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How Much Money Do You Make Publishing Your Books?

Perhaps a domestic tale answers this question better than me. My Thai partner always smirks when she sees me working on my books and asks me, “So, Jon, you want to “kat thum” again? “Kat thum” is Thai for “make a loss”. I nod glumly, swallow my pride, and bury my head in my computer.

The truth is that despite a small sum coming into my UK bank account from Amazon every month I do indeed “kat thum”. I have to outsource some things I just can’t seem to do. I sometimes buy books for book promotions that don’t work out for me. (Everyone hates me and my books on that day.) I bury my head in the sand so much that I forget key events like visa renewals in Thailand and get fined by grinning Thai immigration officials. You name it, I get “kat thumed” it!

With thousands of books out there and thousands more coming out every week it’s not easy. I imagine if you raked for the startling statistics you’d find Amazon/books alone has five, seven, ten million titles filed away? Truth is there are too many books out there and too few readers. With videos, youtubes, Fbookers, Twitteratures, families, work, eating, and sleeping, it’s a wonder the average person even finds time to open a book, put it down, and say, “No time for that!”

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And to make my point even more succinctly, I’m not a best-selling author and I don’t think I give that much pleasure to my readers.

So, why do I do it? To “kat thum” or for other reasons? Answer is I like writing, I’ve written a lot, I want to get it off my chest, it’s self-fulfilling, and it makes me feel good. Yes, sorry, that when you pick up “Love And Other Afflictions” or read a title like “Great Tits I’ve Known And Other Species” you want to groan with the weight of it all but it’s not my fault if I’ve written it / them. Or is it?

a brick

Many a moon ago I taught English conversation to an Italian advertising executive and I mentioned “The Betrothed” (1827) by Manzoni as an example of a great Italian novel. I didn’t expect him to groan but groan he did. “That brick!” he exclaimed, disgustedly.

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Yes, we authors are producing too many bricks but what can we do if, obsessed by writing, we’ve been given a free platform to publish them on called the God Almighty Amazon?

What do you think?

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9 Comments

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  1. Thanks for all your comments, and it does seem that reading is not being done in the same way as before. Lots of people seem to go for brevity and maybe a tablet or reading device is more cumbersome than a book (for various reasons). I still find holding a book easier than reading from my Kindle.
    Yes, it does seem we end up not being able to do everything! It’s great to be passionate about what we do.
    And as for Paul’s brick, I’ve seen bricks fly!

  2. I had a friend who self-published a book. It was on Amazon for a few months. He never edited the book. It was absolutely terrible, but he keeps writing! I’ll have to check your books out! I make time for reading and always have. You learn so much from the written word of others.

    • I agree about learning from the written word. It’s a process that is slow but sinks in. You have to take time, do it yourself, but the more we read the more we are likely to understand this strange process – like deposits, like a type of evolution in a person’s life.

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