The Awkward Girl's Guide to Indie Authorship | Author Income Report, October 2023
What I earned last month as a self-published author
If you’ve been subscribing to this newsletter for a while now, you’ll probably have noticed that one of my more annoying traits is my ability to enthusiastically embark upon a shiny new project, only to completely lose enthusiasm for it a few weeks down the line: and such was to be the fate of my author newsletter, which I switched off paid subscriptions on last month, having realised that I just don’t have the time — and am unlikely to ever have the time — to write 4 separate newsletters and a blog, as well the actual books that particular newsletter was supposed to be about.
I mean, who DOES though? (And can you teach me your ways, if it’s you?)
Although I’ve closed down that newsletter itself, though, I do still want to be able to keep writing about my indie author “journey” (sorry) from time to time, mostly as a way for me to chart my progress, and look at what’s working and what isn’t. So here we are.
If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I’m a very goal-oriented person, and I love stats. I can’t claim to be particularly good with stats — I don’t even know how to use Excel properly, let alone create a load of colour-coded spreadsheets with it — but I do like to take a bit of time every month to look back at my progress, or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s quite satisfying, and other times it makes me want to crawl beneath my desk and rock slowly back and forth, while someone strokes my hair and tries to assure me that I’m not the massive failure I think I am.
So, swings and roundabouts, really.
The other reason I wanted to start doing income reports, though, is because how much money writers make is one of those things that everyone wants to know, but no one likes to ask. I know I’m always very appreciative when other writers talk about what they’re earning, and how they’re doing it, but it’s still something that feels vaguely taboo, and not really the done thing, isn’t it?
I think it’s possibly because, as writers, we’re encouraged not to really think about money, or even have it as much of a consideration. No, we’re supposed to write purely for the love of it, and to see any money we might make as a slightly embarrassing bonus. “If you’re doing it for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!” say the voices from the stalls, who would literally never say that to a cleaner, say, or a supermarket worker, say.
But that’s a whole other topic. (Which I’ve just made a mental note to add to my Things I Will Probably Write About At Some Point, But Also Maybe Not list. (It’s a really long list. Even longer than my Things I Should Not Say On the Internet List, and that one is endless. Endless.))
For now, though, suffice it to say that I personally don’t believe there are “wrong” reasons to write. I’ve always been upfront about the fact that I got into ghostwriting purely because I desperately needed to make some money, and it seemed like a fun way to do it, and I started publishing my own books for much the same reason. Believe it or not, I haven’t actually gone through my life with a series of romantic comedies set in a fictional Highland town eating away at me. I don’t believe that my characters are “speaking through me,” or that the world will be a better place if there are novels about women who are thinly-veiled versions of myself in it. I think the world would probably get by just fine, to be honest.
So I don’t write for any of what most people consider to be the “right” reasons, is what I’m trying to say. I write because I want to be able to make a living from doing something I love: it’s as simple as that. And these income reports will (hopefully) help chart my attempts to do it.
Before I get into the numbers, though…
… I want to be really clear that my “numbers” are not big ones. They’re really quite small ones, actually. So if you’re wondering whether you should upgrade your subscription in order to be able to see these posts, the answer is probably going to be, “Not unless you’re interested in seeing someone make a very small amount of money for doing quite a lot of work.”
If that sounds like you, however, read on…