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How to Make Money Writing Books: A Guide for Non-Writers

Maximizing Your Income

Don't let a lack of writing experience stop you from publishing your own money-making book. This simple guide walks aspiring publishers through the process step-by-step.

How to Make Money Writing Books: A Guide for Non-Writers
Table of contents

Writing is one of those things that comes naturally to some people, but it's like watching paint dry for others. Long, painful, and boring. The good news is you can make a living publishing books without ever writing a single word yourself.

It might sound like a bit of hocus pocus, but this blog post will teach you how to make money writing books, even if you don't consider yourself a writer (and have no plans of ever becoming one). And even if you like writing, you might learn a thing or two about how to grow your publishing business even quicker.

Ready to start earning money online ASAP? Our free webinar will walk you through the fastest way to get your publishing business started by tapping into the exploding Amazon market with beginner-friendly AI tools. This webinar has all the secrets that traditional publishers don't want you to know!

The Difference Between a Writer, Author, and Publisher

Some self-publishers take on 100% of the self-publishing process. This includes things like conducting thorough market research, writing, editing, formatting, designing, launching, marketing, and advertising…But if you got tired just reading all of that, you're not alone. That's why most self-publishers end up outsourcing bits of the process.

A writer is simply someone who writes. And if they do the writing for someone else, then they're typically called a "ghostwriter." Although the ghostwriter does most of the writing, they sign away all their rights to authorship and royalties in exchange for an upfront fee.

An author is a person who is credited with a work, and these days, many published authors choose to use pen names to keep their real identities anonymous. 

A publisher is a person who takes the polished manuscript and shares it with distributors so that the books can be sold.

Traditionally published authors are completely at the mercy of the traditional publishing houses for their writing, editing, and marketing, and publishing is never even a guarantee. On the other hand, self-published authors take the publishing process into their own hands and gain back their creative control.

This makes you the author and publisher of the work you create together with a ghostwrite or AI. 

How Much Do Authors and Self-Publishers Make with Their Books?

It's hard to define the average earnings of an author or publisher because there are so many different kinds of books on the market. Picture books, chapter books, romance novels, crossword puzzles, science anthologies, you name it. Odds are, someone is making money in each niche, but at the same time, some niches are definitely more profitable than others.

Your earning potential may be affected by the following:

Your Market Research

You want to know that an idea is going to be profitable before you put all your time and energy into taking it through the publishing process. If you rush through the market research phase, you might miss out on the opportunity to make your book stand out against the competition, and that means your royalties will take a hit.

Your Genre

Some genres, such as non-fiction, romance, and mystery, tend to sell better than others. This doesn't mean that you can't publish in other genres, but it's something to think about if you're new to the publishing world and don’t have the budget for a lot of trial and error. 

The Length of Your Book

Longer books tend to sell for more money, but they also take longer to write and publish. In the publishing world, quality always trumps quantity, so longer isn't always necessarily better.

Your Publishing Platform

Amazon is one of the most popular platforms for self-publishing, and it offers a range of royalty options. With Amazon, you can earn up to 70% royalties per book in royalties, depending on the price of your book and which market it's sold in.

When considering Amazon as your publishing platform, it's essential to explore the benefits of enrolling in KDP Select. KDP Select is a special program offered by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing that provides exclusive perks and promotional opportunities for authors who choose to publish their eBooks exclusively on Amazon for a select period, typically 90 days. Skipping the traditional publishing route, you can make good money publishing on Kindle.

The Price of Your Book

Many self-publishers use different price points as a marketing tactic. You can often gain more reviews for your book by offering it at a reduced price which then allows you to build credibility and gradually increase your book sales on Amazon. Generally, more good reviews = more books sold.

Overall, the earnings potential of publishing can be quite lucrative if you're willing to put in the time and effort to craft a quality book and market it effectively. While there's never any guarantee that you'll turn into a New York Times bestseller, there are ways to increase your odds of being successful, such as partnering with other creative professionals, investing in a self-publishing coach, and publishing multiple books (that are still high-quality on their own).

Publishing and Writing Books with AI and Other Help

If you're not confident in your writing skills, don't worry! You can still make money writing books with the help of AI or a ghostwriter.

