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How to Make Money from Writing a Book

While most writers will love what they do, assuming that they publish purely for the love of it would be optimistic at best. We all want to make money and writers in most cases are no different. As a writer, you'll want to recoup enough to cover your time and initial outlay at worst, hopefully earning a good amount of profit from book sales in the ideal scenario. So how exactly do we make money from     writing a book?                                                                                                                          As an author, you have two options if you're wondering how to make money from writing a book. You can either use a traditional publishing house or go down the route of self-publishing your book. What are the differences and which will make you more money? These are the questions that most of you will have so we’ve tried our best to answer them and hope you’ll learn enough to decide which direction you'd prefer.

How Much Can You Make When Using a Publishing House?

Should your first manuscript be picked up by a traditional publisher, you’ll find that it's pretty standard to get a deal in the region of:

- An advance of between £3-7k

- A percentage of any book sales between 6-10%

- A percentage of any eBook sales between 20-30%

This would mean that in the event that you managed to get picked up by a publisher and sell 5000 of your books at a price of £10, you're going to get a 6-10% share of £50k, so between £3000-5000. The problem is, selling that many books is not an easy thing to do, while even that level of earnings from book and ebook sales will come over the lifetime of the book rather than in a short amount of time.

A conservative estimate for a first-time author may be closer to 2000 copies, so using the sums above, you're looking at a 6-10% share of £20k, which works out at something between £1200-2000. That doesn't sound all that great does it? Plus, when you take out taxes on the advance you were given, and costs for the editor, graphic designer, and marketing specialist that the publishing house may well bill you for, you're not actually left with much of that, especially when you consider how long it likely took you to write. 

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How Much Can You Make When Self-Publishing?

A self-published package would look something like:

- No initial advance

- 50-100% of book sale profits

The first thing to note about self-publishing your book is that you're going to be able to keep the majority of your profits and in some cases, (like with us at Type & Tell) all of them. If we were to use the same sales figures as we did with our publishing house sums, but give you 100% of your book sales profits, with 1,000 sales you're going to get £10,000, minus only your chosen Type & Tell package and the print run and/or Print on Demand costs.


There has never been a better time to be a self-publishing author. New, high-quality digital printing technology means that any book can be created quickly, affordably and professionally. . . 

. . . While digital publishing has opened up the world. Information about your print and ebooks can now reach readers in retailers around the globe at the click of a button.

Straight away, you can see that you're going to make a lot more money through self-publishing, particularly after the initial investment, as you only pay us for the publishing package once but keep all of your income for future sales as long as the book is being bought, minus the obvious printing and delivery costs

Publishing with Type & Tell will include additional features such as professional formatting, ISBN purchase and copyright registry with the British Library as standard, while packages can also include features such as editing help, cover design and distribution support. Simply choose which option suits you best.

If you’re confident in the potential of your book, you can actually make much more money through self-publishing than you would with a publishing house, especially in the long run. Not to mention that many of us aren’t guaranteed to be accepted by a publisher, so self-publishing puts the control back in your hands.

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So Which Method to Choose for Publishing?

This really comes down to your own personal preference. If you feel that you can attract the attention of a publishing house and the infrastructure they bring, you could attempt that, especially if you’re confident that after your first book you'll be able to negotiate better terms.

But if you're ready to make use of the range of links that a self-publishing service like Type & Tell can provide, it can make for a fantastic option. If you’re happy to work through the book process with us, and put forward an initial amount for a print run to secure 100% of your physical book and ebook sales, then self-publishing is an option you should definitely consider.

For more information on beginning your self-publishing process, contact us at Type & Tell today.