On April 25 – 2015 Forbes released an online article which title is very appealing:

Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer.

If you just stop and look at the title, the path looks easy and you are almost one click away from self-publishing your first novel. BUT if you read the article you can see two important facts.

  • Mark Dawson (the author who is the article about) starts “best-selling” with a free eBook.
  • Writing is a business (and a serious one)

Can I be a best-selling author with a free eBook?

Paradoxal right? How can you Best-Sell an eBook if it`s free? Maybe we should use and invent a new term Best-Free book.

Amazon sometimes offers contracts to Indie Authors (for a series of books), they`ll promote your books and you can be sure to sell copies, get reviews, etc… To get this contract you first need to stand out with a book you successfully published on the platform.

If you are giving away your book for free good things can happen, you may be able to build an audience and to see if your writing get readers.

  • If you are not familiar with the world of eBooks and writing here is a quick decoding.

There is a lot of eBooks published each day, I tried to found numbers but they are all differents. If you are lucky enough to be published by a publishing house you may sell a few copies and won some money (this sentence does not apply to Vanity Publishing).

If you are in the hard path of self-publishing you know how the reality is. If you want your eBook to be read (I said read not sold) you need to use Marketing and do it by yourself (and you already do) to get noticed. BUT you are not alone, and you end up doing what everyone does, you change the price and your book is free, because at the end, what is important is to be read.


Read or Sold?

As we said before, being read is easier than being sold, put your eBook for free, advertise it on Social Media and readers will end up finding it and reading it.
If you want to sell your eBook you can enroll in Amazon Kdp Select and use their tools, with no assurance to sell books. You can always promote yourself via paid Advertising and again you don`t know if it worth it.

Can I really sell books?

Short answer > Yes (please note I never said how many).

But what do you really want?
Selling books or being rich selling books? – the huge $ number at the top of the article is interesting, right?

If the question is: Can I really be rich being self-published?

Short answer> Maybe but…
There are around 40 authors (self-published) in the world, living thanks to their writing.
It doesn`t mean you can`t be one of them but it surely means you need to see writing like a business – if you don`t understand why yet, read the article from Forbes to learn how Mark Dawson writes.


A reader for each book and a book for each reader.

Whatever business you are in, there is a need because you are selling something someone wants. The same happens with writing.
If you want to sell books you need to write what readers want.

We all remember the great self-published story of El-James.
Thriller works well too, it could be because of all the TV Series like NCIS, or similar. Fantasy with magic which reminds Harry Potter (best seller in the world we all know that) or even Tolkien…etc. As in business, find a “writing niche”.

Businesses books or self-help books are a “new” trend and some of them are best sellers too. “How to” books and similar. If you spend some time on LinkedIn many people recommend books or reviews books etc…For example, the great Michaela Alexis started her new career/life thanks to a box of books.


Self-publishing is easy, selling books while being self-published is difficult but here are my last words.

  • Don`t quit your job to become a self-published author, you are not sure it will work.
  • Writing is a serious business so be a writer-entrepreneur
  • Build a strong audience – use Social Media and remember that beyond each click, like, comment there is a person
  • Release a book each 6 months at least (we said it`s business)
  • Your book cover needs to be professional looking
  • Find your voice, stick to it
  • Be aware of Vanity Publishers and don`t give your rights away if you are self-published.

Happy self-publishing!

6 thoughts on “Self-publishing: the reality explained

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