AI tools like ChatGPT generate content based on the inputs you provide, and ghostwriters are specialists who only want to focus on the writing portion of the publishing process, nothing else. They are happy to make a living writing and would prefer not to deal with all the decisions that you must make as a self-publisher, such as overseeing the book cover, connecting with editing services, and eventually investing in paid advertising.

Hiring a ghostwriter or using AI to help you write books doesn't mean you're cheating or taking shortcuts. It means you care about your end product and the readers who are actually going to be reading it.

Even some of the most famous writers in the world, like James Patterson, are known to work with entire teams of ghostwriters and collaborators. This helps him write multiple books at a time and connect with even more readers. It's a win-win-win scenario!

How Can AI Help Me Make More Money?

AI is simply a tool that can help you and your collaborators overcome writer's block, improve your writing, and speed up the writing process. AI can also help you identify plot holes, inconsistencies, and other issues in your writing that you might have missed otherwise. The downside? AI tools aren't perfect and can make mistakes or produce awkward phrasing from time to time, but they're being updated every single day.

There will come a time when AI can produce completely original manuscripts at the click of a button, and we're working on it with Publishing.ai, but the technology isn't quite there yet. 

In the meantime, these tools down the process of writing a book by weeks or even months so anyone can self-publish a book without a fancy degree or any experience whatsoever.

At the end of the day, AI-based tools can be a valuable resource for self-publishers who want to publish a book but lack the confidence, skills, or time and energy to do it alone.

Choosing the Right Genre

Choosing the right genre is critical to making money writing books, but how do you strike the right balance between your passion for a subject and market demand? You want to write in a genre that you enjoy, but you also want to write in a genre that people will actually read, and that has a relatively low level of competition.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right genre:

  • Research the market: Look at the bestseller lists in your preferred genre to see what's popular and what's selling well. This will give you an idea of the types of books that readers are interested in and the types of stories that are resonating with them.
  • Consider your strengths: Think about your strengths as a publisher and how you can take some of the other tasks off your plate. For example, if you come from a design background and feel confident in your book cover design but struggle with writing, it might be time to connect with some professional writers and professional editors.
  • Think about your audience: Consider who your target audience is and what they are looking for in a book. If you are writing for teens, for example, you may want to consider writing in the young adult or new adult genres.
  • Be open to new ideas: Don't be afraid to experiment with different genres and styles of writing. You may find that you have a lot of luck with publishing in a genre that you never considered before.
  • Keep profitability in mind: While it's generally more fun to write and publish in a genre that you enjoy, you also want to make sure that it's going to translate to higher royalties in your bank account.

By following these tips, you can choose the right genre for your book and increase your chances of making money without the need for a traditional publishing book deal.

The Power of Series Writing

One strategy for making more royalties is selling books in a series. You can probably think of a dozen successful authors who got their big break publishing series, like J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collins with the Hunger Games Series, and E. L. James, who originally self-published the Fifty Shades of Grey series. 

Writing fiction is how these authors make a living, but being a self-published author with a niche audience can also work for non-fiction!

Once a reader enjoys the first book in a series, they are more likely to purchase subsequent books in the series. It also unlocks the opportunity to sell book bundles, so your readers can snag your series at a discount while also supporting your publishing career.

Readers become invested in the characters and the story of fiction books, and they eagerly await the next installment of tips and tricks for non-fiction books. This can lead to word-of-mouth promotion, which can help increase sales even further.

Series Ideas for Fiction Writers and Non-Fiction Writers

Here's a list of ideas you might consider for your own books. Keep in mind that you'll still need to conduct the proper research to see how a particular topic is performing in the market right now:

Fiction writing might include series about...

-vampires and werewolves

-Greek mythology

-romance

-children's bedtime stories

-time travel

-space exploration

Non-fiction writing might include series about...

-diet plans

-workout plans

-home tidying tips

-travel guides

-religious or spiritual manuals

-dog training manuals.

Global and Digital Mindset

With the rise of writing eBooks and digital platforms, the potential audience for your book is no longer limited to your local area. You can reach readers from all over the world with just a few clicks.

One way to embrace the global market is to research and understand the cultural differences and preferences of your target audience. This can help you tailor your book’s tone and content to appeal to a wider range of readers. Additionally, translating your book into different languages can help you reach even more readers.

