Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rough Getting Paid - Single-book Author Income

How Single-book authors can make maximal passive income without writing another
(Photo: Ruth Sharville)

Some authors have only one book in them - how do they make a living as an author?

These people write and publish (or not) - then move on with their lives. Much like the old Zen koan: "Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water. After enlightement - chop wood, carry water."

Some are lucky enough to become bestsellers in their own life, others - not so much.

Looking these up, we found a veritable list of modern who's who's:
Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
Edgar Allen Poe* - The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Margaret Mitchell - Gone With the Wind
Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man
Boris Pasternak - Dr. Zhivago
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
J. D. Salinger - Catcher in the Rye
Ken Kesey - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Sylvia Plath* - The Bell Jar
Anne Frank - Diary of Anne Frank
Bev Kaufman - Up the Down Staircase
Joseph Heller* - Catch-22
Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha

* Known for other genre's, or actually did write a second novel, much later, and mostly unknown (doesn't count unpublished works).

A much longer list has been compiled at

How publishers discriminate and how to profit anyway

All of these are traditionally published authors. So you know they were already put through the filter which asks: "Will this book repay the costs it requires to print and stock in bookstores?"

Which has meant that less than 3% of all books submitted actually got published - and only one in ten of those were successful enough to pay for the other nine accepted.

In self-publishing, anyone and everyone can have their own story published.

Factually, this has been one of the most popular uses of the Espresso Book Machine - to get a copy (or several) of your own book. Simple to get enough for family and close friends.

While minor, this is one of the reasons the recent DBW survey touts as a reason authors published at all.

(I prefer to consider that the book inside you simply won't let up until you get it out to the world.)

Regardless of why, the how of self-publishing is now a way anyone and everyone can get their story out and available - be it a single work, or multiple.

That also means that every self-publishing author can make income off that book for the rest of their life. Nice world we live in, eh?

Just follow my lead and get some extra, passive income.

This blog lays out the broad strokes (and quite a few specifics) on how any self-publishing author can get publish online and get their book selling. (Plus, it's coming into another book, shortly.)

If you have only one story to bring to the world, then you can simply work up all the peripheral products which go with it, singly or in binders for offer.

Non-fiction works can become paid courses. Shorter, free versions can also get people joining your email list, where you can then offer then valuable and related items so that you can get affiliate income.

Because you work at this, doesn't mean you get taxed the same. Passive income is the lowest taxed category in the U.S. system. Which means that the government really wants you to publish. Affiliate sales are similarly passive income (not that this is any legal definition, just my observation. Consult a professional, etc.)

The point is that you could be having extra income to help with your bills.

You could also build that one book (or several) into enough income from book sales and peripheral products that could make you financially free.

And then retire into obscurity, much as J. D. Salinger and Harper Lee did...

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