Chris A. Baird | May 29, 2020
How Many Books Do You Need To Sell To Make A Living?

If you really want to live off of the books you're selling, then there are some other things that you need to do. Find out how many books you need to sell to make a living off of your books.

Today's question has three answers and the third answer is a secret that makes it possible to live off your books. Now let's get right on into the question.

The question is, how many books you need to sell to make a living? This is a very common question because the idea is if I sell so many books, then is it possible that I'm going to be able to live off of being an author or writer or even if you're paying ghostwriters to write books?

Is it possible to be living off of the income that comes from the royalties you are going to be getting from your books? So this is a very common question. The first thing before we get started, you can check out my Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist.

So, let's get started. When I first started self-publishing, I wasn't trying to make money per se. I was trying to see is it possible to even make any sales?

I was not sure that the model itself was one that could be used. What I did was I published a book. Just a random book on a subject that I was interested in.

Then, I did another one and I put the books out there and I have discovered you are making a few sales here and there. Nothing particularly fancy and so I assumed, well, it's probably hard to make a living off of books.

That was a reasonable assumption since I wasn't making enough money that you could live off the books themselves. So that was a bit of a challenge.

However, after taking some courses and reading books, blogs, podcasts, and all sorts of stuff, I later began to understand that yes it is possible to win at the self-publishing game. You can, in fact, live off the books. 

Optimize Your Books

So let's get right on into the answer to today's question which is how many books you need to sell to make a living? The first answer is that like most things, it depends on how much money do you need to earn to make a living.

As you can see in the second answer, the poverty level is about $12,200 per single person in 2020. The average author on Amazon makes $1,000 a year. So you can see clearly that if they are making 1/12 of what it is to be on poverty, then maybe the answer would be no, it isn't possible.

However, that is where the secret comes into this which is that 95% of authors who are publishing on Amazon have no idea how to properly sell and market their book. They may even have great books and markets that would be willing to buy those books of theirs.

But they simply aren't making those sales because they're just not doing some things to make sure that the books are set up to make the sales. The first thing is they aren't optimizing their books.

First, they are choosing keywords or they are choosing topics that people are not interested in buying, so that would be one. Or over-saturated markets where there are so many books on those topics that are not of interest to the audience to look at this particular author's books.

The next thing is their covers are bad, their description is bad, and their title is bad. The book is formatted poorly and they don't have a review team to find a way to get reviews for their books. So you have several things.

The final one is they are not running ads against the books. Each of these mistakes is costing that author earnings on that individual book.

Now for most authors, the ability to publish a single book and live off of it is slim to none. You are not going to be able to do that for the most part.

Explore Other Platforms

There are exceptions to the rule, sometimes you get lucky on your first try. However, you are going to need a series of books. You are going to need to come out with a series of books.

For me, I came out with 170 books and I'm well above the poverty line. I can just say that with regards to the royalties that are coming off of those books. The other thing is making sure those books are available in the ebook format on Kindle.

As well as the Amazon print edition, hardback on Lulu, the Ingram Spark paperback edition, the ACX audible edition. So that we have a whole series of options available to our readers.

Check out this related article: More Money With Paperbacks Or eBooks?

So that when they are ready to buy our book, the book will be ready for them to find it wherever they wish to read the book. We have multiple books so that they are all bringing them in.

Because on a daily basis, I don't know which of my 170 plus books is going to sell on which of these platforms. That is the beauty of the situation. The more books you have, the more options readers have to have them buy one or more of those books on a given daily basis.

And that starts to build us a lot higher than $1,000 a year which is what the average author on Amazon is currently making. It is pretty lousy, right? I mean, many of the books on Amazon are making just a couple of sales a year which is terrible.

So, we want to increase our chances of ensuring the books that we do have out there, are actually selling. Now, why don't you tell me a little bit of what have you found?

Have you found it's possible to make a living off of Amazon, off of your books alone? Go ahead, let me know and check out my other blogs and videos just like this one. 

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