Warning: Putting your manuscript through Google Translate might not be the best idea. Read this interview on self-publishing mistakes with one of our co-founders to learn what the consequences are.

Another important aspect of a digital mindset is being comfortable with technology and digital platforms. This includes using social media to promote your book, creating an author website or blog, and utilizing self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Draft2Digital.

By embracing the global market and digital platforms, you can increase your chances of making money without relying on traditional publishing companies.

Diversifying Your Writing and Publishing Portfolio

As a writer, diversifying your writing and publishing portfolio can help you appeal to a wider range of readers and increase your income streams. Here are some ways to diversify your writing and publishing portfolio:

  • Exploring Multiple Genres: If you've been writing romance novels, you might consider branching out and writing a mystery or a thriller.
  • Writing in Different Lengths: Writing in different lengths can also help you diversify your writing and publishing portfolio. For example, you might consider writing short stories, pocket guides, or even flash fiction.
  • Publishing in Different Formats: These days, print books aren't the only way to consume content. Most established publishers make their work available in print, hardcover, eBook, and even audiobook formats to connect with readers on the go.

Self-publishing is all about experimenting and seeing what works best for your business. By testing different strategies, you'll be able to make informed decisions about your next steps and future series.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Once you've got the manuscript, the challenge will become getting it in front of your target audience. Effective marketing strategies can help you reach potential readers and increase book sales.

Here are three proven marketing strategies:

Building an Email List

Building an email list is a powerful marketing strategy that can help you connect with your readers and promote your book. You can start building your email list by creating an author website where readers can sign up for your newsletter. You might offer them an incentive, such as a free chapter or a discount on your book, to encourage them to sign up. Once you have their email addresses, you can send them regular newsletters, updates, and promotions.

Leveraging Social Media and Other Platforms

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can also be powerful tools for promoting your book. You can use these platforms to connect with your readers, share updates about your book, and run targeted ads to reach a larger audience. Other platforms, such as Goodreads and BookBub, can help you connect with book lovers and promote your book to a wider audience.

Hosting Book Events

Hosting book events, such as book signings, readings, and book club meetings, can be a great way to connect with your readers and promote your book. You can partner with local bookstores, libraries, and other venues to host these events. You can also use online platforms, such as Zoom and Skype, to host virtual events and reach readers from all over the world.

By implementing these marketing strategies, you can increase your book's visibility, reach your target audience, and ultimately increase your book sales.

Managing Your Finances

Figuring out the business side of things can be really overwhelming for new publishers, but the biggest advantage you can give yourself is keeping your business and personal expenses separate from the start.

You can use a spreadsheet or a budgeting app to track your income and expenses each month for both the personal and business side of things. This will help you see where your money is going and where you can cut back on expenses. It'll also make it easier come tax time to write off your business expenses and take full advantage of the tax benefits available to you.

While it's always best to speak with a tax and accounting specialist, some typical write-offs include expenses such as writing software, marketing materials, and travel expenses for book signings and speaking engagements.

Diversifying Your Income Streams Beyond the Book Sales

As an aspiring publisher, you might be under the impression that the only way to make money is by selling your books. However, there are other ways to monetize your publishing skills and make a living out of it.

Offer Courses and Workshops

If you have expertise in a particular area, you can create a course or workshop around that topic. For example, if you mainly publish books on marketing, you could offer a course on how to create a successful marketing campaign. You can offer these courses and workshops online or in person, depending on your preference.

Consulting

Another way to monetize beyond the book sales on Amazon is to sell consulting services and coaching services. If you have expertise in a particular area, you can offer your services as a consultant. For example, if you wrote a book on finance, you could offer consulting services to help people manage their finances.

Backend Products

Taig and Anthony are former students and coaches of ours who were able to build a publishing empire between the two of them. Together, they built up an audience of over 10k to sell backend products to, and that soon translated into over $10k in profit each month.

To hear more success stories like this one, head over to our Student Success Hub!

Publishing.com Was Created to Help Everday People Publish Books 

You don’t have to be rich, experienced, or a genius to publish a book. We’ve got your roadmap! Our self-paced beginner-friendly course has already generated over $50 million for our publishing students. And most of them…

-Weren't writers

-Didn’t have a lot of free time 

-Didn’t know if this was the right path for them but knew something had to change 

Take your publishing journey into your own hands and see what our course is all about!

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