, possibly, shipping. Selling through your author website will help you facilitate this. To learn how, click here.

Tip 3: Use your resources wisely.

Every business has expenses. This is true when it comes to self-publishing, as well. But there’s a difference between investing your money and wasting it. As an author, you’ll find a lot of services out there. Know which ones you need and which ones you don’t. For instance, it’s wise to invest in a legitimate editor, but paying for reviews may not be necessary.

Also beware of scammers and sub-par services. It pays to research a company before deciding to shell out money to them. Usually, putting in a company’s name (or an individual’s name) followed by “scam,” “complaints,” “con,” “rip-off,” or “lawsuit” will reveal whether you should avoid them. Don’t hesitate to ask supposed “professionals” what experience they have and what all you’d be getting for your money.

Tip 4: Invest in quality services.

This tip almost goes hand in hand with tip 3. Services such as editing, proofreading, typesetting, and cover design, to name a few, are necessary to create a professional-grade product. When done right, these services will help your book sell, and you’ll have a better chance of making a return on investment. If you can’t afford them now, they’re worth saving up for.

Readers are more likely to spend their money on quality products. Not only that, but allowing yourself to publish low-quality work reflects poorly on you as an author. You should respect yourself and your readers enough to make your work the best it can be. If you’re hoping to earn a profit from your work, don’t cut corners. Do it right the first time; readers will be more likely to buy your next book and leave positive reviews that will encourage others to buy from you.

Tip 5: Learn how to market yourself and your book effectively.

Even if you pay someone else to market your book, you should take time to connect with your audience. Readers love being able to connect with authors they like and learn firsthand about new books, events, and giveaways. Once you have them, keep your fans engaged. Make yourself accessible through social media, your website, and/or newsletters. When appropriate, mention your work and how those interested can go about purchasing it. At 1106 Design, we offer marketing consultation packages that cover the ins and outs of book marketing so you can take your marketing game to the next level.

These are just a few general tips to help you maximize your income. Depending on what part of the publishing process you’re dealing with now, you may only be able to utilize a few of these tips, but keep this in mind: Whatever stage you’re at in your publishing journey, 1106 Design is here to help. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us whenever is most convenient for you.

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