Writing, Publishing, and the Like

by Dwayne Phillips

A conversation about writing and publishing and the like.

A: It sounds like you have a book — in your head, in your ear, maybe even on paper. It also sounds like you would like to one day have a book in your hand and maybe in the hands of others.

A: Tell me about what you have and where you would like to go.

B: I would like to make lots of money.

A: Well, if that is your goal, I suggest working on other ideas instead of writing a book. The great and vast majority of books don’t make a cent.

B: I would like to be published.

A: Okay, that isn’t too difficult. Amazon, among many others today, has a system where you submit you book and then buy a few copies of it yourself for about $10 a copy. Now you have published a book.

B: But what about the money?

A: See above. Sorry. Book writing very ever rarely brings any money.

B: I would like to be published by a real publisher.

A: Write a complete book. Go to the web sites of about two dozen book publishers. Follow their instructions on how to propose a book. Some of them, perhaps one or two, will ask you for some sample chapters. Send them you complete book. If they like it, they will send you a contract.

B: Now I make money!

A: Maybe, but probably not. If your book is priced at $20, the book seller (the book store or web site that carries you book) keeps have or $10. That leave you and the publisher with $10. The standard publishing contract says that the author keeps 10% or 12% of the income. So, you get $1 for every copy of your book that sells for $20. If your book sells a million copies, you get $1,000,000. If it sells a hundred copies, you get $100. Most books sells less than a hundred copies.

B: But when do I make a living?

A: Write a hundred books. $100 times one-hundred books is $10,000. I guess you better write a thousand books, so you can earn $100,000.

B: But when do I make a living?

A: In the daytime at your day job.

B: If I am working all day, when do I write these books?

A: At night and on weekends.

B: Why would I write at night and on weekends.

A: Because you enjoy writing stories. You do it because you enjoy doing it. You can’t beat that.


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Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.