Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 38558 times)  

Offline Jana DeLeon

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #100 on: March 19, 2015, 01:48:59 PM »
It also takes into account number of product offerings, historical sales, current sales, velocity of sales, Likes on author page, page views of books, books wish listed, etc. The algos are very sophisticated. It's not a simple thing to assess.

But the answer to your question is "a lot."
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Offline Marian

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #101 on: March 19, 2015, 01:55:15 PM »
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P



You made me laugh! Thank you.

Offline AJStewart

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #102 on: March 19, 2015, 01:56:51 PM »
This is probably helpful. My author rank, on Amazon, this month, has ranged from a high of 14,000 to a low of 26,000, but the average has probably been around 16,000. Thus far, this month, I've made around $3300 from all the Amazons put together. Granted, I have 7 books for sale, so that might skew things some.
Annie, as with most everything you post here, this is helpful. And I don't think your 7 books skews things, I think it serves to make the point. You keep putting work out, you think about how to market, you tweak covers etc and you think about how what you are writing is being accepted by the market. There are no guarantees because no two books are the same, but there are signpost actions that successful writers do to put the odds on their side. And although we all have own ideal of success, I think you fit that category (but may it get much better for you!).

Offline ellenoc

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #103 on: March 19, 2015, 02:26:24 PM »
Thanks, Joe, for the laugh.

Thanks, Camille, for the dose of reality.

Let me be another to address the "hobby" thing. Earning $20,000 or $200 a month or year doesn't make one's writing a hobby. Someone who labors 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job isn't pursuing a hobby because she doesn't make a fortune. Amount earned isn't what defines hobby vs. job, profession, line of work. Things like intent and approach make the difference. Even the IRS recognizes that.

I'm one of the retired folks referenced above. I've made a low of $1,000 a month and high of $7,000 a month since early 2010 with my writing. It's a part time job that pays much better than what I'd earn from any other part time job I could get, assuming I could even get one at this age.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #104 on: March 19, 2015, 02:40:12 PM »
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

I'd like you to know that I logged into this site for the first time in months just so I could report your post. 

You can argue for the aesthetic superiority of what ever you write all you want.  At least have the decency to do it while not engaging in ad hominem attacks.

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #105 on: March 19, 2015, 02:42:25 PM »
Annie, as with most everything you post here, this is helpful. And I don't think your 7 books skews things, I think it serves to make the point. You keep putting work out, you think about how to market, you tweak covers etc and you think about how what you are writing is being accepted by the market. There are no guarantees because no two books are the same, but there are signpost actions that successful writers do to put the odds on their side. And although we all have own ideal of success, I think you fit that category (but may it get much better for you!).

Aw, thanks for your kind words!

Amazon is a small part of my income, too, at least this month. It's usually around 45%. This month, it's more like 25%. I have no idea why - it's just one of those things.

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Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #106 on: March 19, 2015, 02:46:29 PM »
Author rank takes more into account than just sales, so you can't base anything on that except that those in the Top 100 are probably making a darn good living.

I totally agree that many people are writing the wrong thing. That statement has nothing at all to do with genre. It simply means they're not taking into account their individual talent and making it mesh with the current market. It is possible to write what you want and make it more commercially viable at the same time.

As for the $25k a month thing, I could easily name over 100 authors that make that and much more. If you take into account everyone who has ever published a book, then the percentage making big money is very low, but if you compare the big earners only to a pool of authors pursuing writing as a business they would like to support them, my guess is that percentage goes up considerably.

Making a living is a horrible description to ever use as comparison. For some, making a living is $20k and they're quite happy. For others, they left high paying positions to write and $20k a year wouldn't cover their mortgage. It's a very individual thing. When someone implies that 1 or 2k a month isn't good money, they are speaking from the position of their own financial obligations. They're not making a judgment about anyone else's earnings.

btw This is my published name, books are in sig, feel free to KindleSpy me. :)

This x100000.

2k a month is decent money, but I'm supporting my elderly parents, and, to a certain extent, my sister. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to do that if I made 2k a month. Everyone's different, and have different needs and goals. :)

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #107 on: March 19, 2015, 02:52:50 PM »
I've said this before, but I'll say it again because, well, why not. I don't think you necessarily have to "study the market" and write to current trends, etc., to make a living. I know lots of folks doing well in non-current-trend areas, including within romance.

