All-Purpose Writing Thread!


Do you think?

I have always thought ebooks and self publishing was a great opportunity to find readers, even if it’s not the mega success of my dreams. I agree that it’s as hard as ever to support yourself with writing, but do you really think it’s the same as traditional publishing and its gatekeeper mentality?


I suspect he simply meant in terms of financial success it was similar. Either way you go you are not likely to make much money.

That said, if you enjoy writing why not self-pub? You may not make much but you may make something, and some writers do get lucky and make quite a bit.

I think if you had jumped on it when Amazon first opened the gates, you could have done well. Readers were hungry for new voices and cheap books, so a lot of those early writers made good money.


I have self published a few things under a fake name. The sales generally sucked, but not as bad as I thought. I did zero promotions. I also think having a larger body of work helps.

The chief problem with self publishing is to do it even sort of well requires an outlay for an editor and a cover designer. The cover design may not be bad. Some designers offer one-off designs that you can buy and plug in your info. But going through that process is a daunting and expensive task for the hobbyist writer.


I use this guy’s pre-made covers:

He is a designer and he’s pretty talented. It’s like $30 a cover, which is hard to get back in royalties alone, especially with one book, but it’s not that expensive that it’s out of reach. I usually wait for a sale, which he has a few times a year. The big downside of pre-made covers is that you can’t really illustrate the story you’ve written on the cover. You pretty much have to pick one that captures the thrust of your story, but not the particulars.

You can also do your own covers, which isn’t that hard, but it’s hard to do well.


Yes, exactly.

See the Bigfoot author cited earlier. I read reports where she was earning 5 figures in boom months. Yep, months. I’m pretty sure that’s correct, but I’m too lazy to google right now (and I’m at work).


It’s almost like playing the slots. Someone, sooner or later, is going to hit a jackpot. If you price your book at $3.99 you make $2.80 per sale. If you can manage to sell a few thousand you will make some nice money. Most writers enroll in Kindle Unlimited now and get paid by the page read, however.


Mostly this is what I meant. Yes, without a gatekeeper you get to hold a book in your hands or on a device instead of rejection letters. But for both trad and self publishing, reaching a wide audience is success that only a few find. And by success I mean, you can quit your day job. If success for you means you sell hundreds of copies and have beer money – that’s great too. But many enter self-pub hearing of the few wild success stories and thinking that it’s easier, which it isn’t.


Just like all the people who think they are going to make big money by creating a website and selling stuff.

Selling ebooks could be a good retirement job. It would give you something to putter around with. You could write pulp fiction, learn to make your own covers, run a blog, manage an email list, etc. You might not ever make much money but it could be entertaining.


This is my plan exactly. Just for fun. I already have one novel self-published, a mailing list and website. But when I retire in (hopefully) 6 or so years, I will focus on ramping it up. For beer money.


You can even have some fun with marketing, tinkering around with Facebook ads and such. It costs a bit of money but you can cap what you spend.


A good resource for authors is the 20 Books to 50K group on Facebook. It’s a huge group, and there is a LOT of info to take in. The main focus of the group is how to succeed as an indie author. The idea is in the title. If you have 20 books out, you can probably make $50K a year. Now, that was true a few years ago, but there is a lot more competition and smart marketers out there. Ironically, a lot of that competition has ramped up thanks to the 20 books group.

I’ve attended the 20 Books conference the last two years in Vegas, and they were pretty incitement. Plus, it’s nice to meet authors who make 6-figures a month.

I find that I can keep making money by putting out a lot of content and writing to market.

Another great resource are the Chris Fox books on Amazon. He has a whole series dedicated to working as an indie.

Just some random thoughts for Monday.


Years ago (must have been), a QT3-er posted that he finally self-published a novel and it was on Kindle Unlimited. The book was Dark Winter: The Great Divide Game under the name C.S. Maxwell. I can’t find a trace of the book now on Amazon or with multiple search engines, nor can I find the original post linking the book (with what must now be a dead link, although I did find an Amazon review page).

After it sat on my iPad for many many months, I finally read it today, straight through. I just wanted to let the author know that while it was a bit rough around the edges with some typos and formatting issues, I liked it quite a bit. A good read with some interesting ideas.


Huh. Strange that it could vanish from the web like that. I do find a facebook page for a C. S. Maxwell who seems to be an author, but no update since 2015.


It might have been unpublished or blocked by Amazon. @Miramon he might have only published it on Amazon, which isn’t that unusual. It’s the majority of the market right now for indies, I’m pretty sure.


Not impossible, if it wasn’t much marketed and didn’t get reviews on other sites or mentions. Still would have expected to find some old tweets or something… Oh, well, no doubt my first novel will be much like that later this year, because the small press probably won’t do very much to promote it.


Oh yeah, I should say that my WWI-era historical fantasy novel Twilight Patrol will be coming out from Alban Lake Publishing some time later in 2019. More about it when there’s an official announcement or a cover to show or something like that, in a few months, I expect.


Congratulations! It’s really special to see your own name on a spine. I wish you many more.


Belated congrats! That’s very exciting.

Meanwhile, Humble has a bundle for aspiring writers:


A reading of my story The Gaia Hypothesis was posted to YouTube today by the Centropic Oracle!