A subject that can be kind of divisive for anyone who has published or released something creative in this world and for pretty much everyone else. With that discussion firmly to one side, this is my account of how I crossed $1000 in book royalties for the year 2022. Making any type of income from my books and creativity online crept up on me over the years and while I did spend my time churning out content and publishing with my head down doing the work, eventually my income began to grow.
Before I do dive in, I’ve always believed that creatives deserve to be paid for their work. And its perfectly valid for an artist or any creator to value their work. It is also normal and okay for a creator to aspire towards making a career out of their endeavours – something I one day aspire to do. But that word value is where we shall begin…
Over the years of being published I’ve discovered that having a perceived value for your works is the first step to making money from them. From taking pride in a job done well to the hours you’ve put in to create something from scratch to even your public perception of that work. All of this stuff and the general success of it along with you, revolves around that value. There is a lot more I could say about value, but as long as you are aware of how you conduct yourself online and have pride towards your work, you’ll be fine.
Now, linked rather closely to value is pricing…
That perception and belief of value should drive what you think is a fair price for your work. Pricing for books can be a sometimes tricky thing to master. I’ve tried numerous pricing strategies over the years but my major selling price was in fact my perceived regular price.
Having tried the lowest possible price for my e books via kindle ($0.99) for an extended time didn’t result in many consistent sales but after raising that price (around $2.99) things started moving more frequently. This is part value and psychological towards the potential reader. Low prices can be good for a temporary book promotional boost, but a decent competitive price over an extended time will do good for your sales eventually. Paperbacks are another factor here also and seeing as I used to sell predominantly digital, paperback sales began to rise for me in recent times. This is probably due to fair pricing and value while also because of my rising profile on social media. Having 40,000 Twitter followers does help sometimes but it took a while for me to get there.
With regular sales at regular price, royalties will trickle in consistently and we’re not talking several sales a day here. Just a consistent one or two sales every three or four days will work wonders for that royalty balance trust me. And trust, is a huge factor in this…
Just how does a creative earn trust online? Well it isn’t easy and it takes time, a lot of time. But if you take responsibility in everything you do in the public facing domain of social media, eventually you’ll earn that trust of others. I sell most of my work through social media because I am present and generally pleasant. Decent behaviour sticks out big-time in this day and age. Running parallel to that time I have spent earning trust is consistent creative content…
The Three C’s
Those who know me will also know my guide book is titled Consistent Creative Content and I wholeheartedly believe they are three things any creator needs to succeed. It took me six or so years to release eight books and using my time rather well it has propelled me towards higher royalties. This writer journey is a marathon not a sprint and you may be one or two books in or more, but over time it gets better if you keep going. Readers like choice and if they make a good enough connection with one of your books, they will return for another, so having that option will increase your chances of sales. Backlist really is King and alongside that is another huge factor, promotion…
Book Promotion is a huge umbrella of variety and to the first-time author a rather daunting concept. You can only do what you know how to do at the time of a book release and that’s okay. I’ll admit my book promo methods were limited during the release of my first book and over some years I learned a lot. All of the things I did learn I then applied back to that first release and it is now one of my most successful.
With book promotion and discovering the many methods it involves, this will take time. Generally, I pay for advertising via book promotion websites while also plugging my work online occasionally. My method for regular sales is to focus more on convincing potential readers to be interested in me and then hope they move on to my books – this concept works for me mostly…
I am regularly present on social media. For those who aren’t, advertising takes many forms and if you want serious results then sometimes you have to pay serious money.
BookBub is a promo site that brings fantastic returns and during 2022 a perfect BookBub storm unexpectedly erupted for me. It was during the run-up to the final release in my Order of the Following Series that I managed to grab a coveted featured deal -BookBub’s ‘Holy Grail’ of advertising packages, for the first book in the series. Of course I pounced and put into action everything I’ve learned to ensure maximum sales and KU page reads.
That featured deal happened back in September of 2022 and now in February of 2023 I am still getting page reads, reviews and sales from it.
An effective book promotion, will serve a book for plenty of time after.
Most of my fictional works are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and that gives maximum opportunity for extended royalties from digital downloads. Quantity is key here and if you can sell books in quantity, the money will eventually roll in.
Quick Fire Factors
And so I’ve hopefully laid out the details to reaching a huge royalty milestone. Here are some quick fire factors that helped shape that journey.
Writing in Series – long term but this helps, when my series was complete it became way more lucrative, keep going series writers!
Writing Stand Alone – peppered between those releases in series are stand alone books in a variety of genre and length. This helped me big-time. Remember backlist is King.
Supporting the industry – I regularly review books by fellow authors from my social media connections. This has helped me regularly release reviews that serve as blogging content and is an opportunity to gain trust and friendships from fellow authors.
Social Media Presence – there are a lot of potential readers out there online, spending time with them will drive sales, eventually.
Time is your friend – it takes time to get to anywhere good on a creative journey.
Paid Advertising – to make money you sometimes have to spend money.
Kindle Unlimited – most of my fictional works including my series is enrolled in KU. Those page reads add up if you can reach readers.
Taking this journey seriously – serious results comes from a serious attitude. I am always doing something to help market myself or my stuff online. From blog posts, to reviews, to social media presence to the odd book price promo or advertising.
I’ve tried to be as neutral as possible when highlighting my experiences of making over $1000 is book royalties because like I said at the start, money can be divisive subject. For this account I have homed in on certain subjects that all work in unison to create the perfect recipe for book royalties. You shall find more specific guidance below.
Thank you for reading!
This account was inspired by a recent Patreon Audio Presentation where I talk in detail about my journey. You can find that here.
My Most Recent Guide on Securing a BookBub Featured Deal
A guide to Selling Books on Social Media