BUT it's good to be realistic about it. For me, I look at it this way: I do think one reason I've done well is precisely BECAUSE I didn't study the market and write to it. I think I sell because of my voice and my style--a much more realistic-style romance than is popular right now. Because that's what I write well. I don't have the writing chops to adapt and write something that's so far off of my style and voice--angsty, dark NA or paranormal erom or billionaire BDSM, the three things that come to mind as probably the top-selling indie trends at the moment. I can literally only write what I want to write. Those are the only stories my brain will bring forth.

If I COULD do that, and if I could write shorter and faster and all the rest of it, might I make more? Maybe. Probably. If I COULD do that well. But, bottom line--I don't want to. I, like many others, got into this business because I had stories I wanted to tell, specific stories told my way. That I make money at it is a lovely thing, but a fringe benefit. Basically, I just want to not have to get a real job.

But I'm also always branching out. I think it's really tempting, if something's working, to keep doing more of that. But there are lots of kinds of things I want to write, ways to keep my own spark alive. And besides, tastes change. I can't tell you how many authors I've seen, just in the 2-1/2 years I've been published, who were big when I started. But they only wrote one kind of thing, or they abandoned the thing they were good at in order to write the hot-new-indie-thing, and they've really fallen by the wayside. It's really hard, too, if your books are selling, to tell WHY they are selling. Is it the writing? Is it that you've found a good niche? It's taken me a while to get any kind of handle on that. It's hard for others to give advice, because it's hard to see all the elements that go into a successful author's career--other than that they write books people want to read, which is perhaps the most difficult-to-pin-down thing of all.

For me--last year was a GREAT year. This year is my year of taking chances, all sorts of chances. What I write, and how I publish it. I've discovered that I'm pretty good at romantic suspense, so I'm alternating now between feel-good lighter stuff and more emotional romantic suspense, and that's really fun and keeps me eager and wanting to write.

Being eager to spend my days doing my favorite thing--that's worth a lot.

So--I guess it depends what you want to get out of this. But if you go into it as a moneymaking scheme--well, it's worked for some people, but they still tend to be people who write very well and have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to work very hard. As, I think, most people who are successful indie authors are.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 03:02:08 PM by Rosalind James »

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #108 on: March 19, 2015, 03:09:32 PM »
Here's the thing:

If I'd needed to make $100k+ a year, I would have gone to law school.  Yes, you can make a lot of money at writing, but as with any entrepreneurial effort, there is no security there.  There never has been, never will be.  Odds are if you are making more money than you ever have made before your income won't stay that way.

So if you NEED it, and that need is not temporary, then you need to shore up that income with some kind of extra security.

Your best bet is to do serious money management.  Save, invest, take care with expenses.  And do not take on debt.  Especially credit card or variable rate debt.  And "passive" income -- from books you've already written, or investments, or other things -- can be a godsend when you are struggling.  Imho, it's always good to build up as few low-maintenance income streams as possible.

And for investment, I really like using a Roth IRA, because it simplifies taxes, and you can, in an emergency, take as much money out as you put in without penalty. (You just can't take out the gains -- which there won't be much of you keep taking out the capital.)

Camille

Offline Annie B

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #109 on: March 19, 2015, 03:28:20 PM »
Heh, I wouldn't go to law school if you want to make 100k+ a year. Law jobs are extremely hard to get these days. I have multiple lawyer friends who either can't find work or are working for 40k a year just because it was all they could get.

Passive income from books is great. However, it does die out after a while, so if you make 300 a month on a book for the first few months, don't count on it making 300 a month forever. It won't, not without promo help and/or more books directly related to it.

Offline Moist_Tissue

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #110 on: March 19, 2015, 03:30:43 PM »
Yeah. I have a law degree, graduating just before the market tanked. I know there was a surge of law school students and graduates during the financial slump. Now there are a whole bunch of people with JDs who are employed in non-legal fields. I'm in that position.
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Offline Boyd

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #111 on: March 19, 2015, 04:01:18 PM »
As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

This is the exact phrase I wanted to re-highlight about the dismissive attitude towards erotica/romance.

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #112 on: March 19, 2015, 04:02:09 PM »
Heh, I wouldn't go to law school if you want to make 100k+ a year. Law jobs are extremely hard to get these days. I have multiple lawyer friends who either can't find work or are working for 40k a year just because it was all they could get.

