The fallacy of making a fortune out of self-publishing.


E L James has made a reported US$50M from her Fifty Shades Of Grey series of books, so is self-publishing now the new money making goldmine for aspiring wealth hunters? As a first time self-published author, I can safely conclude that it’s not.

It’s a fairly safe bet that in any guide to the top ten ways of making money self-publishing wouldn’t be one of them. It wouldn’t even make a list of the top 100 ways. For every E L James there are a million frustrated self-published authors wondering ‘when am I going to be discovered?’ I know. I’m one of them, having just self-published my first novel, A Matter of Life and Death.

Of course, like many self-published authors I can claim that my writing is inspired by the need to create and inspire – art for art’s sake – rather than earning a good financial payback from it, but who am I kidding? At least I’ve had my first royalty cheque, which shall we say was ‘modest’ (and that’s ignoring what it cost me to get my novel on to the market in the first place). At the current rate of sale I calculate I should break even around 2017.

So why self-publish?