Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How much money can you make in Children's books?

If your book becomes a bestselling children's classic and it's self-published, you can rake it in.

A self-published childrens' book author can make lots - if they make a bestseller...

Looked around and found this data from School Library Journal.

On Lulu: a full-color interior, letter-sized, 32-page book costs $7.57 to create. Everything above that is profit. So it's reasonable to say you could make a book which would give you about $10 royalty off each one. If you're letting Amazon and the rest sell it for you, figure maybe half that much. (See below for why "32 pages".)

If you are selling ebooks, Amazon has it pegged at 75% royalty for anything between 2.99 and 9.99. Now, with color images, they'll ding you for how much bandwidth it costs them to send - so figure maybe $7.00 in royalties from a $9.99 book.

Figure an average of about $6 royalty for each book sold, digital or hard-copy.

You can also do an audio book, videos, plush animals, t-shirts, ball-caps, but lets say you just concentrate on self-publishing books on your own.

From Wikipedia, I found these three authors mentioned:
  • In 1949 American writer and illustrator Richard Scarry began his career working on the Little Golden Books series. His Best Word Book Ever from 1963 has sold 4 million copies. In total Scarry wrote and illustrated more than 250 books and more than 100 million of his books have been sold worldwide.
    100 million X $6 = $600 million (roughly.)

  • In 1963, Where The Wild Things Are by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak was published. By 2008 it had sold over 19 million copies worldwide.
    19 million X $6 = $114 million (roughly)

  • American illustrator and author Gyo Fujikawa created more than 50 books between 1963 and 1990. Her work has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7 million copies in the U.S.
    1.7 million X $6 = $10.2 million

Scarry wrote and illustrated more than 250 books (one book per week for 5 years.)

Sendak wrote one book.

Fujikawa wrote 50 - a year's production.

What's the standard for a children's book?

According to Writer's Digest, 
PICTURE BOOKS - The standard is text for 32 pages. That might mean one line per page, or more. 500-600 words is a good number to aim for. When it gets closer to 1,000, editors and agents may shy away.
(Emphasis is mine.)

So it's not unrealistic to expect a single self-publishing author to crank out a book every week, plus do the basic online marketing it would need to jump it up into bestseller range. Once you build a decent list, you'd get all the feedback you needed to tune your next works even closer to what your fans want.

If you can keep up that pace, or even half of that, you should have a hundred or so books out there within 4-5 years from now.

Do you see where this is heading?

Sell a million books, make $8 million.

I've written earlier about how Children's books were so popular that you can't easily find one whose copyright wasn't renewed after 1923. In England, Beatrix Potters books only came out of copyright in 2014.

It should be idiot-simple to write and illustrate some good children's books. Sure, it will take some work learning the ropes. And figure that maybe one out of 10 of your books will sell to begin with. But as they become more popular (and you bundle them into sets) they'll sell more and more. Heck, even at discount prices, you'd still earn several million for each million books sold. Ask Amanda Hocking how it's working for her...

But stick at it, create a ton of them, make a real job of it - and use modern marketing along with email lists...

Meanwhile, this is all passive income. After you've created a hundred books, they continue to sell. Maybe not a million right off, but how about retiring to that ranch you've always wanted - and continue getting paid for the work you did years ago.

You might see, as I do that this is an area which can be highly leveraged.

Yes, this might be the fortune you've been looking for (in all the wrong places.)

Of course, this is just between you and me...

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