Passive income from books is great. However, it does die out after a while, so if you make 300 a month on a book for the first few months, don't count on it making 300 a month forever. It won't, not without promo help and/or more books directly related to it.

When I said that, I wasn't saying that anybody who wants to make good money should go to law school, I'm saying I would have gone to law school.  I.e. my background, skills and knowledge would have made tax law and accountancy law the best bet for me to make six figures or more.  Furthermore, my plan wouldn't just to be to jump into a great job -- it would be a lot more complicated than that, and would most certainly involve a lot of investment (just as my teaching and publishing careers involved).

And for all that there are poor job markets in the world of law, that's nothing compared to the ups and downs of publishing. The thing about any profession (but especially professions like law) is that it might be tough to start, but your experience as you move forward does make you steadily more secure.  If you do fabulously well as a lawyer, and don't bungle it, that has a permanent positive effect on your career.

This is not true of writing.  You can be super hot stuff for four or five years, and you still have to reinvent yourself when things crash.  And things WILL crash.

And no matter how bad the job market, if you have a law degree and the goal of making a large income, you are much more likely to hit six figures or more for a significant portion of your overall lifetime than writing will do for you.

I'm not complaining about this at all.  I love that about publishing  -- I CHOSE publishing over anything else.  But a whole lot of people are not ready for it when those massive ups and downs hit. They have a false equivalency in mind about how the risks of publishing are just like the risks of, say, a law career.

The great thing about publishing, though, is that if you are smart about it, the risks themselves are ... less risky. That is, your risk of failure or of losing what you've gained are higher, but unless you are foolish, you are not going into debt.  Law school and Med school (and any kind of school) may involve a lot of debt, even if you are careful about how much you take on.

And, just as some people who go into law are more likely to succeed than others (because of background, knowledge, skills and talents) the same goes for a publishing career.  The kind of writing you want to do, the kind you're good at, your overall tolerance of risk, your "entrepreneurial spirit" -- all those things will affect your upside (and downside).

But all the same, if you're flying high in publishing -- invest your money, save it, do  not go into debt.  Seriously.  Take care of that money while you've got it.

Camille

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #113 on: March 19, 2015, 04:03:16 PM »
Here's the thing:

If I'd needed to make $100k+ a year, I would have gone to law school.  Yes, you can make a lot of money at writing, but as with any entrepreneurial effort, there is no security there.  There never has been, never will be.  Odds are if you are making more money than you ever have made before your income won't stay that way.

So if you NEED it, and that need is not temporary, then you need to shore up that income with some kind of extra security.

Your best bet is to do serious money management.  Save, invest, take care with expenses.  And do not take on debt.  Especially credit card or variable rate debt.  And "passive" income -- from books you've already written, or investments, or other things -- can be a godsend when you are struggling.  Imho, it's always good to build up as few low-maintenance income streams as possible.

And for investment, I really like using a Roth IRA, because it simplifies taxes, and you can, in an emergency, take as much money out as you put in without penalty. (You just can't take out the gains -- which there won't be much of you keep taking out the capital.)

Camille

Erm, I did that. I was a lawyer for 11 years. I HATED IT. Hated every second of it. When I moved to California, I gave it up, because I had no desire to take the bar out here, so I ended up  working as  a low-paid freelancer, making around $10,000 a year. And was MUCH happier for it.

I would never go back to law. Ever. Couldn't pay me enough. I'm fortunate that, so far, this writing gig has provided me with twice as much as I ever made as a lawyer, and has made me 10,000,000 times happier.

But one thing is for sure. If this all goes away, and people stop buying my books, I won't take the bar here in California. I'd sooner sell myself on the street, LOL.

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Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #114 on: March 19, 2015, 04:08:24 PM »
Erm, I did that. I was a lawyer for 11 years. I HATED IT. Hated every second of it. When I moved to California, I gave it up, because I had no desire to take the bar out here, so I ended up  working as  a low-paid freelancer, making around $10,000 a year. And was MUCH happier for it.


Which was exactly my point.

Camille

Offline Annie B

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #115 on: March 19, 2015, 04:26:54 PM »
I agree you have to be smart as a freelancer and put away money to cover the thin times. But I don't agree at all that just because you make money now means you won't later, so don't worry too much about making money now. Constantly looking for ways to maximize income and income streams will have a positive long-term effect.  There is no way to have money in the future without also making it in the present at some point, after all. Years of not making money won't magically turn into having money. You have to earn it somehow, which means that at least at some times in your present career days, you will need to bring in the bacon. Paying attention to top sellers in your genre and what they are doing is a great way to do that. Listening to people who admit they don't sell, never sold, and haven't made much money/built a real audience is probably not a good way to go about it (other than learning from their mistakes, which can be helpful).

