Hi again, folks. My last column (October 6) gave you 7 reasons why it’s unlucky for you writers out there to be published by a so-called traditional publisher, such as Random House and Wiley. Here’s part of reason 7:
You won’t get rich as a writer—unless you sell a million copies or more! But an extremely small percentage of books sell a million. So you should be prepared to make almost no money with your book. And if you’re dealing with a dishonest publisher, you won’t know for sure how many books were actually sold. (You could subscribe to Nielsen Book Index. It tells you how many of your books were sold. But Nielsen charges you an arm and a leg.) If you want to know how many copies your book has sold on Amazon.com, Amazon will tell you the rank of your book in terms of sales. Here are 15 rules-of-thumb, which I got from my very knowledgeable friend Dave Smith of Synergy Books:
Rank between 2 and 4 million sales: Amazon is selling fewer than 1 book every 6 months
Rank at 1 million: It’s selling 1 book every 3 to 6 months
500,000 rank: 1-2 books every two months
400,000 rank: 2-4 books every month
300,000: 4-6 books a month
200,000: 6-8 books a month
100,000: 8-10 books a month
50,000: 10-15 books a month
25,000: 15-30 books a month
15,000: 30-50 books a month
10,000: 3-5 books a day
5,000: 5-10 books a day
1,000: 10-20 books a day
500: 20-40 books a day
And if you’re in the top 100, Amazon is selling 40-60 of your books a day. Very few authors make the top 100.
If Amazon sells 50 of your books every day, this means they’re selling 18,250 books a year. If you your royalty is $1.20 per book, this means you’re making $21,900 a year. That really stinks! As I said in an earlier column, the big money is not in book royalties. It’s in personal appearances, where your celebrity as an author makes a lot of people come to your lectures, even if you charge for admission like I do at my seminars and other appearances. People want to see, touch, hear, and even smell a celebrity. (Taste? Probably not.)
People can get all of their sensory gratification up-close at one of your lectures. You can sell them your books at the back of the room. And you can make even more money by selling them the video of your talk. People are willing to pay more than $100 for a video, especially if they can see themselves in the audience. Recording equipment is getting more and more sophisticated, and your video may be available at the end of the event. If not, you can take orders. Get the money up front, then use MediaMail to send them your video.
Have I frustrated you? If not, and if you’re still eager to write your book, please contact me. I’ve got a list of around 4,000 publishers and around 2,000 literary agents. Unduplicated e-mails. Good luck to you. Hey, maybe you will sell a million copies. At $1.20 royalty per book, you’ll make $1,200,000!
Well, those are the 7 most important reasons why I said it’s unlucky to be published by a so-called “traditional” publisher. Here are 5 less important reasons. (At least they’re less important to me. I love to make money. But many authors write books for ego reasons. These are 5 feeding-their-ego reasons.)
8. You’ll Give up all rights to your book for at least 2 to 5 years. That means you can’t sell publication rights to your book to foreign publishers. However, I’ve always kept the foreign rights myself in every contract I’ve signed. I’ve made fairy good money on foreign sales—but that’s because I give a lot of seminars and talks overseas.
9. You can’t contribute to another book or have parts or quotes of your book in any other publication—unless you get your publisher’s permission in writing first. If you’ve got a big ego, this is major problem.
10. Give up most of the control of the content, cover, and editing of your book. Traditional publishers think they know best. When you contact them with suggestions, they get upset.
11. Give up the control of pricing your book, too. Once again, they figure you know nothing about this. You’re just a dumb author.
12. Absorb all the costs of trying to attract a publisher. You can get a quick start by contacting me. As I said earlier, I’ve compiled an e-mail list of around 4,000 publishers and around 2,000 literary agents. Unduplicated names.
Dr. Donald Wayne Hendon is a consultant, speaker, trainer, and author of 14 books, including his latest—Fractured Fairy Tales: Political Monkey Business. It has 35 political satires, each around the length of this column. Similar to Saturday Night Live sketches—but a lot funnier! It’s available now on Amazon and at booksellers such as Barnes & Noble. Other books: The Way of the Warrior in Business, Guerrilla Deal-Making (with Jay Conrad Levinson) and 365 Powerful Ways to Influence. Jay Levinson recently passed away. He specifically chose Don to be his final co-author—the person most qualified to carry the torch of guerrilla marketing into the 21st century. Deal-Making contains the 100 most powerful tactics from 365 Powerful Ways—along with 400 winning countermeasures. There are 121 aggressive tactics, 92 defensive ones, 24 cooperative ones, and 16 submissive ones to get what you want from other people. Plus 81 dirty tricks to watch out for and 31 tactics to prepare you for your interaction with them. Download Chapter 1, free of charge, at www.DonaldHendon.com. Play Don’s free online Negotiation Poker game by going to GuerrillaDon.com. Apps will soon be available.