The first year of 1099 forms from Amazon are in. In 2013, I made $516 through Amazon with Kindle and paperback sales, add in a few sales of autographed copies on the website, and it brings the first year total to some where in the $525 range. So not quitting the day job anytime soon.
I guess, I am slightly above average, at least according the UK Guardian.
Others would laugh at those numbers, they make that amount of money in one day. I don’t care. People paid me money for stories I made up on my own, that wins.
The Ladder of Success
I think in terms of a ladder of success, each rung is a new level of success. And frankly just getting on the ladder at first was a success.
When I finished Kevin and the Seven Lions back in January 2013 I had no idea what to expect. My original goal was to make a paperback I could put on my classroom shelf, and to bring to educational job interviews. That was the first rung of success, completed paperback.
“How am I different from the other candidates? Oh, I made this book.” Waves book at interviewer. (Seriously that reason alone is a reason to write a book, but that is another post.)
If nothing else happened, as long as I had a paperback in my hand I liked I would consider the book experiment a success.
If people actually liked the book, well that would be awesome too. Even more shockingly people liked it. People I didn’t know, liked it. The second rung of success.
If I made money on the book that would be even better, but I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. The third rung.
Well, shockingly it was profitable. Seven Lions sold enough to justify paying for another book.
Now, in cold, rational, numbers, I have lost money so far on the is venture of making three books, with the expenses of illustrations, editing, and some promotion. (Yes, this is a business.) Currently, I am okay with a loss. The beauty of selling books is that these books will be available for along time, if not forever. The three books I have out will still be for sale in 2014. Plus, I will have additional work out in 2014. As time marches on my body of work should grow.
Yes, I have other rungs I am aiming for. Making more money every year is definitely a goal on the ladder of success. I am human after all.
But there is more to money than this.
First, it is fun. Seriously writing books about children’s daydreams, children finding out they have superhero abilities, and students being fun and creative, is just plain fun.
Second, it is rewarding to sell just one copy. I know others would be disappointed. But selling one copy is rewarding. Maybe not financially, but emotionally it is rewarding. Somebody has paid actual cash for my work. That is a nice feeling.
And finally as a teacher this year, I have seen my first examples of fan fiction about characters I have created. I have written before about why teachers should write books, this is another reason.
I have seen several Kevin books appear in my class. I have even see the rare, Dolbin School for the Extraordinary fan fiction show up.
To know that kids like your work enough to continue it, and play in the world that you have created, makes it all worth it.
Money can’t buy that.
Plus the stories are very cool to read.