In this article, let’s talk about how to make money by selling books. I have recently published my first book, and started making some money from the sales. It’s not a lot of money yet, but it shows a way to make money. If I optimize the process, sell more books in the future, I can make more money from the sales.
For the first book I’ve published, I’ve kept the sale price low. The book costs only ₹250 and the amount of profit I make from each sale is not much. But the experience of publishing my first book has helped me understand how the process works. This understanding is important to motivate me enough to publish more books, with premium pricing and better marketing.
For my first book, I decided to go with a publisher that will help me self-publish the book. Traditional book publishing companies need to pick you as an author, and for that you need a good personal brand already established. If you cannot get a publisher to choose you as an author, you need to go with a self-publishing house. I chose NotionPress as the company that will help me publish.
NotionPress helps you with the following:
- Editing your book and improving the language (optional service)
- Helping you choose your book size (I went with 5×8 inches)
- Create the digital proof for the book as it would appear in print. This process is called type setting. They will take the full book manuscript that you send and organize it in pages for print. They will also add chapter titles, page numbers, table of contents and other required information in the initial few pages. You can check the digital proof of my book.
- NotionPress will also place your book in Amazon, Flipkart and International stores of Amazon.
- They can help you get your books to book stores (for an additional cost).
There is a setup fee for getting a book published through Amazon. The cost ranges from ₹30,000 to ₹50,000 ($450 to $700 approx). I paid around ₹40,000 setup fee for a paperback version and a hardback version. Here are the specifications of my book. My book is running to 218 pages.
If I order copies myself and want to sell it through my own channels, my cost would be ₹130 per book. Their recommendation for the price is ₹215 per book at least. I went ahead with ₹250.
NotionPress will print and ship your book to the customer who order from any of the online stores. You can also ask people to order from the NotionPress store (which gives you higher royalties). Here’s how much I will earn for every sale:
If someone orders the book from NotionPress store, I would make ₹140 per book. If I order author copies and sell it myself, I would make ₹120 per book when the book is priced at ₹250. NotionPress wants to encourage people to drive traffic to their store so that they can grow as a book e-commerce store.
When NotionPress places your book at Amazon & Flipkart, they charge you distribution charges. The earnings I can get as an author from the sales coming from Amazon is only ₹41 per book. If the book price is higher, both I and NotionPress will earn more. For a ₹250 ($3.6) book, ₹41 ($0.60) is the maximum royalty I can get.
This book I’ve published is mostly for personal branding and to become a published author with a print book. This book has not been published with an intention of making money. However, this also teaches me how one can earn from book publishing.
So far I have made ₹7,500+ in earnings from the sales of the book. I have sold 168 copies so far in print. I haven’t pushed the book much for sales as I have given the PDF version for free to my audience.
I have got 84 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.8 stars. This is mostly because of distributing free digital copies of the book.
A book at ₹250 cannot really make much money for the author as the royalties from every sale is low.
I recommend a price of ₹500 or more for any expectations of making money from a book. My next book is going to be a 300 page book with 6 inches x 9 inches dimension. I am planning to price the book at ₹2000. It is an advanced guide book for Facebook Ads.
The best part about selling books is that the income is GST free. There is no tax on the sales of printed books. eBooks attract a 5% GST. You have no indirect tax or sales tax liability.
I will be publishing more books, probably at a higher cost, and I will write another article on this blog about my journey. My goal is to publish enough books so that I can make ₹1 Lakh per month in profits, in passive income. Let’s see if I can reach that goal.
If you want to learn more about the process of book publishing, check out this article.
After publishing this article, I heard from my friend Rishabh about how he also has made money by selling books and ebooks. Rishabh’s first book 101 Ways to Grow Your Startup is a compilation of his best digital growth hacks and methods. It is a compilation of the growth marketing methods he’s used for his own business as well as his client’s businesses.
He launched the book on Amazon Kindle (launch price $10), as an Ebook on his Academy website (current price $19), and as a limited paperback edition with Pay-As-You-Wish for his existing Indian customers and students.
Within the first week of publishing his book, he was able to sell over 25 books on Amazon and the over 30 books from his own website. At the end of 2 weeks, his numbers looked as follows:
This generated him over $500 USD (₹35,000 approx) in the first 2 weeks with a majority of the revenue coming from his Pay-as-you-wish offer.
If you have made money selling books and ebooks, let me know. I will update the article with your success story as well.