Profit: Where do authors get the money to cover their costs?

Aug 2, 2022 | Profit

I’m a ghostwriter and a book writing coach. My clients hire me because they want to create the best possible book. They know their subject matter, but they don’t know how to put a great book together. They hire me because I’m a professional writer and because I bring experience and knowledge of publishing to the project.

Ghostwriting and coaching are only two kinds of costs. If you’re a self-publishing author, there will be many other costs, too. So, the real question is, “how do you make a profit from your book?”

Write a best seller

Obviously, if you write a blockbuster bestseller, you’ll make enough money to cover your costs and then some. Just don’t count on it.

According to Steve Piersanti, the average book sells about 250 copies per year and less than 3000 total. Even with a huge markup, you won’t make much money that way.

Writing a super high-quality book isn’t enough, either. You can write the best book the world has ever seen, but without savvy marketing, you’re likely to have a ton of unsold books and an empty wallet.

This isn’t a quick fix. You need to dig the well long, long before you’re thirsty. If you want to know what the process looks like, read Becky Robinson’s excellent book, Reach.

Make “invisible” sales

“Invisible” sales are book sales that don’t show up on any bestseller list anywhere. Many of my clients sell their books directly. A few of them create opportunities for bulk sales.

Since they’re subject matter experts who’ve written a book, my clients are invited to give speeches and workshops. They routinely sell a book for everyone who attends. You’ll also find their books in conference bookstores and sold through association web sites.

Imagine your costs as investments

My most successful clients don’t think in terms of recouping their costs. Instead, they think of what they spend getting their book done as an investment. They’re writing their books to improve their reputation and increase their fees and the quality of their clients.

And that’s where the real success happens. If you invest the time, energy, and money to produce a great book that you market effectively and aggressively, your costs will be repaid many times over.


Most of my clients hire me to help them create the best book possible.

The average book sells about 250 copies.

Savvy marketing can increase sales.

Dig the well way before you’re thirsty

Invisible (to the best seller lists) sales can do the trick.

Consider the cost of the book as an investment.

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