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Shelagh said:
Oh dear, I'm new here and my response will probably be seen as harsh and unhelpful. Even if I try to soften the blow, the words will still seem negative. Deep intake of breath.

Dear Frank, Writing is not the best way to make extra money. It takes up hours of your time with little reward. Even if your sales were ten times the present sales, it would not compensate you for all those hours spent writing, editing and polishing your work. One hundred sales per month instead of ten sales per month would net you $35 for $0.99 ebooks. You could earn far more than this per month by doing an extra shift stacking shelves. (Joanna Trollope wrote a story, The Rector's Wife, about a vicar's wife who took a job in a supermarket stacking shelves so that she could pay for private schooling for her daughter. Joanna Trollope has probably never stacked a shelf in her life, but she knew that even someone with the intelligence and talents of a vicar's wife, would need to take a job that earned money. Suggesting that writing would be a good way for a character in a book to earn money would not be realistic.) What I'm trying to say is that writing is a long term investment that might never pay off, whereas real money can be earned in the short term by taking an extra job. If you need the money now, writing isn't your best option.

Sorry to be so brutal, but you did say that you wanted to face facts!
Shelagh, why is his income from a book limited to one month? There's another way of doing the math. Let's say it takes him 100 hours to write a book. If you can write 500 words an hour, a modest amount, that's a 50,000 word book.

Let's say he gets a better cover and blurb and he sells a modest 50 copies a month for three years. That's 1800 copies. At $0.35 per copy, that's $1050 in revenue. He's just made $10.05 an hour from his book, and who knows? It may sell at that rate for seven years. It may sell more than 50 copies a month. And of course it may only sell five copies a month, too. And he can play with pricing, too. Maybe he tries $2.99 and he only sells 10 copies a month, but that's the equivalent of 60 copies at $0.99.

I think you're right in that there are better ways to make money, but when you trade your time for an hourly wage the income stops as soon as you do. When you create a product it can sell long after you've stopped creating more products. I love waking up in the morning and seeing sales that have registered overnight. I made money while sleeping! How great is that? :)
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