As for making money with writing, yes, many will fail. Just like most small businesses fail and for a lot of the same reasons. Doesn't mean you'll fail though, or that if you do, you will keep failing (as long as you learn from why you failed and don't repeat it, heh).

So yes, most who try writing will fail before they even get off the ground, for a whole host of reasons. Not finishing. Not publishing. Bad storytelling (this is #1 fail reason among those who do finish and publish, in my opinion). Bad covers. Bad editing. Poor genre choices. Poor understanding of reader desire. Poor marketing or poor marketing decisions. Tons of ways to fail.

But plenty of ways to succeed, too.

Offline dalya

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #116 on: March 19, 2015, 04:28:30 PM »
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.

Offline Annie B

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #117 on: March 19, 2015, 04:29:25 PM »
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #118 on: March 19, 2015, 04:34:02 PM »
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.
I don't agree. Plenty of people sharing exactly what they're doing, marketing-wise. Plenty of them. Authors are some of the most generous professionals out there.

And I agree with NoCat's post above, too, about the typical ways people fail. And that the fact that many people fail doesn't mean that you can't succeed. Also, failing for a while and learning can lead to success down the road. Maybe you improve your covers. Maybe you improve your storytelling, your editing, your blurbs, your marketing plan. Lots of ways to improve.

Offline Peter Spenser

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #119 on: March 19, 2015, 04:40:33 PM »
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.

Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.

The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.

Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.

That's one of the most complete summations of this endeavor that anyone has ever said, anywhere.

And you are definitely a delusional author
Quote
if you think selling books is simply following a formula and waiting for your bank account to fill up.

Unfortunately, too many neophytes think exactly that, and then wonder why nothing is happening for them, and then mouth off complaining about it, saying that the whole system is worthless.

Well, Buddy you get out of it what you put into it.

But---and this is a big but---the "what you put into it" means not just all of the marketing stuff. It means that you have to be a pretty good writer, too. And, no matter how encouraging we all might try be to newcomers, we all know (I think) deep in our "heart of hearts" that some people are just not good enough.

However, as businessman-turned-business-author Robert Townsend said years ago in his book, Up the Organization, discovering that you are not good enough at this job does not mean that you are a terrible person. It just means that, no matter how much you might like it, this is not the job for you, and you should find some other place to direct your interest and effort.



Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #120 on: March 19, 2015, 04:45:52 PM »
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

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Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #121 on: March 19, 2015, 04:47:50 PM »
Chump change for chumps? Aye-uh. Better quit now. Joe's providing cover, but what he doesn't realize is I've set up my sniper position, and he's in the cross hairs. I'm gonna be the last one standing, and don't you forget it.

Also, great thread because once again, erotica authors got crap thrown on them. Ain't this place grand?
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Offline Krista D. Ball

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #122 on: March 19, 2015, 04:50:53 PM »
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.

Especially me. I am always very, very right. ;)

Krista D. Ball

Offline G.L. Snodgrass

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #123 on: March 19, 2015, 05:02:49 PM »
I wonder what percentage of new authors give up because they don't make enough money soon enough. This includes traditional authors. I would love to see a study with firm data.

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Offline '

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #124 on: March 19, 2015, 05:06:01 PM »
I am looking at being  a professional golfer from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well playing golf? If you would have told me that many golfers with a scratch handicap  only make a few hundred dollars a month before I took up golf, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in playing golf unless a golfer consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, golf is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

I read an article that said most golf pros make four figures. If it takes several months to get onto the pro circuit, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most golfers well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to play golf, if you want to make a living?

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to play golf, and I love winning pro-am tournaments, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Playing golf is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

I have heard others say you just have to keep practising, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the winnings from one tournament barely cover the costs of the next. With little money left over, it is difficult to pay for a golf coach, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

I have played in match play and stroke play competitions. My biggest wins have been in  match play tournaments , but there are only a few of those every year! There are more stroke play tournaments,  but there are also more competitors, so competition is much greater. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most golfers just don't make much on the pro circuit, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 05:55:49 PM by Shelagh »

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