The Reality of an Author

Writing a book is at the top of the list of goals for many of us. We believe our unique thoughts, ideas, and experience will entertain, inform, or persuade an audience. And just maybe, we can make some money in the process.

The basic principle in writing is to write what we know. I’ve published eleven books and certainly have applied this standard to my works. However, I’m a writer by nature. I’ve been writing professionally since I was 18 years-old beginning with copywriting for a radio station and on to newspaper articles, script writing, publicity and marketing, resumes, presentations and speeches, blogs, and books.

My first book, Mentoring Heroes, was born from a trend I realized while writing profile articles for newspapers. Every successful person I wrote about was eager to tell me about the people who helped them get to that point in their life. They attributed much of their success to mentors who invested their time, talent, and wisdom into them. I also found then (2000), women were mentored differently, particularly if their first priority was caring for a family.

Seven of my books are religious in tone, more specifically, Catholic. They focus on prayer (Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by the Message); the rosary (The Rosary Prayer by Prayer); the Virgin Mary (Grieving with Mary, Fatima at 100.Fatima Today); St. Theodora, also known as St. Mother Theodore Guerin (Seven Principles of Sainthood, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God; and aging and spirituality (Young in the Spirit). My faith has carried me through some very difficult days, and so these books are intended to assist readers in using prayer and devotion to ease their lives, as well.

Three of my books focus on caregiving. Two of the three zero in on caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease (Navigating Alzheimer’s, The Alzheimer’s Spouse). They are the books I sought for answers when in the midst of drowning in Alzheimer’s. My latest work is a morale booster for all who care for someone (Inspired Caregiving).

The criteria for a successful book vary greatly. The smaller the niche audience, the smaller the possible sales. And yet, that book may be the exact one used in a field by the experts. Most often, success is measured in the greatness of sales. Books that sell more than a thousand a day for an extended period of time are deemed successful on Amazon and the New York Best Seller list.

All of my books have seen some success in their own right. They have sold well and steadily and resulted in positive reviews. Several have won awards. Others are used in classrooms and are on noted reference lists. But in all honesty, I couldn’t make a living on book sales alone.

The profit on sales of a traditionally published book is divided between the publisher, distributor, bookstore, and author. Each has invested in bringing it from concept to the shelf. When we consider that the average book results in about $1 in royalties, authors need to sell a considerable number of copies to pay our bills.

I’m often asked how long it takes me to write a book. My response is a year and a lifetime. Every experience I’ve had comes to play in book development, and a book muddles in my head for several years before the process begins of actual research, writing, and editing. I’ve yet to see a financial return for all that is involved.

My experience is typical but doesn’t have to be yours. My desire is not to discourage anyone. Only know that there most be passion in the actual process of writing and the topic, not the ultimate goal to become rich. Most of the 275,000 books published each year eek by, at best.

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I’d greatly appreciate if you’ve read any of my books that you write a review on Amazon.

See “Healing, Hope, and Recovery” on my other blog.

One comment

  1. […] Want to know the honest truth about an author’s potential for profit? See my post, “The Reality of an Author.” […]

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