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I am working on my first novel. It is ultimately about the formation of a new family, senior citizens who fall in love as they co-parent a little boy who has no one else in his life.

I am considering self-publishing it on Amazon, mostly because I am impatient, and would probably lose my mind waiting for a traditional publishing house to look it over and get back to me. Also because it is a book that does not fit neatly into any specific genre, so I am not sure which publisher I would even submit it to.

I did read a depressing statistic online somewhere: that the average number of books a self-published author sells is 250. So that's a bit discouraging.

All this background is presented ultimately to ask whether anyone here has self-published, and what your recommendations are about the process? I am a retiree, so am not desperate for income; I don't need to make my living as an author, although of course I would not refuse buckets of cash if they somehow came flowing my way...

citronella 7 July 22
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I have self-published five books, three are still in print on amazon. The best success I had was selling about 800 of one title. Writing books is NOT a way to make money, unless you happen to have a big hit...which, of course, rarely happens. Besides that, only about 8% of Americans actually buy a book and read it in a year. The market is not all that large. Compare that to the number of Americans who stream a movie or a series on TV. The market is somewhere around 500x times books. SO...I quit writing books and began writing screenplays. Which is actually a lot more fun.

mischl Level 8 July 22, 2021

My first book was accepted by the first two publishers to whom I sent my transcript. What a surprise!

Read the fine print on your publishing contract. I only get a royalty when people buy my book from the publisher. It's half-price on Amazon. Goodbye, royalties.

Publishers massively overcharge to market your book. A waste of money.

So can I infer from this that self-publishing is the way to go, in your opinion? Have you done that?


Self-publishing severely limits book sales.

Last winter during the holiday season, Thrift Books ran an ad on national news sites with my 2007 book in the lead. On CNN, NBC, ABC, Huff Post, CBS. It was first in a line of five books by authors including President Obama and Andrew Cuomo.

What a surprise! Free advertising! But no royalties.

Didn't have an agent to negotiate for me. As a new author, I didn't understand the financial implications of the contract. Live and learn.


@LiterateHiker Hi Hiker. Could you spell out, please, what happened in the contract to deny you payment (royalties) for your work? Did Thrift Books pocket the whole bundle? Speaking of my experience, never again will I post books onto Amazon. I have published two books since 2007 with One was "Beach Boys vs Beatlemania", which had given targets I could promote to, and sold 700. The other was a family memoir highlighting the dislocation of emigration from the States in 1960 -- which I didn't bother promoting, and has sold about 35.


I assume Thrift Books bought my book at a discount from the publisher Xlibris or Amazon.

My contract says I get $10 per book bought directly from Xlibris at full price ($25.00). Thrift Books never contacted me.

@LiterateHiker Which just goes to confirm my philosophy that it is the exploitive middle men who rule the world by calling themselves "entrepreneurs" and creatives of the world who are told to eat sh*t. Unless you're J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

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