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All the Ways to Make Money from Your Book

So you want to make money from your book. I don’t blame you! But you’re probably also wondering how.

You might have noticed that the publishing industry has been… well, the last few years have been a ride, to say the least. How to make money writing books has always been a little bit mysterious, but lately that mystery is getting interesting.

And that’s unlikely to change.

In fact, it’s probably going to get even more interesting.

So how do we ride this wave + make the most of the disruptive period while we can? In fact, how can we help disrupt this industry?

Because it is an industry very overdue for disruption.

We’re just at the precipice now. The roller coaster’s been inching upwards and we can probably peek over the edge a bit, but we haven’t started really moving yet.

The way publishing stands right now, ​even bestselling authors​ are barely scraping by. So something has to change.

While we work on creating that change, there are things you can do to make sure you are earning what you deserve from your books.

The Past: Relying on Advances + Royalties to Make Money from Your Book

In the present landscape—which I hope will soon be the past—an author’s income came, primarily, from an almost invariably disappointing advance, and then royalty checks after that advance was “earned out.”

Earning out means that you’ve sold enough books to earn back your advance at the royalty rate.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you get a $10,000 advance and a 10% royalty rate on a $19.99 book (to keep it very simple). Once your book is published and people start buying it, 10% (your royalty rate) of each real sale goes towards earning out your advance.

10% of your $19.99 book is $1.99. To earn out your advance, and thus start getting royalty checks, you’ve got to sell $10,000 ➗ $1.99 = 5,002 books, or a total gross revenue of $99,989.98.

Only then would you start getting a royalty check.

Could be years. Could be never.

(Just imagine if you’d indie published—or even hybrid published—and ~60% of that $100K was coming to you instead.)

As you can imagine, average digital and print book sales rarely provide meaningful (or sustainable) income for the author.

And we love sustainable business here, so we need a way to shift this.


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The Future: Diversified Author Businesses

The future is thinking beyond the royalty check—for both fiction and nonfiction.

With indie publishing, and especially for fiction indie publishing, there’s a lot of money to be made in royalties alone. So we won’t focus on that right now. That sector’s good to go.

What I want to focus on here is how our nonfiction friends can make money from your books.

Books are no longer standalone products. They’re foundations.

Going forward, smart authors will:

  • Use their books to grow audiences and show their expertise
  • Diversify revenue with high-ticket services, communities, subscriptions, and coaching around their book topic
  • Market themselves using their book for paid speaking opportunities and media
  • Keep providing genuine value and, most importantly, connection with loyal readers

Books are always going to be the foundation. But they aren’t the whole machine.

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Create your opus.

This free Writing Ritual Creator will not only track your word count, it’ll help you build the foundation you need to write your book.

To make money from your book, you have to plan ahead

If you really want to make money writing books, then you’ll start thinking of your book as a central product in your suite of offers.

Check Out: Write a Better Book than Your Competitors with a Book Map

And I know I said we weren’t going to talk about our fiction writing friends today, but I lied. Because even fiction writers can take advantage of these diversification methods.

What happens if you don’t diversify?

Building your whole business model solely on book sales:

  • Limits your ability to connect with your reader beyond the buy button 🙁
  • Doesn’t capitalize on your wide and varied wisdom (or exciting worlds and characters) beyond the book’s pages
  • Pushes you into a dead-end when it comes to re-engaging loyal customers for your next idea

These days, just having a book and letting that be your whole business—whether your write fiction or nonfiction—isn’t a feasible model for most authors to earn a good living. In other words, if you want to make money with your books, you need to diversify.

But we’re changing the narrative.

If you’re ready to actually make money writing books, I’m with ya. Tell me how you plan to leverage your book!

Let’s change some lives,

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Holly

PS — 🩵 When it feels right, here are 3 ways I can help you turn the page:

  1. The Book Map. Imagine having a GPS for your book-writing journey, guiding you from “I think I have an idea!” all the way to “OMG, I did it! I wrote a book!” That’s what the Book Map can do for you. It’s a supercharged roadmap for your writing journey. It’s not just about outlining chapters; it’s about diving deep into what you want to say and the best way to say it, ensuring every word pulls its weight. You’re not just writing a book; you’re crafting a masterpiece that feels as if it almost writes itself. Ready to make your book dream a reality? Let’s Book Map it!
  2. One-to-One Book Coaching. I have a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching world-changers to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey. I see a future where we build trust in our words, worlds, and work with our books, and where the world becomes a better place because of the books we write. My commitment is to bring to life books—fiction and nonfiction—founded on integrity. I’ll bring the map, and you’ll take us on the journey. If you’re ready to change the world with your book, your quest awaits. Apply for a free discovery call here. It takes 3 minutes.
  3. Listen to the Podcast. The Book Coach Chronicles: A podcast for writers of books, people who want to be writers of books, and y’all in the back who’ve been thinking about it but don’t yet consider yourself a writer. Listen on AppleSpotify, or Everywhere Else.

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Holly Ostrout is a book coach with a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching big-idea entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and authors to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey.
Holly Ostrout

Hi I’m Holly. If you’re going to change the world with your book, fiction or nonfiction, I can help you do it.

I'm a book coach for high-achieving, creative coaches, consultants, service providers, speakers, and authors who want to build a sustainable business around their book—whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.

I help you share your wisdom, ideas, and gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book that helps you streamline your business, bring in more money, and change more lives.

I believe books are the most important human invention. And yours can change the world.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout
Before you go...

If You Want to Change the World with Your Book, You've Got to Write It.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Creator & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.